FDL Book Salon Welcomes Bob Ivry, The Seven Sins of Wall Street: Big Banks, Their Washington Lackeys, and the Next Financial Crisis

Welcome Bob Ivry (Bloomberg, Editor At Large) (Twitter) and Host Nomi Prins (NomiPrins.com) (Twitter)

The Seven Sins of Wall Street: Big Banks, Their Washington Lackeys, and the Next Financial Crisis

The Seven Sins of Wall Street: Big Banks, Their Washington Lackeys, and the Next Financial Crisis by Bob Ivry is both incredibly scary and ironically extremely funny – in a very dark way. This makes it essential reading for anyone with a finely tuned bullshit meter that doesn’t buy the notion that we’re all economically safer now than before the financial crisis of 2008 – which should be everyone. Ivry’s voice is appropriately sardonic and exasperated, his journalism and on-the-foreclosed-ground research, impeccable. His ability to empathize with readers that don’t hold a PhD in financial jargon (derivatives = “four syllables that launched a thousand naps”) allows him to render otherwise arcane topics simple enough to make you want to throw things at Jamie Dimon.

Most people living in the real world have a sense that the Wall-Street-Washington driven crisis hasn’t exactly evaporated into a haze of CEO repentance, or former politicians choosing to become gardeners rather than bagging plush jobs at elite financial firms. But Ivry’s book shows the ongoing crimes are much, MUCH worse than even the most alert or pessimistic of us think. Not only has there been no meaningful reform or jail terms for committing fraud in broad daylight, but the same Big Six banks at the core of the crisis, are back to their old, and some new tricks, with a pat on the back from Uncle Sam. They are bigger and badder than ever, despite public rhetoric to the contrary.

Ivry divides his book into chapters paralleling the seven sins – gluttony, wrath, envy, pride, lust, sloth, and greed. He doesn’t just excoriate the big bankers who played, and continue to play, freely and loosely with what he refers to as “Grandma’s money”, but embarks on an investigative search for the people living personal nightmares at the hands of these banks years after the “supposed” economic recovery and great reform myth of Dodd-Frank. Though the banks have supposedly repaid their bailout money with $20 billion interest to the American people (sure, no one got a check, but whatever), Ivry shines a harsh light on this irrelevant political babble. The big banks are not only bigger, but they are also “fail –i- er” he says. Take note, Stephen Colbert.

Ivry’s aim is “not to re-litigate the bailouts, but to illustrate their legacy.” As he writes: (more…)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Bob Ivry, The Seven Sins of Wall Street: Big Banks, Their Washington Lackeys, and the Next Financial Crisis

Welcome Bob Ivry (Bloomberg, Editor At Large) (Twitter) and Host Nomi Prins (NomiPrins.com) (Twitter)

The Seven Sins of Wall Street: Big Banks, Their Washington Lackeys, and the Next Financial Crisis

The Seven Sins of Wall Street: Big Banks, Their Washington Lackeys, and the Next Financial Crisis by Bob Ivry is both incredibly scary and ironically extremely funny – in a very dark way. This makes it essential reading for anyone with a finely tuned bullshit meter that doesn’t buy the notion that we’re all economically safer now than before the financial crisis of 2008 – which should be everyone. Ivry’s voice is appropriately sardonic and exasperated, his journalism and on-the-foreclosed-ground research, impeccable. His ability to empathize with readers that don’t hold a PhD in financial jargon (derivatives = “four syllables that launched a thousand naps”) allows him to render otherwise arcane topics simple enough to make you want to throw things at Jamie Dimon.

Most people living in the real world have a sense that the Wall-Street-Washington driven crisis hasn’t exactly evaporated into a haze of CEO repentance, or former politicians choosing to become gardeners rather than bagging plush jobs at elite financial firms. But Ivry’s book shows the ongoing crimes are much, MUCH worse than even the most alert or pessimistic of us think. Not only has there been no meaningful reform or jail terms for committing fraud in broad daylight, but the same Big Six banks at the core of the crisis, are back to their old, and some new tricks, with a pat on the back from Uncle Sam. They are bigger and badder than ever, despite public rhetoric to the contrary. (more…)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, All The Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis

[Editor’s note: Please take all conversation regarding the shooting of Gabriel Giffords to this thread. As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book. ]

Welcome Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, Hosted by Nomi Prins.

All The Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis

Nomi Prins, Host:

There are a plethora of books written, and yet to be written, about what lead up to the 2008 financial crisis, but even so, All the Devils are Here stands out. Co-authors, Bethany McLean (co-author of the bestselling, documentary-inspiring book on the Enron scandal, The Smartest Guys in the Room) and Joe Nocera (Award winning New York Times business columnist), expertly weave a narrative that captures not just the elements, but the characters of the crisis; the human flaws, choices and repercussions perpetrated by a small, dispersed collection of very dangerous people.

They focus exceptionally well, on the mentalities and meetings behind the crisis, across the businesses and agencies that housed them. From the investment banks to the lenders to the rating agencies to the quasi public-private Government Sponsored Entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the book exposes the devastating ramifications of internal corporate politics, insatiable drives towards gaining market share and earnings glory, and power struggles galore. And, of course, the greed motivation. (more…)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes William Greider: Secrets of the Temple

 [Welcome William Greider, and Host, Nomi Prins – bev] wiliam-greider-secrets-of-the-temple.thumbnail.jpg

Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country

William Greider (who really needs no introduction) is the national affairs correspondent for The Nation.  During his 40-year career, he has written for many publications, including the Washington Post, where he was a correspondent for 12-years and eventually assistant managing editor of national coverage, and Rolling Stone, where he wrote a column for 17-years. He also served as an on-air correspondent for six PBS Frontline documentary films, including the 1985 Emmy winner ‘Retreat from Beirut."

His bestselling books include: Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country (Simon and Schuster 1987), Who Will Tell the People: The Betrayal of American Democracy (1992) and reissued in 2006 (Touchstone paperback) with a new forward, One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism (1997), Fortress America: The American Military and the Consequences of Peace (Public Affairs 1998), and The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy (Simon and Schuster 2003.) His latest book is Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country (Rodale 2009.)

It is my honor and my pleasure to host this salon for William Greider. When I first read Secrets of the Temple, I was working for Bear Stearns in London. It was just after the Asian Currency crisis. And it was before the Fed became a key orchestrator of the Long Term Capital Management bailout, which at $3.6 billion and without a cent of public money is nothing, compared to today’s $7.6 trillion Fed-lead bank bailout through a variety of facilities and other subsidies.  I took the book off the shelf of a friend of mine to borrow.  He went on to become a derivatives trader at none other than, AIG. (more…)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Charles R. Morris : The Sages

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[Welcome Charles R. Morris and Host, Nomi Prins – bev]

The Sages: Warren Buffett, George Soros, Paul Volcker, and the Maelstrom of Markets

The highly prolific and wonderful author, Charles R, Morris has written 12 books, including the recent New York Times Bestseller, The Trillion Dollar Meltdown, which just won the 2009 Loeb Prize for best business book, and its revised paperback version, The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown. His book, The Cost of Good Intentions was selected a best book of 1980 by the New York Times. The Coming Global Boom was a New York Times notable book of 1990, and The Tycoons was selected a Barron’s best book of 2005. A lawyer and former banker, Morris’ articles have appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic Monthly

His new book, The Sages: Warren Buffett, George Soros, Paul Volcker, and the Maelstrom of Markets is perfectly titled. For it is the wisdom of this trio, throughout tumultuous times, that Morris so expertly depicts. The Sages is also a very compelling read that combines vivid history,individual philosophy and market strategy stemming from observation and experience, rather than theory. (more…)

Obama’s Financial Overhaul — More Like a Tune-Up

Nomi Prins is the author of the upcoming book It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street.

So, now we officially know. After the federal government lavished $13 trillion worth of federal subsidies on the banks to keep the financial system from self-destructing, the Obama administration released details of its new ‘rules of the road’ financial regulations today.

The much pre-publicized white paper was supposed to contain the most sweeping overhaul of the financial system since the 1930s. But, unfortunately, Obama is not FDR.

FDR took on Wall Street full-force in 1933. His New Deal included the Glass Steagall Act, which separated banks into consumer (or commercial bank) and speculator (or investment bank) entities. Only the commercial banks, relegated to conventional, ‘boring’ activities, got federal backing. His reforms also allowed for independent audits of the banking system to ensure financial soundness (as opposed to taking just their word for it, which is what Geithner’s stress tests did) and established the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation to provide mortgage money to people at risk of foreclosure.

Obama’s plans didn’t even come close. They accepted the banking landscape, with its giant, complex firms, as a given, and went from there. To be fair, certain items like enhanced issuer accountability for loans and securitized products, greater capital requirements for banks, and relegating certain derivatives to exchanges, are useful tune-ups of the system. But, giving the Fed more power, creating an additional layer of bureaucracy through the ‘Financial Services Oversight Council,’ and allowing the biggest Wall Street players to maintain their status and size, is not reform. It’s more of the risky same. (more…)