Robert Oak's blog

Friday Movie Night - Frontline's Black Money Edition

hot buttered popcorn It's Friday Night! Party Time!   Time to relax, put your feet up on the couch, lay back, and watch some detailed videos on economic policy!

Did you know that international, corporate and state bribery is valued at over $1 trillion a year?

Frontline's Black Money an in depth investigative documentary on the state of international bribery today.

This is a Lowell Bergman work so as one can imagine, the investigative report quality is truly in depth. Most interesting is the problem if one country stops bribery the idea is other nations will have a competitive advantage to obtain large defense contracts for they will pay the bribes.

TARP COPs are back - Report Assesses Treasury Strategy & Actions on Financial Crisis

The Congressional Oversight Panel has released a new report, Assessing Treasury’s Strategy: Six Months of TARP. First, the $$$:

Over the last six months, Treasury has spent or committed $590.4 billion of the TARP funds. Treasury has also relied heavily on the use of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet which has expanded by more than $1.5 trillion (not including expected TALF loans) in conjunction with the financial stabilization activities it has undertaken beyond its monetary policy operations. This has allowed Treasury to leverage TARP funds well beyond the funds appropriated by Congress.

Sunday Morning Comics - Government Financial Management Edition

Sponsored by The Federal Government - We guarantee this post is funny. If it is not funny, print out IRS form 2034, follow the 89 page instruction booklet, estimate your laughs, chuckles & smiles history, based on your uploaded medical profile, complete with your current medication list, for the last 5 years. Upon evaluation you will be compensated with jokes from President Obama himself, on a sliding scale, depending upon your current chuckle intake. Those determined not in smile need or who are laugh enriched will be expected to contribute to the snide comment campaign for future Presidential conferences.
Cup O' Joe


Good Morning! Rise and Shine! Get that Cup O' Joe...
break out the O.J....hang out with the pooch...time to check out the Funnies!


Friday Movie Night - Taleb & Johnson

hot buttered popcorn It's Friday Night! Party Time!   Time to relax, put your feet up on the couch, lay back, and watch some detailed videos on economic policy!

This week is an Bill Moyers Now interview with Simon Johnson and PBS interview with Black Swan author Nicholas Taleb.

I was planning on showing Frontline but the last two documentaries have been truly infiltrated with some sort of special interest agenda. The deficit response was all about gutting social security and Medicare and the documentary on health care never uttered single payer universal health as an option. I think we all have watched enough corporate and special interest spin to last a lifetime so I am not even linking to them.

With that, below are interviews which you missed are a profound must see.

Bail Out Hypocrisy - Manufacturing Gets the Shaft, Financials Get to Craft

The White House is in full hypocrisy mode. While Obama Treasury Secretary Geithner tries to do a massive power grab, invites financial sector CEOs to craft policy and cooperate in their multi-trillion dollar U.S. taxpayer money pig fest, the auto industry is shipped to bankruptcy court. Even worse, Chrysler is to be broken up into good cars and bad cars, yet Italy (Fiat) gets the good cars and the United States gets the bad.

Meanwhile Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs struggles as reporters immediately question the different standards:

Sunday Morning Comics - Mark Fiore Cartoons Edition

Sponsored by The More Brazen Public Relations Foundation - Bringing the world Corporatism and Oligarchy One Message at a time. Remember: The Bigger the Lie, the More They will Believe it
Cup O' Joe


Good Morning! Rise and Shine! Get that Cup O' Joe...
break out the O.J....hang out with the pooch...time to check out the Funnies!


Mark Fiore is one of my favorite cartoonists, but he still hasn't gotten embedding media down. Below are some select economics cartoons from his site. Click on the images to start the cartoons.


Zombie Bank

fiore Zombie bank

Geithner & Bernanke in Financial Services Committee Hearing

Folks, I must recommend turning off the pundits on TV, CNBC and even many of the blogs and tune into CSPAN.

Today in the House Financial Services Hearing, Oversight of the Federal Government’s Intervention at American International Group, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, along with New York Fed Chair William Dudley testified.

Systemic Risk - The New WMD

Securitization was based on the premise that a “fool was born every minute.” - Joseph Stiglitz in congressional testimony, Financial Regulation, October 21, 2008.

Even Adam Smith recognized that unregulated markets will try to restrict competition, and
without strong competition markets will not be efficient. More recent research has shown that
markets often fail to produce efficient outcomes (let alone fair or socially just outcomes) when
information is imperfect or asymmetric—but information imperfections and asymmetries are at
the center of financial markets. That is what they are about. Our financial markets have even
worked hard to exacerbate these problems; as we have noted, they created non-transparent
products that were so complex that not even those who created them fully understood the risks to
which they gave rise.

The Big Pitch - Geithner's Sales Job

The headlines are ablaze of Geithner's plan.   The Treasury Secretary is on CNBC, the cable news, even conference calls with select bloggers (I wonder if Krugman was invited?), are they twittering too?   The markets react, the Dow up almost 500 pts!   Astounding, magical, we have the cure....or do we?

I already wrote my own overview of the toxic asset plan and believe it fatally flawed with the same assumptions that got us into this mess, home values must drop to be in alignment with income and Americans are tapped out, the great debt fueled Ponzi scheme has collapsed.