NOVEMBER 2019

NOVEMBER   2019
Industry buys a President or Two

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Saturday, October 12, 2019

THE MONSTERS OF LES MANS The Pepin Sisters

I admit the case of “The Two Maids”, Christine and Lea Papin,  fascinates me. Although there has never been any doubt as to the horrific nature of their crime, nor as to the guilt of the two women, there has never been a definitive explanation as to why the murders were committed.  Approaching now a century later the story still begins and ends with that central mystery.
On the evening of Thursday, 2 February, 1933, Monsieur Rene Lancine, a retired lawyer living outside of Le Mans, France (above), left work and arrived at a friend's home for a dinner party only to discover that his wifeLéonie and his daughter Genevieve had not arrived ahead of him.  He knew they were both looking forward to the dinner, so he anxiously returned to his own home to search for them. 
He arrived shortly after 6:30 to find all the doors of his home locked and the house dark- except for what looked like a single candle burning in the attic room where the families' two servant girls slept.  M. Lancine was concerned enough that he immediately went to the police station. Several officers accompanied M. Lancine home again, and one officer climbed over the back wall of the house and thus gained entrance. 
In a bedroom on the second floor were the battered and mutilated bodies of Madam and Mademoiselle Lancine,  wearing their coats and gloves as if about to go out.  The murder weapons were scattered about the landing, dropped from the hands which had wielded them; a kitchen knife, a hammer, and a heavy pewter pot.  But the bludgeoning had only been part of the assault. 
The eminent psychiatrist Jazues Lacan put it succinctly; “They tore out their eyes as Bacchantes castrate their victims.” One of the daughter’s eyes was found on the carpet. Both of Madam Lancine’s eyes were found in the folds of her scarf, still around her neck. 
And in the bare attic room the police discovered the two servant girls, Christine and Lea Papin, naked and huddled together in one bed. The police wrapped them in overcoats and brought them in for questioning. Already the press photographers were showing up. 
Both girls readily admitted to having committed the murders. But they failed to offer any explanation for the brutal slaughter.
The case was an immediate sensation and a cause celebre’ for every side of the moral and political debate in France - to the Paris tabloids the sisters were “The Monsters of Le Mans” and “Les Arracheuses d’Yeux” (The Eye Gougers), and the murders were “…the most terrifying and cruel murders ever committed.” 
Jean Genet, author of “Waiting for Godot” was inspired by the trial to write a play, “The Maids” in which he has Christine say, “Madame likes us like she likes her armchairs. And maybe not that much!” Simone de Beauvior commented, “…there are no doubt women who deducted the cost of a broken plate from their maid’s wages, who put on white gloves to find forgotten specks of dust on the furniture:…one must accuse their childhood orphanage, their serfdom, the whole hideous system set up by decent people for the production of madmen, assassins and monsters.” 
And before the victims had even been buried, the new science of psychology found dark undertones of incest and sexual abuse , making the removal of the victim’s eyes significant. The case was a theatre d’ete (a summer theatre), or perhaps a sarriette (a summer treat), in much the same way that the murder of Sandra Levy and the O.J. Simpson trial were to be a half century later. But after 77 years the central mystery of the Papin sisters remains; Why?
There were originally three Papin sisters. When the eldest daughter, Emilia, was 9 years old she was raped by her drunken father.  The mother had divorced the beast, but still Emilia was sent to a nunnery and little to none contact with her family ever again. The divorce dropped the family into bitter poverty. The mother hired out as a house maid, and the two younger sisters were sent to a Catholic orphanage. And when Lea and Christine were thought to be old enough (their early teens) they too became servants.   As often as possible the sisters worked together. But after a few years they no longer spoke to their mother.
When the Papin sisters moved into the Lancine home. Christine was 24 and worked as the family cook while 20  year old Lea was responsible for cleaning and dusting the house. They had worked in several other homes around La Mans, and had good work records. And they worked for the Lancine family for seven years without trouble.
However Mademoiselle Lancine was known to be strict about cleanliness, and often ran one of her white gloves across surfaces to inspect Lea's (above) housework.  Lately the lady of the house had taken to beating Lea. Still, the only thing unusual about the afternoon of 2 February was a badly repaired electric iron had blown a fuse. And it was this relative minor inconvenience which somehow precipitated the explosion of bloody violence. 
After their arrests, the sisters were separated. Christine (above left) began to wail and cry out for her sister. After several days they were allowed contact again, and Christine showered Lea with kisses. The doctors sent to examine the girls decided that Lea was a simpleton and that Christine was mentally and emotionally unstable. At one point Christine became so distraught at another separation that she tried to gouge her own eyes out and had to be restrained in a straight jacket. 
When their trial finally reached its climax in September of 1933 Christine was sentenced to the guillotine, but this was later commuted to life in prison. Being alone again in prison she went into a profound depression and stopped eating for long periods. She lost weight. Eventually she was transferred to an insane asylum, where in 1937 she died of “cahexia”, a diagnoses which basically meant that she simply gave up fighting to stay alive. 
Lea (above) was sentenced to ten years of hard labor, of which she served eight. After she was released, Lea was reunited with her mother and they moved south to Nantes, where Lea worked as a chamber maid at a hotel under an assumed name. She died in 2000.
It is a sad story, and I have not more than touched on the details here. It highlights a world now long gone, and the life of two bourgeoisie peasant girls, born into a universe that seems to have had little use for them until they achieved fame by doing something despicable. And the instant they did it no longer mattered who the Papin sisters really were. At that point they became merely characters in someone else’s play.
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Friday, October 11, 2019

SCANDAL SHEET William Crosby and Truth As a Defence

I believe that the term “governor” and “corruption” have been synonymous since at least 70 B.C. when Cicero made the legal case against Caius Verres, the Roman governor of Sicily. Amongst a host of other allegations, Cicero charged that Verres had famously stripped the interior of that contented island of everything of value, and then forced the city of Syracuse to build and crew a new ship each year to transport Verres’ plunder back to Rome, where he kept the plunder and sold the ship - and kept the money. Before Cicero had even finished presenting his case, on the advice of his own lawyer, Verres fled Italy with a fair part of his wealth still intact. We know this because years later Mark Anthony had Verres executed, in order to steal what Verres had stolen from Sicily. The murder of corrupt Roman officials by other corrupt Roman officials had, by then, become part of the circle of Roman life. 
Fifteen hundred years later the image of the corrupt governor had changed very little, except in nationality. The new prime example was William Crosby, who was English governor of Minorca (the name means “the lesser island”). The strategic little spot of dry land was 200 miles off the coast from Barcelona, Spain and 300 miles west of Sardinia. The British Navy had seized the place from the Spanish in 1708, but the Treaty of Utrecht had not officially awarded it to England until 1713, leaving the Spanish population far from resigned to British rule. So in 1718 the British government could not afford to just look the other way when the first English Governor of the island, William Crosby, seized a shipload of snuff, valued at nine thousand pounds sterling, for non-payment of import duties.
The problem was that Crosby had just mugged a local power broker. His name was Bonaventura Capedvilla, a Portuguese merchant, and it had been his snuff that had been filched by Crosby. Capedvilla contended that he had paid the import duties on the snuff, and when the local authorities began to ask questions, Governor Crosby simply refused to allow them access to government documents, sort of like Donald Trump refusing to show his taxes.  But Capedvilla was wealthy enough and powerful enough to fight back. Besides, at that moment Portugal was an English ally in their war against Spain, and the British government really could not afford to offend one of Portugal's richest citizens. So Señor Capedvilla appealed directly to the Privy Counsel in London, and eventually, in 1722, the Council demanded to look at the documents.
When Crosby eventually responded, (in 1724) it was immediately clear that the importation papers he offered up had been “tampered” with. In other words they had been forged by Crosby. The Privy Council eventually (in 1728) ordered Crosby to pay Capedvilla ten thousand pounds sterling. He did, but it did great damage to his personal bank account. The Council also decided that perhaps it would be better if Crosby were governor of some other island not quite so vital to the security of Great Britain. And that could end up hurting Crosby's bank account even more.
In 1730, as Governor Crosby was packing his bags in preparation to take up his new posting as Governor to the Leeward Islands (off the north coast of Venezuela), he received word that John Montgomerie, the royal Governor of New York and New Jersey in America, had just dropped dead of a stroke. Immediately William Crosby made his way to London, to pay a visit to Thomas Pelham-Holles, the duke of Newcastle.
Newcastle had been the secretary of state for the Southern Department, which included everything in America south of Canada. He was also a first cousin to Grace Montague, who was Cosby’s wife. And Newcastle was ever happy to see another relative doing well in government service. He secured Crosby's appointment to America.
And that was why, in 1731, William Crosby arrived in New York armed with the royal seal of approval and carrying his own particular brand of insensitive and clumsy avariciousness. To quote one of Crosby’s staunchest critics, "The Government of New York... came seasonably in (Crosby’s) way to repair his broken fortune."
When a New Yorker later pointed out that one of Crosby’s actions was illegal, he answered directly. “How, gentlemen, do you think I mind that: alas! I have great interests in England, of the Dukes of New Castle, Montague and Lord Halifax." Now that is arrogance with its mask off. And Crosby quickly showed his bare face to the citizens of New York.
When Montgomerie had died, 71 year old Rip Van Dam had been asked by the colonial council to step in to manage the colony until the new governor arrived. Shortly after his arrival in New York, William Crosby asked Van Dam to turn over half of the salary he had collected since Montgomerie’s death. Now, that was actually a fairly common practice in the British Empire. But Van Dam was a survivor of the Dutch power structure. The Dutch had founded the colony, and Van Dam did not take kindly to the rude manners and uneducated brashness of the new English royal governor. He told Crosby, that by his calculations, Crosby actually owed him four thousand pounds.
Crosby did not find that very funny. In August of 1732 he sued Van Dam for half of his salary. Crosby was of course, not going to allow a jury to tell him what was legal. So he instructed the three judges of the Colonies' Supreme Court to hear the case. Van Dam challenged the legality of that order, and his challenge was argued before…the three judges of the Supreme Court. As was perfectly predictable, their vote was two-to-one, in Crosby’s favor.
Crosby then ordered the dismissal of Chief Justice Lewis Morris, the only court member with the courage to vote against the governor. Justice Morris laid out his reasons for opposing Crosby’s actions in a letter he paid to have printed up on a "broadsheet", by the “second” printer in the colony, Mr. John Peter Zenger.
Broadsheets were single pages, printed in mass, and posted on public squares throughout the colony, and even read aloud by town criers, for the benefit of the illiterate. The success of Judge Morris' broadsheet in rallying the citizens against Cosby convinced certain wealthy citizens there might be a profit made in starting an opposition newspaper. They called their new weekly venture the “New York Gazette”. And again  they used the printing press owned by Mr. Zenger. Crosby paid little attention, as he was busy stealing land from the Indians, from the original Dutch settlers and from recent English immigrants. But eventually, after certain colonists complained about him to London, Crosby decided to take notice and to action.
In November of 1734 he ordered the printer Peter Zenger arrested. And that is how a lowly German immigrant - Peter Zenger - who could barely spell in English, became the center of the first great confrontation between Americans seeking “Liberty and Justice” and the caprice of a Royal prerogative. In the trial on 5 August, 1734, an American jury decided that the truth of an allegation was a valid defense against libel, and they found Zenger not guilty.
"Truth" was not an accepted legal argument against libel at the time, and it would be some years before what the New York Colonial court had decided would gain acceptance elsewhere. And long before that happened Governor William Crosby had answered to a higher court.
In early March of 1736 the greedy Crosby died of tuberculosis at the Governor’s house, in New York City. He was buried in St. George’s Chapel. But he did not stay there. In 1788 the post-revolutionary American governor of New York had the last word on the old royal governor, when he ordered Crosby's remains be moved to the graveyard at St. Paul’s Church, and dumped there, in an unmarked grave.
And good riddance, to him.
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Thursday, October 10, 2019

RAILROADING The Railsplitter - A Short History of Fraud in America

I have come to the conclusion that no one should be handed a Phd in economics or Masters in Business degree from any American university without an intimate understanding of the history of fraud in America. We have buried this knowledge, as if afraid of teaching our best and brightest how to cheat, despite there being clear evidence that no such primer is required. The energetic, the ambitious and the greedy have always found a way to profit from cheating. And the mantra of deregulation is another proof that a good education in cheating might at least warn the suckers. For example, did you know that one of the men who did the most to advance the greatest fraud upon the American people in the 19th Century was “Honest” Abe Lincoln?
Lincoln’s break through case as a lawyer involved the 6 May 1856 destruction of the “Government Bridge”. The bridge was actually owned by the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad, but by calling it "Government Bridge" the railroad attracted more investors. It was first bridge over the Mississippi River, between Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa. Just two weeks after the bridge was opened to trains a steamboat, the old and leaky “Effie Afton”, ran into one of the bridge's piers which caused a fire that destroyed the boat and one span of the bridge. The owners of the Effie sued the owners of the bridge, claiming that bridges were a navigational hazard to river commerce.
The mercurial Charles Durant, one of the railroad’s officers, hired Lincoln to defend the bridge. In lieu of payment, Lincoln accepted $3,000 in railroad stock (the equivalent of about $66,000 today). After winning the case (he got a hung jury) Lincoln traveled all the way to Kansas to inspect the intended route of the future transcontinental railroad, which would be built by corporations that Durant ran and manipulated. And then, one of the first bills signed into law by President Lincoln was “The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862” which officially authorized the Central Pacific railroad to build east from California and the Union Pacific (whose vice president was Charles Durant) to build west from Council Bluffs, Iowa. This meant that Lincoln now owned some very valuable stock.
To pay for the construction across all those hundreds of empty miles, the railroad company was to be re-reimbursed for the total cost of building the line.  They were expected to make their profits from the grants of land they were awarded on either side of the rails. The completed railroad would make that land accessible, which would make it valuable. But the fact that Lincoln traveled all the way to Kansas to see the route and the property with his own eyes, showed that Lincoln knew enough not to trust the word of Charles Durant. And yet he had just turned this rapacious wolf loose upon the American taxpayers. Well, Lincoln had an excuse; he was a little distracted by the outbreak of the Civil War.
Doctor Charles Durant (Medicine had been his formal training), immediately showed his true genius by first buying out Union Pacific stockholder Herbert Hoxie for $10,000. This, in addition to stock he had already owned, gave Durant majority control of the railroad, even though the “Railroad Act” had limited individual stock ownership to avoid just the kind of manipulation Durant had in mind. Then Durant bought stock in competing railroads (on margin, of course), and spread rumors that they would soon be joined to the Union Pacific line, thus giving them a piece of the projected profits from the transcontinental trade.
When those railroad stocks then went up, Durant sold them out. Eventually the suckers realized there would be no joining, and the stocks fell to below their original value. With the Civil War raging Durant had just cleared $5 million profit the equivalent of about $100 million today), and he had yet to lay an inch of rail.
Durant was hot tempered, erratic and prone to manic depression. But he had a genius at making money this way. And what he had done so far was just the prologue. Doctor Durant now came up with an idea he had learned from the French construction of the Suez Canal.

In early 1864 the good Doctor Durant sent his director of publicity, George Francis Train, on a search for just the right corporate vehicle. Train found what he was looking for in the Pennsylvania Fiscal Agency, one of the innumerable stock schemes chartered by the states to fund "The American people’s railroad to the Western Sea.” None of these shell companies ever laid a single length of rail, but this one still had an effective charter and it was for sale, cheap. Train bought the company and renamed it Credit Mobilier, a name vague enough to leave you unsure just what they did. Then he sold shares in this new company for nominal amounts (often even on credit) to the principle stockholders of the Union Pacific Railroad - the majority going, of course, to Doctor Durant.
As the completion in this little of slight-of-hand, the Union Pacific signed an exclusive “no bid” contract with Credit Moblier (meaning themselves) to supply the Union Pacific with all labor, grading, rails, ties, spikes, bridges, abutments, rolling stock and engines needed to actually build and run the railroad; let the fleecing begin
The original engineer of the Union Pacific had calculated that the first 100 miles of track would cost $30,000 per mile to build. But Credit Moblier billed the railroad $60,000 per mile, which was taken directly from the pocket of the federal government. The route also began to meander across the landscape, like a drunken sparrow in flight. Each twist and turn added miles to the bill presented to the Federal government. By the end of construction in 1869, the profit from this padding of the construction bills produced a profit for the stockholders of Credit Mobilier of $50 million (equal to about $800 million today). Remember this was not the side of the equation that was supposed to provide a profit for the builders.
Better yet, for the principle investors, the Union Pacific Railroad was something new on the American scene, a “limited liability corporation”. Under the old rules stockholders were liable for any debts the company ran up. A bankrupt company meant bankrupt investors. But investors in the Union Pacific Railroad Limited, including Doctor Durant, Mr. Train and several members of Congress who had been given Union Pacific stock (because they would control any investigations into Credit Moblier) were liable only for the amount they had invested in the U.P. And in many cases that was nothing.  And what little they did have invested, they sold out before the public found out what shoddy work had been done.
By 1869 when the “the people’s railroad to the western Sea”, was completed, it was also bankrupt. It had been looted by Credit Mobilier. The U.P. stock wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. And, of course, by then, the principle investors in Credit Mobilier were off looking for other railroads to loot.
Only after literally thousands of more scams just like this one would congress close the loophole in this particular invitation to fraud, making shell companies like Credit Mobilier illegal, allowing for the seizure of all profits made from them, and assessing fines for even setting them up. This is called regulation. And by regulating the stock market the government attempts to limit the profits made on Wall Street to the actual profits from the real companies the suckers think they are investing in.
It’s enough to make you realize that if Lincoln had not been murdered in 1865, his reputation might have been more closely tied to that of Doctor Durant than it is today. When ever the  truly powerful in this nation have been caught red handed, they hide behind limited liability.  Without limited liability  the bank executives called before Congress in 2008 to explain how they profited from creating the mortgage bubble, would never have had the guts to blame working class citizens for taking on home loans they could not afford.  In the area of economic crime, experience and history makes me want to blame the people with college degrees in finance and business who drew up thousands of those contracts, long before I blame the engineering graduates and high school graduates who signed just one of them. And if you don’t agree, you just don’t know your American history like you should.
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Wednesday, October 09, 2019

HIS MASTER'S VOICE Joe Kennedy Gets Rich

I never believed old Joe Kennedy’s story about getting a stock tip from a shoe shine boy in 1929. Joe claimed that when he a kid offered him insider info on a stock Joe knew that if the kid knew, then everybody knew. And that meant that the good times were over. So, Joe said, he sold most of his stocks just before the Black Friday crash of 29 October, 1929. And that was why, Joe said, when the market bottomed out he still had the cash to pick up stocks for a song just before they went back up, and that was how he made his fortune. It's a good story. It makes him sound very smart. But it was a load of Irish manure.
In 1929 Joe’s fortune was already estimated at $4 million. He had just sold out most of his stock portfolio, not because of some tip from a shoe shine boy but as part of the game of stock manipulation that was the standard practice on Wall Street during the 1920's. In fact Joe used to tell friends they all had to cash in on the game, because someday, soon, it would be made illegal. In fact Joe and most of the other insiders knew a crash was inevitable. All of them just figured they were smart enough to get out in time. But smart turned out to have nothing to do with it.
It was sheer blind luck that the market crashed just as Joe was heavily liquid (short on stocks and long on cash) . Still, like most successful moguls, in retrospect Joe’s luck became, in his self justification version of reality, a shrewd investment move.  And by 1935, feasting on the financial corpses of his unlucky competitors, the Kennedy fortune was said to be worth $180 million. Of course if his timing had been a little bit slower or faster Joe would have been wiped out like all those other shrewd Wall Street investors. The only time people truly get in trouble on Wall Street is when they start thinking their master's voice is their own genius and not the collective cacophony of fools.
The classic example of the games played in those days was the RCA stock pool, formed by the brokerage house M.J. Meehan and Company. Joe was part of this game. In the modern vernacular the process is called “a pump and dump”. In the slang of 1929 it was “painting the tape”, as in ticker tape which read out changing stock quotes before LED's light boards.  First the stock was quietly accumulated by the pool members, who also sold the stock “long”, meaning they made a behind the scenes bet that the price would go up. Then the reputation of the stock was made to look better than it actually was by well publicized sales between pool members at inflated prices, and by articles planted in newspapers and magazines.
This attracted buyers from outside the pool who were either fooled by the games or who suspected what was actually happening and gambled they could follow the “smart money” and get out before the dump. Of course the pool members were already quietly selling the stock short, betting it would go down, which, of course, they were about to insure that it did. In the final act the pool members would suddenly dump all their stock, making the insiders richer, and the outsiders poorer.
The RCA pool started pumping on Saturday 9 March, 1929, (the NYSE met for half day sessions on Saturdays at the time). Shares of RCA were selling at $93 each. Two weeks later, Saturday 30 March,  the stock was selling for $109.75 a share.  It was time to pull the dump. Almost overnight the stock fell to $80 a share. And for what was in essence two weeks work the pool members made $5 million ($60 million in today's value).
The only problem was that the $5 million the “smart money” had just squeezed out of the market had to come from someplace.  Lots of the “suckers” who had bought RCA on a standard 10% margin were suddenly caught short by the switch to the “dump” mode. They would now either have to pay the 90% they still owed for the stock at the pumped price (which most could not afford to do) or come up with another 10% to maintain their margins.
The rush to raise cash to meet the margin calls did two things at once. First, as people sold other stock to meet their short calls on RCA, that drove down the price of lots of other stocks. The New York Daily News called it a “selling avalanche”. And two: as those who either could not or chose not to sell other stocks to avoid the “margin calls” on RCA, looked for the cash to meet their raised margins. Their demand for cash drove the price of loans (the interest rates charged) higher and higher. It was an instant liquidity crises - sound familiar?
In a single day, Monday, 25 March, 1929, the market abruptly dropped 4% across the board. What stopped Monday, 25 March, 1929 from becoming Black Monday was that on Tuesday, 26 March, 1929 at about 1:30 in the afternoon, as the panic was still spreading across the floor of the stock exchange, Charles "Sunshine Charley" Mitchell, president of CitiBank and a member of the Federal Reserve Board, boldly walked onto the trading floor and placed a loud “buy” order for U.S. Steel at higher than the then depressed market price. He also announced that he had $25 million to stabilize the market ($300 million in today's value). Immediately the panic on Wall Street stopped, and conservative Democratic Senator Carter Glass called for Mitchell’s resignation because he had violated "purity" of the market. By saving it.
The famous “Sleeping Prophet” Edgar Cayce would write a letter in the first weeks of April 1929 famously predicting the October collapse of Wall Street. In fact the near collapse at the end of March was repeated again with another 4% drop in value on 22 May and again on 27 May and yet again on 9 August and yet a fifth 4% drop on 3 October, followed by a 6.3% plummet on 23 October. And all of these drops preceded the infamous Black Monday collapse, when in a single day the market dropped 12% of its total value. You would have had to been deluded not to have seen the market collapse was just around the corner. But if you were looking for some genius to believe in, and the mystic attracts you, then you will choose to follow Edgar Cayce.
Or, if you were of a mercenary mindset, you could choose to listen to the voice of Joe Kennedy and his fellows. Joe continued to believe that he was smart enough to avoid getting caught in the next market downturn. He wasn't, of course. But fortunately for Joe, Wall Street was filled with desperate, deluded people who for lots of reasons refused to see the approaching abyss any better than Joe did. Ever since the October 1929 collapse of Wall Street Edgar Cayce has been making converts, based on his mystical prediction that doesn’t seem so mystical in retrospect. The same can be said of Joe Kennedy. The list of the well connected and well informed experts who continued to predict that all would be well on Wall Street was almost endless.
On Friday,18  October, the editor of the Wall Street Journal said in a speech that stock manipulations on Wall Street were “impossible”.  Yale Economics professor Irving Fisher observed that “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau”. And every time one of these “experts” predicted that the dark skies were going to clear up, the market would bounce back from the brink of disaster, reaching its all time peak index on 3  September, 1929 of 381.17. Then came the big crash.
After the 1929 crash the NYSE would not return to the 300 level until 1954.  In the immediate aftermath of the debacle of 1929 Senator Carter Glass helped fashion legislation (The Glass-Steagall Act) that divorced commercial banks from intimate ties with brokerage houses, the source of a lot of the cash used in speculation and one of the primary fuels in the collapse. That was a major violation of the purity of the market, and it was designed by Carter Glass, the same Senator who had called "Sunshine Charley's firing,  And it was Joe Kennedy who would soon help write new rules that banned “insider trading”, such as the RCA pool he had profited from.
And "Sunshine Charley, the man who saved the market in March of 1929, died flat broke in 1955. His was just one more of the millions of lives ravaged and destroyed by the Great Depression, in America and worldwide; hunger, lost education opportunities, violence, even World War Two. It seems a very high price to pay to make Joe Kennedy a little richer.
The Glass-Steagall Act was largely repealed in 1999, because the mystics on Wall Street are still selling the idea that secret knowledge and mystical skill can trump luck on Wall Street. Ten years later came proof that the mystics were wrong again.  And yet there are still those who want to believe and are willing to pay for their faith, but they are using our money.
And where ever he is at this moment, in heaven or hell, Old Joe Kennedy must be having a very good laugh about the “spike” in oil prices that the experts assured us was certainly not the product of speculation, and now their assurance that the financial collapse of 2008 will never happen again if we just have faith in the purity of the market.
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