The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know.
Personifying the tone of this diary, have you ever heard of the name: Peter Sutherland? Until 2009, he was the Chairman of BP and he's now the Chairman of Goldman Sachs International, a subsidiary of the parent company.
The President's oratory is sublime. I'm sure that this evening's address will reinforce that perception. We might even hear about how BP is being forced to place $10 to $20 billion of its own funds in escrow to help cover the cost of the cleanup in the Gulf, too. In concept, that's a great idea. But, at the end of the day, what will actually happen?
A FEW DAYS AGO, I POSTED THIS:
Fortune Mag: Top Energy Pundit Says BP In Ch. 11 In 30 Days
Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:54:46 PM EDT
Stories have been circulating over the past few days that BP may be looking at its bankruptcy options as the only way out of its self-made travesty in the Gulf of Mexico. But, in the past hour, according to an interview with top oil and gas consultant Matt Simmons, just posted on Fortune Magazine's website, it now appears that the possibility that BP will file bankruptcy very soon is quite real.
The interview, linked HERE, is quite interesting, since it covers quite a bit more than just BP, but it's still a very quick read.
In Nin-Hai Tseng's interview, Simmons praises the Obama administration for forcing BP CEO Tony Hayward (three weeks ago) to commit BP, in writing, to paying for every dollar of the cleanup. Of course, if BP does file for bankruptcy, the reality is that may never happen and U.S. taxpayers may be stuck footing at least a significant portion of the bill.
H/T to Zero Hedge on this, where they uncharacteristically caution that this is all just rumor, while noting that BP's stock is tanking, and reminding us that there's another rumor floating around that BP may have already hired a bankruptcy lawyer, in: "BP ADRs Plunging As Two Rumors Of Imminent Bankruptcy Hit Market."
MANY HAVE NOTED THE NAMES MIGHT CHANGE, BUT MUCH OF THE NEGATIVE ECONOMIC AND CORPORATE NEWS IS REALLY ALL ABOUT THE SAME THING
BP's Mess, and Wall Street's
June 10, 2010, 6:32 pm
Opinionator Column (Exclusive Online Commentary)
By WILLIAM D. COHAN
Just because you can do something, does that mean you should? It's a question that might have saved us a lot of pain in recent months if both Goldman Sachs and British Petroleum had asked it of themselves during the last decade.
Sure, Goldman, and other Wall Street firms, could -- and did -- create "synthetic C.D.O.s" to allow consenting investors, including Goldman itself, to gamble on the risk in the U.S. housing market. Sure, Goldman and others could -- and did -- package up mortgages that should never have been issued into mortgage-backed securities and sold them to investors around the world who, in turn, abdicated their responsibility to investigate the soundness of the investment because some rating agency -- paid by the underwriters -- had slapped a AAA-rating on them. That technology existed, and Goldman and others just availed themselves of it, right? Besides, they were simply supplying the demands of the marketplace, right? The Gulf of Mexico spill, like the financial implosion, was largely the product of people taking risks and knowing they wouldn't be held accountable if things went wrong...
HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF PETER SUTHERLAND?
(I searched for his name, and aside from mention in about four largely unnoticed comments, it hasn't appeared in a diary/story in this community in the past month.)
Chairman of Goldman Sachs International Was - Until Last Year - Also Chairman of BP
by George Washington
06/10/2010 00:48 -0500
Janine Wedel has written extensively on how the "shadow elite" rule the world and about the "flexians" - the movers and shakers of the shadow elite who glide across borders, and structure overlapping (and not fully revealed) roles in government, business, media, and think tanks to serve their own agendas.
According to his September 2009 bio:
Peter Sutherland is chairman of BP plc (1997 - current). He is also chairman of Goldman Sachs International (1995 - current). He was appointed chairman of the London School of Economics in 2008.... Before these appointments, he was the founding director-general of the World Trade Organisation. He had previously served as director general of GATT since July 1993 ...
Sutherland resigned as BP's chairman in 2009, but apparently still serves in various key capacities.
Sutherland is managing director - as well as chairman - of Goldman Sachs International (Goldman Sachs International is the very powerful subsidiary of the Goldman Sachs Group, of which Lloyd Blankfein is CEO). Sutherland is also an Advisory Director of Goldman Sachs Group.
AND, FINALLY, THIS AFTERNOON, WE LEARNED OF THIS:
Gasparino Says BP Has Hired Goldman And Blackstone, Does Either Have A Restructuring Advisory Mandate?
06/14/2010 13:28 -0500
Fox Business' Gasparino reports that BP has hired Goldman and Blackstone, among other financial adivsors...
"Three investment banks, from what I understand, they hired two of those. Blackstone - Tony James the number two at Blackstone is working directly with the bankers that are working with BP. Also, Goldman Sachs. Three banks are working with them. Everything is on the table from what I understand. This is not a situation where you don't develop contingency plans, and the top contingency plan is clearly a potential hostile takeover. If the stock keeps falling, are they basically susceptible to a hostile takeover."
"What is not off the table, according to my Wall Street sources, that they have to look at bankruptcy if this thing does not stop."
# # #
Now, I could talk about just how pathetically blatant things are getting on Capitol Hill as far as regulatory capture is concerned. Then again, Delaware Democratic Senator Ted Kaufman is much more eloquent than yours truly. So, please checkout this: "Senator Kaufman Blasts SEC And Getco For Latest Episode Of Glaring Regulatory Capture."
Or, I could rant about harsh, draconian realities that are playing out in our society right now, such as this not-so-quiet, status quo travesty: "Jail for Unpaid Debt a Reality in Six States (Strategic Default Pushback Watch)."
Of course, there's always that University of Michigan consumer sampling of 500 respondents that's constantly telling us how optimistic we are. Except when we really are not: "Gallup Polling Paints A Much Bleaker Economic Outlook Picture Than UMichigan."
And, then there's the over-arching, inconvenient truth about our comprehensively captured legislative branch, as Tuesday's NY Times Editorial reminds us just how truly out of whack--this example being qualitative not quantitative--our current class disparity really is:
The Unemployed Held Hostage
New York Times
June 16, 2010
Since June 1, when federal unemployment benefits began to expire, an estimated 325,000 jobless workers have been cut off. That number will swell to 1.25 million by the end of the month unless Congress extends the benefits. The Senate, so far, has failed to act.
Some senators, including Democrats, have balked at an unrelated provision that would begin to close a tax loophole enjoyed by some of the richest Americans. You heard right. Desperately needed unemployment benefits have been held hostage to a tax break for the rich, and the Senate's Democratic leadership has had to delay and finagle to get its own caucus in line.
The right thing to do is obvious. The House and Senate should immediately extend unemployment benefits and aid to states and close the fund-managers' tax loophole -- completely.
That so many senators have balked is a bad sign for the economy and for the most vulnerable Americans. The fact that lawmakers are not willing to ask the nation's wealthiest to pay their fair share of taxes also makes a mockery of all their talk about deficit reduction.
# # #
But, very little upsets me more than knowing it's our children who will be bearing the brunt of this unbridled Wall Street/corporatist greed and its resultant societal mess, currently playing out before us. (In many ways, much worse in coming months and years than anything we've witnessed since 2008, too!) The truth is, the extent of Wall Street's evisceration of Main Street is far greater than most realize. It's just that--after years of kabuki--we've become numb to it. I mean, outrage is soooo 2009, right? So what if millions in our middle class lose any sense of retirement security that they've worked all their lives to achieve! And, hell, I'm sure the people in the Wall Street boardrooms aren't thinking about the collateral damage, either. It's all about their profits, no matter who gets hurt or dies: "61% Underfunded Illinois Teachers Pension Fund Goes For Broke, Becomes Next AIG-In-Waiting By Selling Billions In CDS."
Sometimes I look at the Rec List in this community and I wonder: "ARE PEOPLE UNFAZED BY REALITY?"
A speech changes NOTHING. Regulatory legislation that's wrought with loopholes and based upon a generation of double-speak means even LESS than nothing. Everyone knows regulatory legislation is only as good as those doing the regulating--and little or nothing is changing in that department no matter how one may wish to bloviate otherwise.
Unfazed by Reality
By BOB HERBERT
New York Times
June 15, 2010
Imagine that you've got the gas pedal to the floor (or almost to the floor) as you try to get your vehicle to the top of a mountain, where the road will level off. You've made real progress, but the vehicle is straining and wheezing. You're not there yet.
Why in the world would you lift your foot off the gas and risk rolling back down the mountain?
Something like this is happening in the fight to haul the United States out of the depths of the worst recession since the Great Depression. The deficit hawks -- policy makers from the very same crowd whose crazy theories and rampant irresponsibility got us into this terrible fix in the first place -- want the United States to step off of the stimulus gas, a move that might very well stall the current, extremely fragile recovery.
The latest struggle on this front has to do with the crucially important issue of federal relief to state and local governments...
Herbert's NYT column, today, tells us of the devastating cuts currently being implemented at the Natomas Unified School District in Sacramento County, California, where they've closed eight elementary schools, cut health aides, eliminated busing, shortened their school year, massively increased class sizes and sent pink slips to 30% of their teachers, staff and administration.
Herbert tells us the President is saying all the right things now, however, states are required to balance their budgets; thus, draconian cuts are underway throughout the country.
When you put people out of work, you cripple the quality of life of their entire families. When you start dismantling the public schools and driving teachers from the classrooms, you damage -- and in many instances cripple -- the lifetime prospects of untold numbers of pupils. When you undermine a recovery that is as fragile as this one, which is as fragile as a crate of eggs, you undermine the economic health of the entire nation.
These are the kinds of disasters that the deficit hawks, secure in their ideological dream world, are quite happily prepared to live with.
# # #
Yeah, I'm sure Peter Sutherland and his colleagues in the boardrooms at BP and Goldman Sachs are just lying awake at night over all of this.
Counting their profits.
So, please, by all means let's discuss these facts. Don't tell me about words, however. Words are not facts. At this point, they mean nothing. All one has to do is take a look at the latest daily news cycle to understand that's the harshest truth of all.