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I don’t know a lot about Mary Schapiro, Obama’s pick to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, but her bio doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Originally appointed to the SEC by Ronald Reagan. Named to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission by Bill Clinton. Currently “the chief executive officer of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the securities and brokerage industry’s self-policing organization.”
Consider these brief excerpts from two old news articles:
1/ This one is from 1994: “The new head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission yesterday vowed that the CFTC would no longer be ‘a sleepy little agency’ and outlined an ambitious program for revitalizing the commission, starting with a drive to police the all-but-unregulated market in derivatives. CFTC Chairman Mary Schapiro said the agency will reconsider the decision made during the Bush administration to exempt derivatives from most federal regulation. She also said the CFTC will use its fraud-fighting power to go after Wall Street firms that have lured local government and corporations into derivatives investments that have produced losses running into the billions of dollars.”
2/ And this one is from 1996, when she bailed out with her sleepy agency in an even deeper slumber. “Mary Schapiro has resigned after serving for only 15 months as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). She has accepted an offer to head the new regulatory arm of the National Assn. of Securities Dealers (NASD). She insists that her decision was not influenced in any way by the higher salary offered by the NASD.”
This after Tom “Mr. Ethanol” Vilsack was named as Agriculture Secretary and Republican Ray “Porkbarrel” LaHood gets the nod as Transportation Secretary.
Update: And here’s another interesting article about Schapiro. She was a real pit bull on derivatives trading while in government:
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said today that a 1995 ruling did not expand its regulatory powers to include certain derivative contracts. Mary L. Schapiro, the commission’s chairwoman, wrote to two Representatives about the agency’s $2.25 million fine against a German conglomerate, Metallgesellschaft A.G., last July, and argued that it represented no change from the agency’s 1989 decree that swaps contracts were exempt from agency scrutiny.
The ruling had ignited concern on Wall Street, and by two key members of Congress, Representative Pat Roberts, a Republican from Kansas, and Representative Thomas J. Bliley Jr., a Republican from Virginia. They and Wall Street bankers were concerned that the agency’s decision cast a cloud over the legal standing of many of the contracts that make up the $14 trillion derivatives market. They were also concerned that the agency was attempting to take authority over a big, expanding market and would drive up the cost of doing business with extra regulations.
Ms. Schapiro said the agency entered the case because the company’s mounting trading losses “threatened the stability and integrity of the futures markets,” not because of a desire to expand regulation of derivatives…
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”