Author Topic: Federal Reserve board is #1 suspect in the assassination of Mark Pittman  (Read 27622 times)

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Offline Dig

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Mark Pittman, Reporter Who Foresaw Crisis, Dies at 52 (Update1) Share Business Exchange
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=af7QohP8YdRo&pos=12
By Bob Ivry

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Mark Pittman, the award-winning investigative reporter whose fight to open the Federal Reserve to more scrutiny led Bloomberg News to sue the central bank and win, died Nov. 25 in Yonkers, New York. He was 52.

The precise cause of his death wasn’t known, said his friend William Karesh, vice president of the Global Health Program at the Bronx, New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

Pittman, a former police-beat reporter who joined Bloomberg News in 1997, wrote stories in 2007 predicting the collapse of the banking system. That year, he won the Gerald Loeb Award from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, the highest accolade in financial journalism, for “Wall Street’s Faustian Bargain,” a series of articles on the breakdown of the U.S. mortgage industry.

Pittman’s fight to make the Fed more accountable resulted in an Aug. 24 victory in Manhattan Federal Court affirming the public’s right to know about the central bank’s more than $2 trillion in loans to financial firms. Pittman drew the attention of filmmakers Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, who gave him a prominent role in their documentary about subprime mortgages, “American Casino,” which was shown at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival in May.

“Who sues the Fed? One reporter on the planet,” said Emma Moody, a Wall Street Journal editor who worked with Pittman at Bloomberg. “The more complex the issue, the more he wanted to dig into it. Years ago, he forced us to learn what a credit- default swap was. He dragged us kicking and screaming.”

Police Reporter, Ranch Hand

James Mark Pittman was born Oct. 25, 1957, in Kansas City, Kansas, where he played linebacker on the high school football team. He took engineering classes at the University of Kansas in Lawrence before graduating with a degree in journalism in 1981. He was married soon after and had a daughter, Maggie, in 1983. The marriage ended in divorce.

Pittman’s first reporting job, covering the police department for the Coffeyville Journal in southern Kansas, paid so little he took a part-time job as a ranch hand across the Oklahoma border in Lenapah, according to an interview he gave to Ryan Chittum for the Columbia Journalism Review’s The Audit, a watchdog for the business press.

“What a funny guy -- huge personality,” Chittum said in an e-mail message. “Mark was my favorite reporter working. In a time when too much journalism is timid or co-opted, Mark personified the whole ‘afflict the comfortable’ tenet of the business. Mark’s passing is a huge loss for journalism at a time when we can least afford it.”

No Small Moves

Pittman spent a year in Rochester, New York, with the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper and 12 years at the Times Herald- Record in Middletown, New York, where he met his second wife, Laura Fahrenthold-Pittman in 1995.

“All I know is we fell in love the moment we met,” Fahrenthold-Pittman said in an interview Friday. “We moved in together a week later. He was as serious about his family life as he was about work. Mark did nothing in a small way.”

Pittman joined Bloomberg News in 1997. In 2007, he was writing about the securitization of home loans when subprime borrowers, who have bad or limited credit histories, began missing payments on their mortgages at a faster pace.

Pittman’s June 29, 2007, article, headlined “S&P, Moody’s Hide Rising Risk on $200 Billion of Mortgage Bonds,” was excoriated at the time by Portfolio.com for “trying to play ‘gotcha’ with the ratings agencies.”

“And that really isn’t helpful,” said the unsigned posting.

Beating the Pack

Pittman’s story proved prescient. So did his reports on U.S. banks exporting toxic mortgages overseas, on Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson’s role in creating those troubled assets while he was chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and on the U.S. bailout of American International Group Inc.

“He’s been on this crisis since before the crisis,” said Gretchen Morgenson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning financial columnist for the New York Times. “He was the best at burrowing into the most complex securities Wall Street could come up with and explaining the implications of them to readers of all levels of sophistication. His investigative work during the crisis set the standard for other reporters everywhere. He was a giant.”

In the “Faustian Bargain” series, Pittman explained how 5 percent of U.S. mortgage borrowers missing monthly payments could lead to a freeze in lending throughout the world.

‘Fearless, Most Trusted’

“Mark Pittman proved to be the most fearless, most trusted reporter on the most important beat during the 12 years he wrote about credit markets, corporate finance and the Federal Reserve at Bloomberg News,” said Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief Matthew Winkler. “His colleagues will miss his laughter and generous sense of mission. Bloomberg readers were rewarded by his many achievements culminating with a federal court ruling validating his search for records of taxpayer-financed policies withheld from the public and the Gerald Loeb Award.”

Public policy would be more effective if reporters, lawmakers and citizens understood how the financial system worked and why the crisis happened, Pittman said in the Feb. 27, 2009, interview with Chittum.

“Hopefully, we will be able to inform the people enough to know how badly we’re getting screwed,” he said with a laugh. “We need to know how to prevent it from happening again, and we need to know who did it.”

Standing 6 feet 4 inches with a booming laugh, a loud telephone voice, and a taste for bourbon, Pittman made lifelong friends on Wall Street, in Congress, in journalism circles and in the artistic community after he and his wife opened an art gallery in Yonkers in 2005.

‘A Great Loss’

“I always learned something new when I spoke with Mark,” said Representative Scott Garrett, a New Jersey Republican on the House Financial Services Committee. “He was dogged in pursuit of the truth. This is a great loss for journalism and for those who relied on Mark for his insight.”

In “American Casino,” the title of which comes from an expression Pittman uses in the documentary, the filmmakers profile subprime borrowers who are losing their homes, mortgage brokers who made loans they knew their customers could never repay and bankers and ratings analysts whose companies profited from the housing boom.

Pittman provides an anchor for the narrative, at one point searching the Bloomberg terminal and finding the mortgage of a Baltimore teacher going through foreclosure inside a security underwritten by Goldman Sachs.

Celebrating Life

“He was a wonderful friend, a seeker of truth, a fighter for right, a proud family man, a big and jovial hand, a lover of food, drink and celebration of life,” said Joshua Rosner, managing director of Graham Fisher & Co., a consulting and analysis firm in New York. “This is a personal loss, a professional loss and a societal loss. He is truly irreplaceable.”

Along with his wife and daughter Maggie, Pittman is survived by daughters Nell, 10, and Susannah, 8, from his second marriage; his father Warren Pittman; mother Donna Pittman- Nealey; and brothers Barry Pittman and Craig Pittman.

“He was so large -- in spirit and in person -- and his passion for his craft was so great, it is impossible to think that it could just end,” said Jeffrey Taylor, Pittman’s editor on the “Faustian Bargain” series.

Bloomberg’s lawsuit against the Fed, which was filed after Pittman’s requests under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act were denied, continues without him. The central bank won a delay pending an appeal, which is scheduled for the week of Jan. 4.

“He was one of the great financial journalists of our time,” said Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and Columbia University professor. “His death is shocking.”

At the time of his death, Pittman’s outgoing messages offered a link to a black-and-white photo of Woody Guthrie. Written on Guthrie’s guitar: “This machine kills fascists.”
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Re: Federal Reserve board is #1 suspect in the assassination of Mark Pittman
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2009, 11:40:58 pm »
Audit Interview: Mark Pittman
“This is a defining moment for business journalism and for Wall Street.”
http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/audit_interview_mark_pittman.php?page=all&print=true
By Ryan Chittum
The Audit — February 27, 2009 08:45 AM

Mark Pittman has been all over this financial crisis.

He was part of a team at Bloomberg News that won the Loeb Award last year for a five-part series on the origins of the crisis called “Wall Street’s Faustian Bargain,” including Pittman’s lead story on how the Street goosed the subprime mortgage market late with financial engineering.
The new standardized contracts they created would allow firms to protect themselves from the risks of subprime mortgages, enable speculators to bet against the U.S. housing market, and help meet demand from institutional investors for the high yields of loans to homeowners with poor credit.

The tools also magnified losses so much that a small number of defaulting subprime borrowers could devastate securities held by banks and pension funds globally, freeze corporate lending, and bring the world’s credit markets to a standstill.


In addition to the Loeb-winning work, Pittman has broken major stories on Goldman Sachs’s interest in the AIG bailout, Hank Paulson’s role in creating the subprime mess, and the ratings agencies inexplicable delays in downgrading mortgage securities, and he’s delved into how Wall Street spread its detritus across the world.

Pittman is a native of Kansas City, graduated from the University of Kansas, and got his first job covering cops at the Coffeyville Journal in southern Kansas, where he was paid so little he had to get a part-time job as a ranch hand across the Oklahoma border in Lenapah. Proving yet again that it really is a small world and journalism is even smaller (and getting smaller every day, as Pittman points out) we discovered to our amazement that my late grandfather Arva Chittum was a good source of Pittman’s back in the early 1980’s in Coffeyville.

He spent twelve years at the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, New York, before joining Bloomberg News in 1997.

We spoke recently about cops, CDO’s, and the crisis.

The Audit: How did you get started at Bloomberg News?

Mark Pittman: That was back when Bloomberg News only had like fifty people in New York. I covered oil in the beginning and then they moved me to covering securities firms. I was covering the Street in 1999 to 2000. There were only two of us covering the whole Street. We didn’t do a very good job as you can imagine. We could barely get the earnings out.

I went on to private equity and corporate finance. I got a wide education. I learned a lot about trading. If you cover the oil markets, those guys know how to trade. They know how to pull the trigger on stuff and back out. That gets in your bones. When you realize how you make money doing that kind of stuff, a lot of other things make sense. I’m not sure that a lot of business journalists get that kind of knowledge.

That’s stuff you just don’t get covering companies or doing profiles. You learn different stuff.

TA: How’d you get onto the crisis story?

MP: I had a conversation with a couple of people in late 2006/early 2007, and people were talking about what’s wrong with asset-backed securities and where all this is headed. I’d also covered derivatives contracts. When they first started doing credit-default swaps on companies, I covered that. That was like ‘99-2000. You could tell it was going to be a really hot thing.

When they started talking about doing derivatives on mortgage-backed securities [a bet against the housing market; this is explained a few lines below], I was like “oh, man, that means the banks are scared!” That was 2006, and we wrote a whole series about this.

You always want to be around the hot story. If you’re not around the hot story, you’re screwed.

TA: So did you go into that pretty much full-time? How’d you convince your editors to let you do that?

MP: You know it really wasn’t hard. They’ve really let me take a lot of chances here, and they’re extremely generous with my time. They recognize it as an important part of the reporting process. They give me a lot of rope. They let me figure stuff out. That’s something that’s in real short supply with a lot of news organizations now. You’ve got to let reporters run and figure out what’s going on.

TA: Not many others have the resources to do much of that nowadays.

MP: Instead of doing the sixth sidebar on a bailout program that probably won’t work anyway, let the person figure out what’s actually happening. And you’ve got to let your people do that.

We did a five-part series [the one that won the Loeb] on the whole idea of why the subprime crisis occurred, and it starts with this story about how a bunch of traders at Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan got together and said “We need a standard contract to be able to short the mortgage market.” As soon as I realized they were going to try and short the mortgage market I said, “Ohhh. That means they think the market is going down.”

TA: And these are the guys who’ve come out pretty okay in this.

MP: You’ll notice UBS and Merrill aren’t in the group. The thing about this entire series of events is this is so complicated and so intertwined that we don’t have —journalists are not qualified to cover the story. We don’t have the background. These guys are doing stuff that you had no idea was happening. The off-balance-sheet accounting stuff is crazy.

TA: Well, if the ex-chairman of the Fed Alan Greenspan, formerly regarded as a near god, didn’t understand what this stuff was, who did? He had access to all the people and all the information he could want.

MP: He had no idea what was going on. How is it possible for them to sell themselves, to an off-balance-sheet entity, risk that is now exploding all over everybody? Why would that be allowed and why would you be able to book a profit on this? Who was in charge of this?

We haven’t got to the bottom of this whole thing yet. Somebody’s going to do this big forensic—and it might be me!—somebody’s going to do the deep dive into how everything happened and they’re going to find out that this system was just on autopilot and was spinning money out to a whole bunch of people. And it included you and me.

TA: In the form of cheap credit?

MP: Yes. The spreads should never have gotten to that level.

This goes back to why AIG is all screwed up. The banks sold AIG all their risk in 2007, when it was really blowing up. AIG had sworn that they weren’t going to do any more of this and then (the banks) restuffed the CDO’s with new stuff. So (AIG) had newer collateral that they weren’t really aware of.

TA: So the banks were stuffing the CDO’s with new stuff but AIG didn’t know they were replacing the stuff?

MP: Right.

TA: An MBS, you can’t move things in or out, but a CDO you can. Are the banks liable for this? AIG got blown up, but these guys knew what they were doing.

MP: You know what, the lawsuits will have to sort that out. And it’s going to be going on for years. It’s going to be just a debacle. Congress is going to have go through and force people to say “Okay, so what did you do with this, and where did it go from here?” They need to have very talented investigators go in and find out what the deal is.

TA: Tell me how your cops background plays into what you’re doing now.

MP: You end up with a big BS detector as a cops reporter because the cops lie to you, the victims lie to you, the people helping the victims lie to you. And you’ve got to sort through and there will be a story that seems a certain way and it just won’t be—and you know it. That’s what this is about.

The reporters who didn’t question the tight, tight spreads [the narrow difference in interest rates offered by Treasury bills and other, less secure instruments] that were going on in corporate [bonds], it was wrong. Where is this demand coming from? How can you guys sell this issue in thirty minutes? Who the hell’s buying this stuff like that? We’re going to come to the answer that it was going off balance sheet, at least temporarily, and then it might be sold to other customers.

TA: So they were buying it themselves and…

MP: They were buying it themselves. Yeah. And not every deal. But you know what—it happened enough. We don’t have enough journalists in America who understand what a spread does, which is the essence of banking. I just finished Dean’s piece in Mother Jones recently. We’ve got 9,000 business journalists and maybe twenty of them know what a spread is. This is not business journalism’s finest hour. But it is our biggest opportunity ever.

TA: How does the Bloomberg terminal inform your reporting or help you find leads?

MP: Well, I’ll give you an example. The first best story that I did about this—I’m gonna brag about this—was in June of ‘07. It said that subprime bonds are failing and they’re failing at an alarming rate, and they’re going up a lot, and they all need to be downgraded. The ratings companies aren’t following their own criteria for what makes a bond a certain rating. I did that through data that’s available on the Bloomberg. We’ve got a function called DQRP, which gives you delinquency reports on every RMBS, dividing it up by category. So you can pick the worst bonds with the worst stuff and you can divide it up by rating—all kinds of sorting. Nobody has that but us.

TA: I didn’t even know that capability was out there.

MP: Hell yes, man. And it works. Then you can pull up each individual bond and you’ve got a complete description of its geographic reach—how much is in California, all kinds of great stuff. What a weapon! And if you know how to use it, it works pretty well.

TA: So what’s your prescription for business journalists? What do they need to know and do? Not everybody’s going to have a $20,000 a year Bloomberg terminal to play with.

MP: Hardly anyone has a Bloomberg machine and the ones that do don’t know how to use it.

But you know what? The government needs to make this kind of data much more publicly available than it is now. We purchase a lot of this. But, for instance, a lot of the bond deals were (not subject to disclosure). And all the CDO’s were private placements. We know why—because they placed them with themselves. The number of secret deals going bad is astounding, it’s probably 90 percent of them were secret deals.

TA: Bloomberg’s got a ton of people on bonds, but I’ve said before that a part of why the business press failed here was that it has so many times more people covering equities than debt. And debt markets are many, many times the size of the equity markets. That’s kind of a major problem right there, right?

MP: It is huge. Most reporters, it’s shocking how few of them actually understand the difference between price and yield. Hardly any business journalist actually covers the financing. If you cover a company and all of a sudden their borrowing costs go from 100 (basis points) over to 250 or 300 over [meaning investors believe the risk has increased substantially], and no one asks a question. There’s a problem there when that happens and nobody asks a question. I think we have training issues in a huge way in our profession. We brought a knife to a gunfight.

TA: Does there need to be regulation just to simplify things to where it makes sense to more people?

MP: If it was all transparent the complexity wouldn’t matter. If the CDO market had had publicly available prospectuses with the contents of the CDO disclosed, we wouldn’t have this issue, because Bloomberg probably would have made fun of anybody who bought anything like this. But there was this enormous shadow banking system going on. We did a series about that, too. A lot of times people don’t see what we do.

TA: That’s one of the problems I’ve noticed. We’ve consciously tried at The Audit to make sure people are reading your stuff. I don’t think it’s become a habit for a lot of people even in the biz to go over to Bloomberg.

MP: It kinda bums you out, because you want to do things that have big (impact) because that’s why you’re in the business. And public policy would work a lot better if they actually understood what the hell was going on.

TA: Like adding up the total number of trillions that the government is on the hook for in this bailout. Nobody else is doing that but you. Why not?

MP: Because it’s a big pain. You start off with whatever you can remember off the top of your head—oh, they’re doing this, they’re doing that—you start writing it down on a piece of paper and you go “Wow, this is real money.” It starts adding up.

The thing that people don’t realize is that the Fed is now the “bad bank.” That’s just something that people don’t understand. They’ve taken collateral, and they refuse to tell us how they valued it…

We have numerous banks— dozens, maybe hundreds that are insolvent. And they become more insolvent every day because more people quit paying their mortgage loans, and more guys move out of the shopping center, and more people quit paying their credit cards. But nobody wants to have the adult conversation…We need to be honest about what the problem is here, how big it is, and how we’re going forward to clean it up, and who’s going to pay for it.

TA: Basically the charade that’s going on here is that they haven’t marked these assets down yet because that would show they’re insolvent.

MP: But a lot of [the assets] have gone to the Fed, though, as collateral for loans. They’re still on their balance sheet, but you borrowed against them. We don’t know if those are cracked CDO’s or prime RMBS…

TA: That’s what you guys are suing (the Federal Reserve) for—to find out what the collateral is.

MP: Yeah, and that’s the secret part of the story that nobody wants to let you know.

TA: Because it’s worth pennies on the dollar or dimes on the dollar.

MP: Yeah, and then everybody’s going to go “Oh my God, we’re lending ninety cents on something that’s worth twenty or thirty?”

TA: They say they don’t want to disclose it because it would interfere with the markets, is that right?

MP: Their basic argument is this would cause chaos, and they’re probably right. But that doesn’t mean that the American taxpayer ought to be on the hook for this.

TA: Why would it cause chaos?

MP: Because people would realize that we’re lending eighty cents on the dollar for something that’s worth twenty cents.

TA: So political chaos?

MP: And maybe market chaos, too. Well, you know the market’s probably pretty savvy about this thing, and everybody knows what’s going on but we just haven’t communicated with the public. When you say “political chaos” you might well be right. That may be what it was. Congress is going to go “We’re lending this much money on this Triple-C security? What are we thinking here?”

TA: One thing I really like about you guys is in your reporting and writing, you have a sense of outrage that’s not in the Journal, say. This thing is so huge, and you guys are conveying the magnitude of it better than some, and there’s a sense of urgency that’s lacking elsewhere. Is this a conscious thing in the newsroom?

MP: We have been primary movers for transparency in markets since our existence. Bloomberg’s reason for being was to give the buy side enough tools so they wouldn’t get screwed by the investment banks. That’s what we’re about. So we’re a weapon for the buy side and a de facto weapon for every one who has a mutual fund. We just need to level the playing field and let everybody know what’s going on. This is from Matt Winkler on down. This is what we do.

It’s also that we realize this is a defining moment for business journalism and for Wall Street. I think that this organization, this news department, was built for this crisis. We’ve got more tools than anybody, we’ve got the will, we have the assets to go after this in a huge way. Everybody believes that in this room.

Hopefully, we will be able to inform the people enough to know how badly we’re getting screwed (laughs). We need to know how to prevent it from happening again, and we need to know who did it. There’s renewed energy on this front because we’ve staffed up the people who cover banks, the securities firms. We have a lot more people going at real estate and a bunch of different areas that this involves. That was a conscious move from meetings we started having in 2007. We hired people and we moved people from one area to another area.

Our issue is we have readers who are very interested in very small things. That’s why they have the terminal. It’s because they’re interested in natural gas or things that aren’t connected with the biggest story in twenty years, maybe longer. This is a big deal and it’s going to be going on—I swear to God I’m going to retire on this story, because it’s just going to keep happening.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

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Re: Federal Reserve board is #1 suspect in the assassination of Mark Pittman
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2009, 11:43:35 pm »
Mark Pittman to Speak about Freedom of Information
http://yaleisp.org/2009/10/mark-pittman-to-speak-about-freedom-of-information/
by Laura DeNardis | October 12, 2009

You are cordially invited to join us Tuesday, October 13, to hear Mark Pittman of Bloomberg News speaking about “Busting the American Casino: How Freedom of Information Can Tame the Federal Reserve.”  The event will take place in Room 121 of Yale Law School at 4:10 p.m. Refreshments will be served.  Pittman will speak about filing a Freedom of Information Claim against the Federal Reserve for failing to identify the companies in its emergency lending programs, the amounts of the loans, or the assets banks put up as collateral.  This event is co-sponsored with Yale Law School’s Center for the Study of Corporate Law.

Pittman features prominently in the acclaimed film “American Casino,” which explores the origins of the financial crisis.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

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Re: Federal Reserve board is #1 suspect in the assassination of Mark Pittman
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2009, 11:46:03 pm »
"The Fed’s Secret Money and the Media Cover-Up"
http://coyoteprime-runningcauseicantfly.blogspot.com/2009/09/greg-hunter-feds-secret-money-and-media.html
By Greg Hunter Sunday, September 20, 2009

"HR 1207 is a bill, first sponsored by Congressman Ron Paul in the U.S. House of Representatives, that will audit the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve has never been audited in it’s 96 year history. Contrary to popular belief, the Fed is not an arm of the U.S. Government but a subcontractor for monetary policy. It is the Fed that also produces the money in your pocket, thus the term Federal Reserve Note. The Bill, as of September 16, has 289 co-sponsors in Congress. If the Bill is signed into law, the Fed will be forced to open its books and show how clandestine policy decisions are made.

Some of the questions Congress wants answered are: Why did the Fed give foreign banks 500 billion dollars during the financial meltdown last year? What are the names of the all the banks, both foreign and domestic that got bailed out, and how much money did each bank get? Why was AIG bailed out and not Lehman Brothers? The Fed has spent or committed trillions of dollars; where did the money go? These are just a few of the secrets the Fed is keeping from American taxpayers. H.R. 1207 will receive a hearing in the House Committee on Financial Services towards the end of September. Representative Alan Grayson of Florida’s 8th Congressional District has been a staunch advocate of the Bill. Listen as Rep. Grayson announces the hearing on H.R. 1207, also known as "The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009."

I also have some questions for the mainstream media. Why is a story with trillions of dollars in secret bailout money not being covered? As a former investigative correspondent for both ABC and CNN, I know what makes a good legitimate story that will hold up to scrutiny. This is a very big legitimate story with profound implications for every American!

Just last month, the Fed lost a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in Federal Court: ”Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve must for the first time identify the companies in its emergency lending programs after losing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit….The judge said the central bank “improperly withheld agency records” by “conducting an inadequate search” after Bloomberg News reporters filed a request under the information act. She gave the Fed five days to turn over documents it told the reporters it located, including 231 pages of reports, and said it must look for more at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which runs most of the loan programs…Banks are worried that the disclosure of borrowers’ identities by the Fed, the lender of last resort, would cause customers to empty their bank accounts in a run on the bank, said Scott Talbott, vice president of governmental affairs at the Washington-based 'Financial Services Roundtable,' a lobbying group.”

The Fed has indicated it plans to appeal the case and has until the end of September to do so. Meanwhile, the biggest story in the financial history of the country is being ignored by the press. Maybe this is part of the reason the news media’s credibility rating sank to a new all time low in a recent Pew Research Center poll."
- Greg Hunter, http://usawatchdog.com/the-feds-secret-money-and-the-media-cover-up/

A Comment: Present company, Mr. Hunter, excluded, you won't find a better description of todays so-called "journalists" than this:

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."
- John Swinton, 1913

Oh yeah, "fair and balanced..."
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

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Re: Federal Reserve board is #1 suspect in the assassination of Mark Pittman
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2009, 11:47:20 pm »
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

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Re: Federal Reserve board is #1 suspect in the assassination of Mark Pittman
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2009, 11:48:39 pm »
We All Lost
http://www.americancasinothemovie.com/synopsis
“I don’t think most people really understood that they were in a casino” says award-winning financial reporter Mark Pittman.  “When you’re in the Street’s casino, you’ve got to play by their rules.”  This film finally explains how and why over $12 trillion of our money  vanished into the American Casino.

For chips, the casino used real people, like the ones  we meet in Baltimore.  These are not the heedless spendthrifts of Wall Street legend, but a high school teacher, a therapist, a minister of the church.  They were sold on the American Dream as a safe investment.  Too late, they discovered the truth.    Cruelly, as African – Americans, they and other minorities  were the prime targets for the subprime loans that powered the casino. According to the Federal Reserve, African-Americans were four times more likely than whites to be sold subprime loans.



“American Casino is a powerful and shocking look at the subprime lending scandal. If you want to understand how the US financial system failed and how mortgage companies ripped off the poor, see this film.”
Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel prize-winning economist


“FASCINATING! A TERRIFIC documentary chronicling the subprime-mortgage mess and the financial collapse of the past two years…
With a rare cohesive power, the Cockburns fill in the lines of connection. They function a little like Raymond Chandler as he traces the corruption that produces, at the end of a long chain of circumstances, the lady in the lake…
The movie is a lucid and comprehensive picture of a rotten system.”
David Denby, The New Yorker


“sensationally effective”
New York Magazine


“Politicians and the media like to talk about the relationship between Wall Street and Main Street, but investigative journalist Leslie Cockburn’s debut feature gets to the guts of the matter, visiting defectors from Bear Stearns and Standard & Poor’s and other high-level players in the subprime mortgage gamble and, on the flipside, visiting the working-class Americans who were the unwitting chips on the table.”
— Tribeca Festival programmers 2009   


“It is rare that a documentary director has the privilege to shoot a film that, while in production, becomes the greatest story of our time.   The “worst case scenario”  of January 2008, when we began work on American Casino, turned into reality in the year that followed. We were able to follow our characters through Wall Street’s collapse, foreclosure, bankruptcy, homelessness. We watched whole neighborhoods ravaged by the subprime meltdown. I have spent much of my career filming in war zones and post apocalyptic societies — Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan. But I never expected such a disaster at home. To be there, with a camera, while it was happening, telling the story, was certainly the highlight of my career.”


— Leslie Cockburn, Director
We meet the players.  A banker explains that the complex securities he  designed were “fourth dimensional” and sold to “idiots.”  A senior Wall Street ratings agency executive describes being ordered to “guess” the worth of billion dollar securities. A mortgage loan salesman explains how borrowers’ incomes were inflated to justify a loan.  A billionaire describes how he made a massive bet that people would lose their homes and has won $500 million, so far.


Finally, as the global financial system crumbles and outraged but impotent lawmakers fume at Wall Street titans, we see the casino’s endgame: Riverside, California a foreclosure wasteland given over to colonies of rats and methamphetamine labs, where disease-bearing mosquitoes breed in their millions on  the stagnant swimming pools of yesterday’s dreams.

Filmed over twelve months in 2008, American Casino takes you inside a game that our grandchildren never wanted to play.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Dig

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Re: Federal Reserve board is #1 suspect in the assassination of Mark Pittman
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2009, 11:49:50 pm »
Hm......how come no one seems to know what he died of ?

because he was assassinated like the CEO  of Rockefeller Corp. and the CFO of Freddie Mac.

Project Mockingbird will make sure the truth never gets out.

FBI/NRO/NSA/SS/CIA/DHS...Aren't you sick of seeing all these American Patriots getting executed because a handful of bean counters want to continue the genocide, theft, corruption, narco-distribution, and demoralization of this very country?
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline trailhound

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Re: Federal Reserve board is #1 suspect in the assassination of Mark Pittman
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2009, 11:59:19 pm »
Sane
Quote
FBI/NRO/NSA/SS/CIA/DHS...Aren't you sick of seeing all these American Patriots getting executed because a handful of bean counters want to continue the genocide, theft, corruption, narco-distribution, and demoralization of this very country?

 Yes, it is disgusting.

The precise cause of his death wasn’t known, said his friend William Karesh, vice president of the Global Health Program at the Bronx, New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

"Do not let your hatred of a people incite you to aggression." Qur'an 5:2
At the heart of that Western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man, the child of God, is the touchstone of value..." -RFK

Offline Dig

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Re: Federal Reserve board is #1 suspect in the assassination of Mark Pittman
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2009, 12:19:13 am »

  I linked back to the article you posted... Is this revision in real time? Check it out..... >:(

 This one claims he had heart problems yet I can find no record of it.


Mark Pittman, Reporter Who Foresaw Crisis, Dies at 52 (Update1)
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By Bob Ivry

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Mark Pittman, the award-winning investigative reporter whose fight to open the Federal Reserve to more scrutiny led Bloomberg News to sue the central bank and win, died Nov. 25 in Yonkers, New York. He was 52.

Pittman suffered from heart-related illnesses. The precise cause of his death wasn’t known, said his friend William Karesh, vice president of the Global Health Program at the Bronx, New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

i revised it, that sentence is completely out of place.  it is there to set some ground work for BS, ken lay died of heart attack bullshit.

think about the sentence:

Pittman suffered from heart-related illnesses.

WTF?  That is like 50% of the country.

Look at this:

died Nov. 25 in Yonkers, New York.

That is 2-3 days ago, wtf?

This is the first article that came out about it. No information at all, the guy was fricking executed.

Not even Wellstone type assassination or RFK type assassination or even Ken Lay type publicity.

2 - 3 days later we get just that he died of unknown reasons and then the editor has to add the line: Pittman suffered from heart-related illnesses.

All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Dig

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Re: Federal Reserve board is #1 suspect in the assassination of Mark Pittman
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2009, 12:54:01 am »
'American Casino': Film on financial meltdown
http://www.sfchronicle.us/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/08/20/NSJ3197TVS.DTL&type=printable
G. Allen Johnson`
Thursday, August 20, 2009
 

So are we getting out of this economic mess?

"With difficulty," film producer Andrew Cockburn said.

"I think right now it's kind of perceptive because you have this notion, 'great, it's over,' director Leslie Cockburn said by phone. "But there are some really important areas where it's still unwinding - for example, commercial real estate, which is in real dire straits. These things have to unwind before this recession is really over."

The Cockburns believe the lessons from last year's Wall Street meltdown need to be learned.

So they've made a film, "American Casino," which shows how the financial meltdown happened, and especially how it has affected a segment of the population that is largely made up of poor minorities.

The movie focuses on a financial reporter, Wall Street players, and three formerly upstanding members of a Baltimore community who have become either homeless or bankrupt because they've fallen victim to predatory loan practices.

Banks, mortgage and financial firms gambled with money they didn't have, inducing Americans who had always dreamed of owning a home, but did not have the means, to do so. Subprime mortgages were an invention of Wall Street, in need of investing capital. They pushed for deregulation earlier in the decade and targeted minorities and the poor with dream-come-true interest rates and monthly payments, only to see those dreams shatter when the fine print kicked in and the monthly payments skyrocketed.

Minorities were 3.8 times more likely to be approved for a subprime loan, and the fact that many of them defaulted on their mortgages was to be expected. But by then, many in the financial sector had made a killing off their repackaged loans.

"So far, some of the key points for regulation haven't been fixed," Leslie Cockburn said. "And it's kind of disturbing that you have a lot of people in the (Obama) administration that some years ago were part of the problem. You'd have to hope that Larry Summers, who was very much against regulation in 1998, has changed his tune, and he really believes in making corrections."

Leslie Cockburn grew up in the Bay Area and was a producer for CBS News, ABC News and the George Clooney-Nicole Kidman thriller "The Peacemaker." Andrew, her British-born husband, is also a veteran producer; together they've made several documentaries for PBS' "Frontline."

They said they made "American Casino" because the financial meltdown is such a complicated issue it can't be covered in news segments.

"The most gratifying thing is people have said, 'We understand it now,' " Leslie Cockburn said. "Even though we've had this blizzard of news stories on this, a lot of the pieces are short and you really need 89 minutes to understand what happened to us."
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

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Re: Federal Reserve board is #1 suspect in the assassination of Mark Pittman
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2009, 12:55:09 am »
Cog in the Slot Machine: American Casino
http://www.thehousenextdooronline.com/2009/09/cog-in-slot-machine-american-casino.html
By Lauren Wissot

[American Casino opens tomorrow at Film Forum in Manhattan. Click here for screening information. For additional theaters and release dates, see here.]

Newbie filmmakers Leslie and Andrew Cockburn, the director/producer/writer and producer/writer, respectively, behind the doc American Casino—which attempts to uncover the heart of darkness lurking inside the subprime mortgage meltdown that’s made "foreclosure" a household word—have been in-the-trenches journalists for nearly three decades. The husband and wife team have resumes boasting investigative reporting for the likes of Frontline and 60 Minutes, and it shows. I don’t mean that as a compliment. For while interviewing dictators and covert ops officers may make for great TV programming it does nothing to prepare one for the story sustainability required in long-form filmmaking.

The Cockburns take a scattershot approach to their subject, talking to anyone and everyone touched by the financial fiasco, from bland suit financial reporter Mark Pittman to “The Man in Shadow,” a Bear Sterns specialist who, when asked who was buying some of the nonsensical securities he was hawking, answers "Idiots." (Why the filmmakers chose to cut directly thereafter to a shot of singing church congregants in a black community where foreclosure is rampant is a mystery only they can explain.)

Then there’s good guy Denzel Mitchell, a Baltimore social studies teacher who, we’re told via title card, filed for bankruptcy the morning of the interview. He's trotted out to add a human element to the overabundant images of stock tickers and computer screens. Pittman refers to Mitchell as an innocent “chip” in Wall Street’s casino, but the term could just as easily have been applied to his role in The Cockburns’ film. Who wouldn’t root for a public high school teacher and father that gardens and composts in his backyard over the big bad bulls of Wall Street who literally hide in the shadows? American Casino is not only predictable in its "cut to Baltimore’s foreclosed homes then cue hip-hop" approach. It’s also about as nuanced as the stark red and black of a roulette wheel.

Besides, a roulette wheel is certainly more cinematic and more thrilling to watch. From shots of talking heads sitting in offices (often pointing out obscure numbers on their PCs), to the use of title cards, to footage of senators asking the usual questions at hearings, American Casino would seem more suited to print than to a visual medium like film. (Indeed, the information presented is often so dense and detailed that it practically begs for the slow-moving meticulousness of print.) But then most of the information The Cockburns present, from the banks’ targeting of minority communities to the current Treasury Secretary’s ties to Goldman Sachs, has already been exposed exhaustively in magazine and newspaper articles, not to mention in TV news magazines. The film isn’t telling us anything new and groundbreaking as did Alex Gibney’s Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, which also happened to include a cast of engaging, larger-than-life characters seemingly made for the big screen.

Not incidentally, that film was based on a book by Enron's own screenwriters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, which gave the director a strong cohesive storyline to focus on and to sink his teeth deep into. In contrast the American Casino team appears to be taking small bites of whatever comes their way, assuming that simply showing greed, hubris and its consequences is enough to warrant a feature film. (Though the weird choice to interview some random guy from the Northwest Mosquito Vector Control District, who expounds on West Nile virus, meth labs and marijuana farms, has the makings of an episode of Dirty Jobs.) In fact, it’s almost a full hour before the filmmakers interview the woman who should have been their main character: Patricia McNair, an elegant black grandma and mental health professional in a battle to keep her home.

She’s the only interviewee to address the elephant in the room alluded to by another Baltimorean who claims to have lost everything to foreclosure, including her very "identity." Why on earth would so many people stake their very souls on a piece of property? Isn’t this the mentality that got us into this mess in the first place, regardless of race or class? Isn’t American homeownership as a symbol of an individual’s worth the real con? McNair thoughtfully addresses the global complexity of the situation she’s found herself in, and is able to connect her plight to, as she says, some "village in Denmark." In other words, she sees the bigger picture. Now if only someone had thought to stick McNair behind the lens.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

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Re: Federal Reserve board is #1 suspect in the assassination of Mark Pittman
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2009, 12:56:11 am »
Out of the Shadows
“American Casino” and “The Most Dangerous Man in America.”
http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2009/09/07/090907crci_cinema_denby?printable=true
by David Denby
September 7, 2009


Leslie and Andrew Cockburn’s film looks at the social ecology of financial meltdown.


The movies are still one of the best ways of giving body, flavor, and emotion to the abstractions and puzzlements of an enormous crisis. In the most fascinating scenes in “American Casino”—a terrific documentary chronicling the subprime-mortgage mess and the financial collapse of the past two years—a former banker for Bear Stearns sits in the dark, his face shadowed and his voice (I believe) slightly altered. We might be watching a retired criminal or spy, a man both proud of his dexterity and ashamed of the disaster that it led to. Out of the shadows, he explains how such bizarre instruments as collateralized debt obligations (C.D.O.s) quieted the normal skepticism of investors. Here’s the drill: when the bank assembled a group of mortgage-backed bonds as an investment product, it submitted them to a ratings agency. But the agency, rather than run its own computer models on the trustworthiness of such bonds, he says, merely handed the job back to the bank, which ran its models. Having received a fee of perhaps a hundred thousand dollars for not doing anything, the agency then signed off on the phony ratings.

You can read about a scam like that in a newspaper and be surprised, but when the perpetrator actually explains it to you your reaction falls somewhere between nausea and hilarity. It’s as if the Russian Mafia had paid a Colombian drug cartel to certify its integrity. The banker, apparently still a young man, grows more chagrined as he digs further into absurdity. The debt obligation, thus packaged and affirmed, was divided into tranches—bonds rated from an inflated AAA at the top to worthless at the bottom. The bank then took one of the lower sets of tranches, consisting, say, of BBB bonds, repackaged them as a new instrument, and magically rated perhaps eighty per cent of them AAA. In a final twist, some of the lowest tranches from this new instrument were spun into still another product, and once again some of the lower tranches were upgraded. This final iteration of the product—based on ratings that had passed through three degrees of fakery—was known in house as a “C.D.O. squared.” By now, the underlying assets were leveraged, the Shadow says, at a thousand to one, maybe even ten thousand to one. “Who was buying those C.D.O.s squared?” an interviewer asks. “Idiots,” comes the reply from the dark.

Idiocy is a great subject for comedy but a depressing and rarely instructive one for drama and documentary, and yet, as everybody in “American Casino” keeps telling us, we all got caught up in this stuff, as homeowners or as taxpayers financing a bailout; even if we didn’t initiate it, the idiocy enveloped our lives. The movie was put together by the husband-and-wife team of Leslie (director and writer) and Andrew (writer) Cockburn, veterans of many documentaries on war and nuclear proliferation. The Cockburns have finally made a movie about a nuclear disaster that actually happened—their subject is the social ecology of financial meltdown. They filmed interviews with bankers, business commentators, and homeowners battling foreclosure, but they go much further than talking heads. They pull together sorrowful footage of stable neighborhoods—both prosperous and working-class—slipping into dereliction, with junk-laden yards, boarded-up doorways, squatters taking control of abandoned houses and charging rent to the homeless. What happened at Bear Stearns or at Goldman Sachs affected the mosquito levels in Riverside County, California (the insects breed with special fecundity in abandoned swimming pools). With a rare cohesive power, the Cockburns fill in the lines of connection. They function a little like Raymond Chandler as he traces the corruption that produces, at the end of a long chain of circumstances, the lady in the lake. A genial Baltimore man named Denzel Mitchell, a social-studies teacher, is interviewed on the day he declared bankruptcy, and, on this same day, we see his house auctioned off (in a dead market, there is only one prospective buyer) on the steps of a Baltimore courthouse. Later in the movie, the financial reporter Mark Pittman, a sleuth sifting through Bloomberg screens, finds the C.D.O., issued by Goldman, in which Mitchell’s mortgage has been dumped into a pool of assets. Everything is connected: the movie embodies chaos theory for social pessimists.

The big picture is held together for us by Michael Greenberger, the director of trading and markets at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the Clinton Administration. Greenberger, a talented explainer, charts the development of more and more complicated and preposterous instruments, ending with credit-default swaps. As he reaches the climax of his tale—the collapse of the banks and the insurance companies—rage and amusement battle for control of his face. His passionate exposition gives us the strongest emotional release we get from the material. It’s a little hard to know what to make of the eloquent sorrows of an African-American therapist in Baltimore who can’t meet her mortgage payments and eventually loses her house. The Cockburns don’t make it clear whether she was taken in by predatory lenders, who (as a variety of people explain) targeted minority groups and falsified income statements in order to grant unqualified people loans, or whether she simply miscalculated the amount of money that she had available to make her payments. When the Cockburns turn to victims, they absolve them of responsibility for their troubles, which seems no better than a partial truth. After a while, one looks for straightforward citizenly virtue, and one finds it in the people who are left cleaning up the mess: the mortgage counsellors in Baltimore who try to help people climb out of trouble; the city official who mournfully boards up houses; the very matter-of-fact guy who controls the mosquito population before the insects spread disease. When the recovery comes, all those people will still be there, without acclaim, helping ruined neighborhoods spring back to life. The movie is a lucid and comprehensive picture of a rotten system, but it’s a relief to know that some people in the midst of disaster were doing their jobs.


On August 4, 1964, the first day of his employment in Robert S. McNamara’s Department of Defense, Daniel Ellsberg received cables describing an attack on American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. The American commander in the gulf cast doubt on the report a few hours later, and within days it was clear that no such attack had taken place. Yet President Lyndon B. Johnson used the event to persuade Congress to pass the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which was the overt beginning of an American commitment that lasted eleven years. Ellsberg had been a Marine officer in the fifties and then an employee of the Rand Corporation, a military think tank; he was a fervent cold warrior. In 1966, eager to see how the war was going, he led an infantry company as a civilian in the Northern Mekong Delta. Out on point with several other men, he suddenly came under fire from some Vietcong who had been hiding in the water alongside the company, and were now behind him. He and his men couldn’t fire on the Vietnamese without possibly hitting Americans farther back in the column. As a result of that incident and many other small instances of Vietcong daring, he realized that the war couldn’t be won and that he had to do something about stopping it.

“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” (opening September 16th) dramatizes a kind of secular spiritual journey—from warrior to anti-warrior, from analyst to activist, from patriot to “traitor.” Ellsberg himself, now in his late seventies, describes the stages of this transformation with his usual precision and ardor, and the filmmakers, Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith, fill in events with news footage and rather hokey re-creations of Ellsberg’s actions (a man in shadow speaking into a telephone, etc.). As a young man, Ellsberg, with Paul Newman blue eyes and a slight touch of mischief beneath the grave exterior, was so attractive that he made sobriety seem charismatic. The movie is an act of hero worship, but it inadvertently suggests that, without a necessary touch of grandiosity, Ellsberg might never have acted as bravely as he did. The top-secret Pentagon Papers, which he released to the Times, in 1971, did not, in fact, contain current military secrets—the papers were an extended history of America’s involvement in Vietnam, revealing that various Administrations had lied to the public about what they were doing. In the movie’s juiciest moments, we hear excerpts from Richard Nixon’s reaction to Ellsberg (taped in the Oval Office), which display the President at his low-minded and vicious worst. The movie sets the two of them up as opponents, and implies that Ellsberg won the contest—that he was the force that caused Nixon to implode in Watergate and the war finally to end. That may be giving Ellsberg more credit than is due, but it’s good to hear that gravelly, meticulous voice again explain why he could not absolve himself of responsibility for anything that he had done in his life. How many powerful men think that way? ♦
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline StemCell

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Bloomberg reporter who sued the Fed has died
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2009, 12:45:28 pm »
 http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=afp8OC.OvRnI&pos=12

Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Mark Pittman, the award-winning investigative reporter whose fight to open the Federal Reserve to more scrutiny led Bloomberg News to sue the central bank and win, died Nov. 25 in Yonkers, New York. He was 52.

Pittman suffered from heart-related illnesses. The precise cause of his death wasn’t known, said his friend William Karesh, vice president of the Global Health Program at the Bronx, New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

A former police-beat reporter who joined Bloomberg News in 1997, Pittman wrote stories in 2007 predicting the collapse of the banking system. That year, he won the Gerald Loeb Award from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, the highest accolade in financial journalism, for “Wall Street’s Faustian Bargain,” a series of articles on the breakdown of the U.S. mortgage industry.

“He was one of the great financial journalists of our time,” said Joseph Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University in New York and the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for economics. “His death is shocking.”

Pittman’s fight to make the Fed more accountable resulted in an Aug. 24 victory in Manhattan Federal Court affirming the public’s right to know about the central bank’s more than $2 trillion in loans to financial firms. He drew the attention of filmmakers Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, who gave him a prominent role in their documentary about subprime mortgages, “American Casino,” which was shown at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival in May.

‘One Reporter’

“Who sues the Fed? One reporter on the planet,” said Emma Moody, a Wall Street Journal editor who worked with Pittman at Bloomberg. “The more complex the issue, the more he wanted to dig into it. Years ago, he forced us to learn what a credit- default swap was. He dragged us kicking and screaming.”

James Mark Pittman was born Oct. 25, 1957, in Kansas City, Kansas, where he played linebacker on the high school football team. He took engineering classes at the University of Kansas in Lawrence before graduating with a degree in journalism in 1981. He was married soon after and had a daughter, Maggie, in 1983. The marriage ended in divorce.

Pittman’s first reporting job, covering the police department for the Coffeyville Journal in southern Kansas, paid so little he took a part-time job as a ranch hand across the Oklahoma border in Lenapah, according to an interview he gave to Ryan Chittum for the Columbia Journalism Review’s The Audit, a watchdog for the business press.

‘Huge Personality’

“What a funny guy -- huge personality,” Chittum said in an e-mail message. “Mark was my favorite reporter working. In a time when too much journalism is timid or co-opted, Mark personified the whole ‘afflict the comfortable’ tenet of the business. Mark’s passing is a huge loss for journalism at a time when we can least afford it.”

Pittman spent a year in Rochester, New York, with the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper and 12 years at the Times Herald- Record in Middletown, New York, where he met his second wife, Laura Fahrenthold-Pittman in 1995.

“All I know is we fell in love the moment we met,” Fahrenthold-Pittman said in an interview Friday. “We moved in together a week later. He was as serious about his family life as he was about work. Mark did nothing in a small way.”

Pittman joined Bloomberg News in 1997. In 2007, he was writing about the securitization of home loans when subprime borrowers, who have bad or limited credit histories, began missing payments on their mortgages at a faster pace.

S&P, Moody’s

His June 29, 2007, article, headlined “S&P, Moody’s Hide Rising Risk on $200 Billion of Mortgage Bonds,” was excoriated at the time by Portfolio.com for “trying to play ‘gotcha’ with the ratings agencies.”

“And that really isn’t helpful,” said the unsigned posting.

Pittman’s story proved prescient. So did his reports on U.S. banks exporting toxic mortgages overseas, on Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson’s role in creating those troubled assets while he was chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and on the U.S. bailout of American International Group Inc.

“He’s been on this crisis since before the crisis,” said Gretchen Morgenson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning financial columnist for the New York Times. “He was the best at burrowing into the most complex securities Wall Street could come up with and explaining the implications of them to readers of all levels of sophistication. His investigative work during the crisis set the standard for other reporters everywhere. He was a giant.”

‘Fearless, Trusted’

In the “Faustian Bargain” series, Pittman explained how 5 percent of U.S. mortgage borrowers missing monthly payments could lead to a freeze in lending throughout the world.

“Mark Pittman proved to be the most fearless, most trusted reporter on the most important beat during the 12 years he wrote about credit markets, corporate finance and the Federal Reserve at Bloomberg News,” said Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief Matthew Winkler. “His colleagues will miss his laughter and generous sense of mission. Bloomberg readers were rewarded by his many achievements culminating with a federal court ruling validating his search for records of taxpayer-financed policies withheld from the public and the Gerald Loeb Award.”

Public policy would be more effective if reporters, lawmakers and citizens understood how the financial system worked and why the crisis happened, Pittman said in the Feb. 27, 2009, interview with Chittum.

“Hopefully, we will be able to inform the people enough to know how badly we’re getting screwed,” he said with a laugh. “We need to know how to prevent it from happening again, and we need to know who did it.”

Booming Laugh, Bourbon

Standing 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 meters) with a booming laugh, a loud telephone voice and a taste for bourbon, Pittman made lifelong friends on Wall Street, in Congress, in journalism circles and in the artistic community after he and his wife opened an art gallery in Yonkers in 2005.

“I always learned something new when I spoke with Mark,” said Representative Scott Garrett, a New Jersey Republican on the House Financial Services Committee. “He was dogged in pursuit of the truth. This is a great loss for journalism and for those who relied on Mark for his insight.”

In “American Casino,” the title of which comes from an expression Pittman uses in the documentary, the filmmakers profile subprime borrowers who are losing their homes, mortgage brokers who made loans they knew their customers could never repay and bankers and ratings analysts whose companies profited from the housing boom.

Celebrating Life

Pittman provides an anchor for the narrative, at one point searching the Bloomberg terminal and finding the mortgage of a Baltimore teacher going through foreclosure inside a security underwritten by Goldman Sachs.

“He was a wonderful friend, a seeker of truth, a fighter for right, a proud family man, a big and jovial hand, a lover of food, drink and celebration of life,” said Joshua Rosner, managing director of Graham Fisher & Co., a consulting and analysis firm in New York. “This is a personal loss, a professional loss and a societal loss. He is truly irreplaceable.”

Along with his wife and daughter Maggie, Pittman is survived by daughters Nell, 10, and Susannah, 8, from his second marriage; his father Warren Pittman; mother Donna Pittman- Nealey; and brothers Barry Pittman and Craig Pittman.

“He was so large -- in spirit and in person -- and his passion for his craft was so great, it is impossible to think that it could just end,” said Jeffrey Taylor, Pittman’s editor on the “Faustian Bargain” series.

Bloomberg’s lawsuit against the Fed, which was filed after Pittman’s requests under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act were denied, continues without him. The central bank won a delay pending an appeal, which is scheduled for the week of Jan. 4.

At the time of his death, Pittman’s outgoing messages offered a link to a black-and-white photo of Woody Guthrie. Written on Guthrie’s guitar: “This machine kills fascists.”

Offline chrisfromchi

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Re: Bloomberg reporter who sued the Fed has died
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2009, 12:47:43 pm »
WTF?

Offline stella

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Re: Bloomberg reporter who sued the Fed has died
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2009, 08:07:30 am »
At the time of his death, Pittman’s outgoing messages offered a link to a black-and-white photo of Woody Guthrie. Written on Guthrie’s guitar: “This machine kills fascists.”

That was weirdly and randomly stuck in at the end there.

Offline Dig

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Re: Bloomberg reporter who sued the Fed has died
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2009, 08:52:45 am »
That was weirdly and randomly stuck in at the end there.

Not random, it was honoring the fallen.

Woody Guthrie (and then his son Arlo) helped bring back the foundation of America during a time of unspeakable genocide in the Dust Bowl caused by the banksters of the day. Through his guitar he effectively allowed America to see her true beauty which is the beauty of humanity, justice, freedom, and equality. Here are some references to understand Woody and the work he did during some of the darkest hours:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woody_Guthrie
http://hubpages.com/hub/Bound_for_Glory_the_Woody_Guthrie_film

Pittman worked for Bloomberg, it is my belief they added that sentence at the end to pay respects for what Pittman's work will eventually mean for our great country and for humanity. May Pittman rest in peace and may his communications be undertood by all of us such that we can bring to justice the madmen and prevent their strategies from ever deceiving us again.



Here is a truther's film that woke me up to a new level. It showed me how psychopathic these NWO elites truly are and how they have targeted the United States multiple times. I believe it is appropriate to include links to this film in this thread as it makes the connection between Pittman's warnings and the work of Woody Guthrie:

All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

luckee1

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Re: Bloomberg reporter who sued the Fed has died
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2009, 10:22:09 am »
Not random, it was honoring the fallen.

Woody Guthrie (and then his son Arlo) helped bring back the foundation of America during a time of unspeakable genocide in the Dust Bowl caused by the banksters of the day. Through his guitar he effectively allowed America to see her true beauty which is the beauty of humanity, justice, freedom, and equality. Here are some references to understand Woody and the work he did during some of the darkest hours:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woody_Guthrie
http://hubpages.com/hub/Bound_for_Glory_the_Woody_Guthrie_film

Pittman worked for Bloomberg, it is my belief they added that sentence at the end to pay respects for what Pittman's work will eventually mean for our great country and for humanity. May Pittman rest in peace and may his communications be undertood by all of us such that we can bring to justice the madmen and prevent their strategies from ever deceiving us again.



Here is a truther's film that woke me up to a new level. It showed me how psychopathic these NWO elites truly are and how they have targeted the United States multiple times. I believe it is appropriate to include links to this film in this thread as it makes the connection between Pittman's warnings and the work of Woody Guthrie:

Sane, thank you for this.  I never got any worth a damn answers about the dust bowl.  Do you have more on this?  I had been curious about this since I was a real little kid.

Thanks!

Offline Dig

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Re: Bloomberg reporter who sued the Fed has died
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2009, 10:32:18 am »
Sane, thank you for this.  I never got any worth a damn answers about the dust bowl.  Do you have more on this?  I had been curious about this since I was a real little kid.

Thanks!

Just take a sentence from the video and stick it in a search engine. Everything in those videos is 100% verifiable.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline jofortruth

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Don't believe me. Look it up yourself!

Offline trailhound

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Re: Federal Reserve board is #1 suspect in the assassination of Mark Pittman
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2010, 12:13:01 pm »
I'm glad somebody bumped this I wanted to watch the american holocaust video Sane posted above. Woody was a truly great american.

"Do not let your hatred of a people incite you to aggression." Qur'an 5:2
At the heart of that Western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man, the child of God, is the touchstone of value..." -RFK

Offline Razorburn

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please dont let this be fact
i hope your friends protect
the picture they attack
the image i project
I look upon your face
round and plump with wonder
i re’lize my mistakes
a state with no founder
and with a sad farewell
sweet prince reveal yourself

http://youtu.be/tP0vC0DAZVM

Offline Stevie440

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Re: Federal Reserve board is #1 suspect in the assassination of Mark Pittman
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2015, 04:41:20 pm »
Excellent thread!
"The flame of will power burns in all of us"