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Sep. 25 2009 - 4:50 pm | 729 views | 1 recommendation | 52 comments

Congressman who went werewolf on me now spooks Fed officials

Alan Grayson: I would like to know whether it is within the Federal Reserve’s legal authority to try to manipulate the stock market or the futures market.

Federal Reserve GC Scott Alvarez: I don’t believe the Federal Reserve tries to manipulate the stock market…(Yoda: Do or do not, there is no try.)

Alan Grayson: Does the Federal Reserve actually possess all the gold that’s listed on their balance sheet.

Scott Alvarez, doing a classic poker body language tell, and taking his time: Yes…

Alan Grayson: Who actually executes the trades for the Federal Reserve in the markets?

Scott Alvarez: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which executes trades through Primary Dealers.

Alan Grayson: Can you name one Primary Dealer?

Scott Alvarez: JP Morgan Chase

Alan Grayson: Do you mind if we have a GAO audit to see if there has been front-running or insider trading by them? Do you mind? Is that ok with you?

Scott Alvarez: I am not sure if I have that authority…

via “Have The Federal Reserve Or Prime Brokers Ever Tried To Manipulate The Stock Market?” | zero hedge.

First of all, apologies again for being absent from normal posting routine. We are putting to bed a very large story today, so I’ve been nuts.

Anyway, Alan Grayson, Bernie Sanders, Ron Paul and others keep hammering away at this whole Fed-secrecy issue, and every now and then we get some pretty interesting exchanges. Zero Hedge relates this one between Grayson and Fed counsel Scott Alvarez. It’s becoming abundantly clear that at some point we’re going to start to hear details about monstrous front-running operations involving the major banks on Wall Street.

I recommend that everyone watch this clip just for the sheer entertainment value (scroll to the bottom; I’ve embedded it there). I  have personal experience with… well, let’s call it the unique personality of Alan Grayson. In his capacity as an attorney he once basically threatened to have me dismembered and have my body parts dumped in a tin canister and fired into the center of a burning supernova. And that’s actually underselling the real language he used. We were having a disagreement about the use of information given to me by a certain source in a story about military contracting, and in the middle of what had been a normal contentious argument between two sane adults, dude suddenly assumed this crazy monster-voice and just went medieval on me. He was roaring into the telephone about how he was going to crush me, how I was going to wish I had never messed with him, how I didn’t know who the hell I was dealing with, and so on. One phrase I remember in particular was, “I am going to strip the bark off of you!” It came totally out of the blue and it was like being on the telephone with a metamorphosing werewolf — the whole performance genuinely freaked me out. I may even have peed a little, I can’t remember.

When I heard Alan Grayson was running for Congress, I remember thinking to myself, That Alan Grayson? The lunatic? It can’t be, I thought. I kept imagining trails of half-eaten sheep leading to his campaign appearances. But it turned out to be true. And when I checked, his platform turned out to be quite sane and even kind of interesting. Then he got elected and I suddenly started seeing his name attached to all of these calls for transparency, various crusades for FinReg reforms, etc.

And now every time I see Alan Grayson, he’s tearing some freaked-out bureaucrat a new asshole in the middle of some empty conference room in the Capitol somewhere. I see the looks on the faces of these poor souls and I know exactly what they’re going through. Which is just hilarious, frankly. Especially since these people all tend to deserve it, like this nebbishy little creep Alvarez quite obviously does.

Now for most of last year Grayson’s public appearances didn’t rate any higher than a five or maybe a six on the craziness scale, but he’s a definite seven in this clip, trending toward eight. Watch Alvarez look around nervously, like he’s not sure whether to say something about how out of control Grayson is. He’s looking around like he expects someone to come out with a butterfly net and capture Grayson, so he can get back to lunch. But no help comes. Very entertaining stuff.

P.S. I should point out — I’ve gotten a couple of letters on this already — that by crazy, I definitely mean Grayson sounds off his rocker when questioning Alvarez. Although the Fed is certainly guilty of almost everything Grayson accuses them of, the line of questioning is just bizarre. What Grayson does here is sort of like asking someone to just admit to being an axe murderer. Just admit it! Admit you murder people with axes. We all know what your denials mean! That said, this doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the suffering of Alvarez in this exchange.


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  1. collapse expand

    “And now every time I see Alan Grayson he’s tearing some freaked-out bureaucrat a new asshole in the middle of some empty conference room in the Capitol somewhere.”

    This is brilliant stuff, Matt. Love your creative use of language.
    Oh and by the way, now that this Fed stuff is hot, even Sarah you-betcha Palin is jumping on the bandwagon. She was is Honk Kong the other day talking about auditing the Fed. It would be interesting/funny to have her explain the role of the Federal Reserve in the current crisis.

  2. collapse expand

    I personally am a huge fan of Grayson’s using the anti-ACORN bill to try to basically defund the defense industry.

    We got some pretty interesting new champions for movement progressives this past election in districts that are “swing districts” — I say we protect them with everything we’ve got to make sure we have these voices in Congress.

  3. collapse expand

    Holy Fuckamoly, Grayson can get those crazy-eyes going can’t he?

    I agree with Zaid, if he can beat the assholes at their own game, using their own bill-more power to him!

  4. collapse expand

    This was like watching a cat playing with its prey before eating it. At the final moment the cat’s owner hit the can opener (time’s up) and the prey was set loose. “We will meet again, my friend.”, promised the cat with a wink and a toothy smile.

    The disconcerting thing about Grayson is the mouth is smiling but the eyes are saying, “I could snap your neck like a toothpick, you dissembling little turd.” Loved it even though I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end. I’d be paranoid for years.

    As for the description of Grayson, I laughed so hard I might have peed a little. Bravo!

  5. collapse expand

    Matt, my man, you have hit the trifecta, including in a single post three of my favorite things: Alan Grayson, half-eaten sheep and werewolves.

  6. collapse expand

    Grayson: such an appropriate name for a werewolf, no? This clip was great! I say let’s let loose this werewolf and his minions on all the vampires who have sucked the blood out of our society. There’s no way the assholes can see/bear to look at their reflections. Watching this clip, I’d hire Grayson as an attorney if I really needed defense and the money was there, and if he weren’t on the hill.

    One thing that surprised me: You rate this take-down as 8/10? Your encounter would have to be at least a 12 then. I’ve met an eastern european conductor or 2 for whom Grayson’s would be a 2, maybe a 3.

  7. collapse expand

    I followed your link over to ZH thinking there might be more from Tyler. While no, the comments are worth mulling over. There’s also a decent link to Dylan Ratigen interviewing Ron Paul that’s a worthwhile watch: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ5e5MfEY2o).

  8. collapse expand

    Congressman Grayson’s tie has big green dollar $ign$ all over it. How appropriate!

  9. collapse expand

    To be frank, I think Grayson came off as a kook, in the same vein as someone asking if it was possible to remotely control planes to fly them into buildings.

    Grayson: “Does the Federal Reserve manipulate the stock market”

    Lawyer: “A major function of the Federal Reserve is to set interest rates, which directly affects the entire economy, including the stock market.”

    So the lawyer is honestly answering that a major function of the Fed is explicitly to control/direct/regulate/manipulate the entire financial system in pursuit of a political goal: for my lifetime, a middle ground between high unemployment and high inflation. Quibbling about the job they are doing aside, “manipulating the markets” is explicitly the job of every regulator and central bank in existence.

    It’s like asking if “it in fact the purpose of the FBI to pry into the affairs of private citizens”

    There may be (read: nearly certainly are) horrible abuses of authority on the part of the Fed, but the line of questioning is daft.

    As commenters at ZH discuss, Grayson comes off as too dumb to understand that the question he wants to ask is really “does the Federal Reserve—or those operating at it’s behest—take positions in equities, currencies, or futures for any purposes, and if so, what are those purposes?”

  10. collapse expand

    Thanks for this post. That is one of the most enjoyable lawyer-on-lawyer exchanges I have seen in a long time. I loved the way Grayson was smiling the whole time.

    And the “front running” accusation is astounding. Given the size of the trades the Fed executes, if someone is trading ahead of the Fed’s order – with prior knowledge – they are making HUGE amounts of money. I never heard of Grayson before this but he looks and sounds like just the pit bull you want to send after these guys.

  11. collapse expand

    Funny story Matt.

    I’m a regular over at Zero Hedge and its great that you’re getting this out on another venue as the Fed MUST be audited. Rep. Grayson is one of the few good guys in CONgress. Keep up the excellent work!

  12. collapse expand

    Holy keister, that was hilarious! Matt Taibbi is definitely a Quentin Tarantino of the liberal blogosphere. More, I want more on Greyson and Fed! :) ))

    By the way I totally agree with the last paragraph. Only a sucker would believe the Fed, Treasury and the rest of the banksters in the government are public spirited humanitarian do-gooders, but trying to make them confess to their crimes the way Grayson did here is naive beyond belief. Mighty funny though, seeing that Fed worm writhe and squirm :) ))

  13. collapse expand

    I wish we had 435+100 Alan Graysons; plus one in the White House.
    He was a prosecuting attorney, and obviously has a brilliant, quick
    mind. And, I love his crazed, corkscrewed visage.

  14. collapse expand

    Grayson does a good job of shaking up the witness to see what rattles loose. Crazy like a fox.

  15. collapse expand

    What a brilliant article. What exactly did Grayson say/do to you to elicit such a bitter and small minded rant?

  16. collapse expand

    For arguments sake, even if everything that grayson is suggesting is true, I would not want him involved in any kind of investigation. He is rude, asks leading questions, refuses to clarify his questions. I hear echoes of a senator from the 50’s who used to ask ‘Are you now or have you ever been….’

    I would think you would want to build a consensus amongst the investigators who are ferreting out malfeasance and criminal behaviors. You also want witnesses to come forward. People who are troubled by what they have seen or participated in. WHo would want to go near this asswipe? His tone and body language screams ‘you can’t trust me’

  17. collapse expand

    Watching Grayson is fun. Neil Cavuto gave Grayson some of his own medicine here…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRu12rBrcaI

    …surprising how Grayson couldn’t answer the question.

  18. collapse expand

    You’re pretty easily rattled, Matt.

  19. collapse expand

    jeff greene’s done shed some pounds.

  20. collapse expand

    I wonder what you think of this piece from HousingWire, http://www.housingwire.com/2009/09/24/you’d-think-the-fed-was-the-bastille/. What precisely are the would-be auditors looking for? Have they considered what a Congressionally-supervised “bank” might look like?

  21. collapse expand

    I went ahead and made a post about Grayson’s use of the anti-ACORN efforts to go after defense contractors. Cool stuff.

  22. collapse expand

    Well put as usual Matt. Hopefully there is some substantive oversight implemented. Although Grayson’s flaying of this nebbish little suit is joyfully cathartic, we need some less-theatrical hard core rooting out and regulation of the abuses that continue….

    “I kept imagining trails of half-eaten sheep leading to his campaign appearances.”

    Love it.

  23. collapse expand

    he doesnt seem at all crazy to me. he seems sick of the nonsense fake questions and fake answers and fake confusion. sick of all of it, basically, as am i.

    i dont consider a passionate outburst to equal insanity.

    that’s a common accusation used by those more sedate among us, to discredit those who are less decorous.

  24. collapse expand

    Your former colleague Mark AMES over at the eXileD has just posted his belief that a new right wing smear campaign will take Grayson down.

    Let’s hope he is wrong

  25. collapse expand

    A wrong-wing smear campaign on Grayson? Rock and roll!!!

  26. collapse expand

    They will undoubtedly go after him. Hopefully he’s stashed away the skeletons deep-deep. The right doesn’t like it when someone employs their tactics and bites back. Gotta say, I love what he’s doing though…

  27. collapse expand

    Rep. Grayson may sometimes come across as unhinged, but that’s probably because he often shoots from the hip rather than carefully planning his attacks on those he deems to be frauds. Even his planned attacks, like the one where he claimed the GOP plan for healthcare was to “not get sick…or die quickly”, wasn’t the most polished effort.

    But at least he is making that effort, unlike many on the left who seem more interested in protecting their re-election prospects and avoiding attacks from the right wing. I applaud Alan Grayson for showing the courage to take on right wing demagogues. We need more like him in Congress.

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