Saturday, May 04, 2013

My disappointment with Iris Mack

I discovered who Iris Mack was thanks to researching my next play, which focuses on a Brooksley Born type character. One of Born's nemeses was Robert Rubin and another was Larry Summers, and Iris Mack had very interesting dealings with both of them.

First, she was apparently fired by Larry Summers for blowing the whistle on questionable financial dealings:
In an e-mail sent May 30, 2002 to Marne Levine, chief of staff for then-Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers, Mack detailed her concerns regarding what she deemed HMC’s “frightening” usage of derivatives and statistical modeling techniques, as well as the Company’s lack of a timely and portfolio-wide risk management system, high employee turnover rate, and low level of productivity in the workplace, specifically among managers.  
According to documents and e-mail records, all provided by Mack, Levine had initially assured Mack that their correspondence would remain confidential. But on July 1, HMC chief Jack R. Meyer called Mack into a meeting, in which she was presented with copies of her e-mails, according to a letter sent to Levine and Summers by Mack’s attorney. 

The next day, Meyer dismissed Mack, pointing to “these baseless allegations against HMC [that you sent] to individuals outside of HMC,” the letter says.
Now I've been criticizing Larry Summers long before I watched the excellent Frontline episode The Warning which portrays him, along with Rubin and Alan Greenspan as anti-regulation absolutists who shut Born down when she tried to regulate derivatives - the out of control "black box" financial instruments of mass destruction that almost took down the world economy in 2008.

No I was all over his shit because of his "women aren't as good at math/science as men" speech at Harvard, which some claim cost him the position as Secretary of the Treasury under Obama. If that's true - good! So nobody needs to tell me what an asshole Larry Summers is.

I wasn't as familiar with Robert Rubin, and Mack wrote a hum-dinger of an article about him in the Huffington Post - Bob Rubin Just Wants to Be Cuddled. She talks about her incident with Summers here too, but the real dirt is on (the married) Rubin:
I also remember teasingly inquiring as to whether he'd flown in on a Citigroup jet again. (He'd called me from one in December.) "It's one of the perks," he replied a bit sheepishly. 
Things were much more relaxed by the time I walked him back to the Ritz - which was along the way to my South Beach condo. When we passed a homeless man along the way he made a bit of a show of opening up his fat leather billfold and producing a dollar -- "There but for the grace of God..." he remarked melodramatically -- and I gave him a lot of heat for that, because who exactly did he think he was kidding? I said give the man a job. Heck, you're the head of a bank! But when we reached the hotel entrance, the tension returned. He got this funny look on his face, and asked: 
"Do you want to go upstairs and...cuddle?" 
So that's what this is about. For a moment I was totally speechless and had to dig into my Harvard trained PhD brain to figure out what the hell he meant by "cuddling"! What can I say; once a teetotaling math geek, always a bit slow to pick up on signals from the menfolk. So the former Treasury Secretary had a "crush" on me! And not long afterward the former Treasury Secretary had his tongue down my throat and hands everywhere sort of like an octopus. But as soon as the thought entered my mind -- the former Treasury Secretary has his tongue down my throat?! -- I came to my senses a bit and awkwardly went back home before we both got too carried away. This is to say, I said to myself that there would be no other former Treasury Secretary appendages entering any other of my orifices.
So I was prepared to love Iris Mack. And I'm planning to create a character based on her for my play - she's brainy, beautiful, ground-breaking (the second African-American woman to get a doctoral in Math from Harvard), a fan of whistle-blowers - she gave a shout-out to Brooksley Born, and gave grief to two out of the three members of the evil Trio (Greenspan, Rubin, Summers). But I should have worshipped her from afar. Instead I tracked her Facebook profile down and friended her.

Oh dear.

Here's what her home page looks like today.

In case you don't recognize that guy, he's Ben Carson, the right-wing homophobe who was so rude to Obama. Mack appears to love Carson as much as she despises Obama. Carson was so inappropriate that even Fox News' Cal Thomas said so.

This thing for Ben Carson, alone, would be enough to make me de-friend her in total disgust.

She also "likes" both Mitt Romey and Ron Paul, although she appears to be much more of a Libertarian than a Republican, she has much more pro-Ron Paul stuff on her page.

But she's not a standard conservative - the really weird thing about Iris Mack, based on her Facebook page, is that she's also a raw foods, anti-agribusiness type - she frequently posts anti-Monsanto stuff. She's indistinguishable from my old left-wing hippie friends here. And I can't find anything about Ron Paul being against agribusiness other than his objections to farming subsidies - nothing about Monsanto or the use of chemicals in agriculture, which is what Mack cares about.

Yet in spite of her apparent desire to regulate Monsanto's free-market use of chemicals, she's anti-government, and anti-taxes. But she posts an "Occupy London Stock Exchange" graphic on her page that says: "When the rich rob the poor it's called banking. When the poor fight back it's called violence."

Ron Paul is against regulating the markets. The same exact position taken by Greenspan, Rubin and Summers, causing Brooksley Born to come into conflict with them. The same Brooksley Born Mack applauds for her whistleblowing against those ideological soulmates of Ron Paul, for acting exactly as Ron Paul would have done.

And if her political incoherence wasn't enough she believes in conspiracies - the kinds of things that wackos on both the right and the left can agree about. Mack posts links to:
Anti-UN conspiracies
Anti-Eurozone conspiracies
Anti Illuminati/Rothschild conspiracies
and most appalling of all, anti-vaccine conspiracies.

Well that's too bad - here I thought I found someone besides Paul Krugman to read up on about financial issues. But turns out she's your standard Libertarian-anti-government paranoid. Dammit.

See also: Iris Mack - even further down the far-right conspiracy rabbit hole