by ilene - March 21st, 2011 9:44 pm
Courtesy of The Daily Bail
Video – The Fed has 5 days to release all data.
March 21 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve must disclose details of emergency loans it made to banks in 2008, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an industry appeal that aimed to shield the records from public view. The justices today left intact a court order that gives the Fed five days to release the records, sought by Bloomberg.
A huge win for transparency.
Statement from Matthew Winkler, editor in chief of Bloomberg News:
As a financial crisis developed in 2007, "The Federal Reserve forgot that it is the central bank for the people of the United States and not a private academy where decisions of great importance may be withheld from public scrutiny. The Fed must be accountable to Congress, especially in disclosing what it does with the people’s money."
“The board will fully comply with the court’s decision and is preparing to make the information available,” said David Skidmore, a spokesman for the Fed.
The order marks the first time a court has forced the Fed to reveal the names of banks that borrowed from its oldest lending program, the 98-year-old discount window. The disclosures, together with details of six bailout programs released by the central bank in December under a congressional mandate, would give taxpayers insight into the Fed’s unprecedented $3.5 trillion effort to stem the 2008 financial panic.
“I can’t recall that the Fed was ever sued and forced to release information” in its 98-year history, said Allan H. Meltzer, the author of three books on the U.S central bank and a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
by ilene - November 18th, 2010 7:11 pm
Courtesy of PAM MARTENS
Originally published at CounterPunch
On the President’s first day in office on January 21, 2009, he issued an Open Government memo promising the American people a new era of transparency. On March 19, 2009, under the President’s orders, the Attorney General’s office issued detailed guidelines on how Federal agencies were to respond going forward to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The guidelines instructed the agencies as follows:
“The key frame of reference for this new mind set is the purpose behind the FOIA. The statute is designed to open agency activity to the light of day. As the Supreme Court has declared: ‘FOIA is often explained as a means for citizens to know what their Government is up to.’ NARA v. Favish, 541 U.S. 157, 171 (2004) (quoting U.S. Dep’t of Justice v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749, 773 (1989)…The President’s FOIA Memoranda directly links transparency with accountability which, in turn, is a requirement of a democracy. The President recognized the FOIA as ‘the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring open Government.’ Agency personnel, therefore, should keep the purpose of the FOIA — ensuring an open Government — foremost in their mind.”
It pains me to inform you, Mr. President, but the Treasury Department, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, and Securities and Exchange Commission (the trio that has been variously distracted minting trillions in currency, trading cash for trash with Wall Street, surfing for porn, or mishandling multiple voluminous tips on Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme) have misplaced your memo or, as many suspect, take their marching orders not from you but from Wall Street — perhaps because they perceive that this is where you take your orders too.
On October 6, 2010, I filed three FOIA requests with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). I had come by information that the official government report on the stock market’s “Flash Crash” of May 6, 2010 was materially wrong and I wanted to buttress my investigative report to the public with documents the SEC had obtained or compiled in conducting its investigation.
I followed the SEC’s FOIA instructions and emailed the requests to firstname.lastname@example.org as instructed by the web site, asking for a small amount of very…
by ilene - August 18th, 2010 7:58 pm
Courtesy of PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, writing at CounterPunch
On August 17, Bloomberg reported a US government release that industrial production rose twice as much as forecast, climbing 1 percent. Bloomberg interpreted this to mean that “increased business investment is propelling the gains in manufacturing, which accounts for 11 percent of the world’s largest economy.”
The stock market rose.
Let’s look at this through the lens of statistician John Williams of shadowstats.com.
Williams reports that “the primary driver of a 1.0% monthly gain in seasonally-adjusted July industrial production” was “warped seasonal factors” caused by “the irregular patterns in U.S. auto production in the last two years.” Industrial production “shrank by 1.0% before seasonal adjustments.”
If the government and Bloomberg had announced that industrial production fell by 1.0% in July, would the stock market have risen 104 points on August 17?
Notice that Bloomberg reports that manufacturing accounts for 11 percent of the US economy. I remember when manufacturing accounted for 18% of the US economy. The decline of 39% is due to jobs offshoring.
Think about that. Wall Street and shareholders and executives of transnational corporations have made billions by moving 39% of US manufacturing offshore to boost the GDP and employment of foreign countries, such as China, while impoverishing their former American work force. Congress and the economics profession have cheered this on as “the New Economy.”
Bought-and-paid-for-economists told us that “the new economy” would make us all rich, and so did the financial press. We were well rid, they claimed, of the “old” industries and manufactures, the departure of which destroyed the tax base of so many American cities and states and the livelihood of millions of Americans.
The bought-and-paid-for-economists got all the media forums for a decade. While they lied, the US economy died.
Now, back to statistical deception. On August 17 the census Bureau reported a small gain in July 2010 residential construction housing starts. More hope orchestrated. In fact, the “gain,” as John Williams reports, was due to a large downward revision” in June’s reporting. The reported July “gain” would “have been a contraction” without the downward revision in June’s “gain.”
So, the overestimate of June housing not only made June look good, but also the downward correction of the June number makes July look good, because starts rose above the corrected June number. The same manipulation is likely to…
by ilene - April 27th, 2010 12:25 am
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
With less than 12 hours left to the once-in-a-generation cruentus calamari roasting, here is a primer for all those who will be listening in and hoping to understand any of the guttural noises coming out of the beaks of the those doing god’s work on the Senate witness stand. Below is a must-have dictionary for all who seek to speak the divine (or is that brine?) dialect of the Goldmanites, courtesy of Bloomberg’s Jonathan Weil.
1. Sophisticated: Susceptible to predators, blindly trusting of Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s credit ratings, all in all an easy mark.
How to use in a sentence: The companies that lost $1.1 billion on Abacus 2007-AC1 “were among the most sophisticated mortgage investors in the world,” Goldman said in an April 16 press release.
2. Transaction: An investment position whose scope can be defined rigidly or elastically, as a single business deal or a group of many, resulting in either a loss or a profit, depending on the desired outcome. Such flexibility can be useful for tax purposes, or for confusing an angry yet gullible public.
Example: “Goldman Sachs lost money on the transaction,” the bank said. (Notice how the word, when used by Goldman, conveniently excludes the seriously large offsetting profits Goldman made by shorting subprime-mortgage bonds in 2007.)
3. Hedged: A public-relations term that refers to the act of pairing a free-standing loss with a separate profitable transaction, thus creating the outward impression that a Wall Street bank never bore any risk. Effective only when the actual facts are unverifiable. Not effective where showing a profit would cause further harm to the bank’s reputation.
Usage: Goldman said it wouldn’t have lost money if AIG had filed for bankruptcy in 2008, because the bank was hedged. Goldman said it was not hedged on Abacus.
4. Select: To agree to be called a “portfolio selection agent,” at a Wall Street bank’s request, even though one of the bank’s bearish clients is doing much of the picking. See statement from Goldman’s April 16 press release: “ACA, the largest investor, selected the portfolio.”
Related word: Independent. As in, ACA was “an independent and experienced
by ilene - December 11th, 2009 1:11 pm
Courtesy of Michael Panzner at Financial Armageddon
OK, let’s go through this one more time. Despite what we keep hearing from the politicians and moneymen, things are not getting better. Yes, we have seen the economic equivalent of a dead cat bounce — how could we not, given the trillions that have been thrown at the system — but it is simply not sustainable.
The reality is that we’ve just careened through decades of overborrowing and malinvestment, which created an array of dangerous imbalances and undermined our nation’s economic foundations. Now that the party is over, the wreckage is going to weigh on our prospects for years, if not decades.
Unfortunately, those who live in a bubble (i.e., Washington) or who’ve come to depend on them (e.g., Wall Street) have not seen through the fog of funny money policymaking. But as Bloomberg reports in "Americans Grow More Pessimistic on Economy, Nation’s Direction," the average Joe (and Jane) seem to have their eyes wide open when it comes to today’s depressing reality.
Americans have grown gloomier about both the economy and the nation’s direction over the past three months even as the U.S. shows signs of moving from recession to recovery.
Almost half the people now feel less financially secure than when President Barack Obama took office in January, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.
Those concerns have put consumers in a miserly mood as they head to the mall for holiday shopping, with half the country planning to spend less on gifts than last year and few buyers willing to run up credit-card debt for Christmas.
“The recession may be over, but the administration seems to be losing the battle when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of Americans,” says Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York. “This is important because the spending of consumers is the main factor that will turn the economic recovery into a self- sustaining one.”
Obama yesterday addressed anxiety over the economy with a speech proposing new spending on the nation’s transportation system, tax credits to spur hiring by small businesses and incentives to make homes more energy efficient.
Unemployment in November stood at 10 percent, a drop from 10.2 percent in
by ilene - September 25th, 2009 4:32 pm
Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist
In early March I turned quite bullish for the first time in 2009. My reasoning behind the bullishness was relatively simple. The market had overshot the mean to the downside and psychology was far too negative. This created a market that was like a loaded spring. All it needed was a catalyst. That catalyst came in the form of the M2M rumors. In other words, the government was going to directly intervene in the market and stop the bleeding. What resulted over the ensuing months was even larger than I ever could have expected.
At the end of March I began referring to the rally as the “government run rally”. Although the actual underlying fundamentals were not improving, the government had created a series of events and catalysts that forced the shorts out of positions and changed the psychology of the market:
The last of these well crafted maneuvers were the capital raises and the stress tests. This series of events created a foundation for a market bottom and helped form the most important portion of the current rally in stocks. It would sound conspiratorial if it weren’t entirely true. What has ensued since has confounded even the most veteran of traders. The market has continued higher in a nearly straight line.
There is no doubt that the economy has rebounded sharply from the days of ISM 35 and GDP -6%. The overshoot to the downside was extreme to say the least, but what is less clear is why the market has rallied an astounding 60% off its bottom and effectively priced in 20%+ earnings growth and 4% GDP going forward when the real underlying problems that caused this entire mess are still apparent. We have simply implemented the failed Bank of Japan policies of the 90’s combined with the failed bank policies of Maestro Greenspan – crank up the printing press, turn on the liquidity spigot, implement quantitative easing and let the banks earn their way out of their problems. It sounds great in theory, but Greenspan’s policies failed miserably as did the Bank of Japan’s. Neither approach proactively attacked the root of the problems. The results speak for themselves.
by ilene - August 30th, 2009 1:26 am
40% Higher? You Gotta Be Kidding!
Okay, the chart was floating around earlier but I was sufficiently skeptical that I initially ignored it. Now it’s popping up at some of my favorite sites, so let’s examine it, starting with the Bloomberg article. – Ilene
By Alexis Xydias
Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) — U.S. stocks are behaving like Japanese equities in the 1990s, meaning the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index may return 40 percent in the next year, according to Bank of America Corp.
The CHART OF THE DAY shows the Nikkei 225 Stock Average since 1980 and the S&P 500 during the past two decades, when adjusted for currencies. The Nikkei doubled between October 1998 and April 2000 in dollar terms, as the chart illustrates. The S&P 500 has risen 34 percent since March when the Dollar Index, a measure of the dollar against currencies in six major U.S. trading partners, is factored in.
A “melt-up” rally in the U.S. may be triggered by central bankers keeping interest rates near record lows, an economic recovery or an undervalued dollar, Bank of America strategists wrote in an Aug. 26 report.
“Even in economies overcoming credit booms, rallies can be powerful and last much longer than you think,”…
By Felix Salmon at Reuters Blogs
The story isn’t actually particularly clear on exactly what the graph is showing, and specifically what “adjusted for currencies” means:
The Nikkei doubled between October 1998 and April 2000 in dollar terms, as the chart illustrates. The S&P 500 has risen 34 percent since March when the Dollar Index, a measure of the dollar against currencies in six major U.S. trading partners, is factored in.
So it seems that the BofA analysts who came up with this chart first converted the Nikkei to dollars, only to then convert the S&P 500, which was in dollars all along, out of dollars. Hm. And they chose pretty random start points: what makes 1980 in…
by ilene - August 26th, 2009 8:31 pm
Fascinating! H/t to Zero Hedge for finding this excellent article by Chris Martenson. (See also Tyler Durden’s "Is The Fed Enabling Foreign Central Banks To Swap Out Their Agency Debt Into Treasuries?") And welcome to Chris Martenson of ChrisMartenson.com!
Courtesy of Chris Martenson
- The Federal Reserve and the federal government are attempting to "plug the gap" caused by a slowdown of private credit/debt creation.
- Non-US demand for the dollar must remain high, or the dollar will fall.
- Demand for US assets is in negative territory for 2009
- The TIC report and Federal Reserve Custody Account are reviewed and compared
- The Federal Reserve has effectively been monetizing US government debt by cleverly enabling foreign central banks to swap their Agency debt for Treasury debt.
- The shell game that the Fed is currently playing obscures the fact that money is being printed out of thin air and used to buy US government debt.
The Federal Reserve is monetizing US Treasury debt and is doing so openly, both through its $300 billion commitment to buy Treasuries and by engaging in a sleight of hand maneuver that would make a street hustler from Brooklyn blush.
This report will wade through some technical details in order to illuminate a complicated issue, but you should take the time to learn about this because it is essential to understanding what the future may hold.
One of the most important questions of the day concerns how the dollar will fare in the coming months and years. If you are working for a wage, it is essential to know whether you should save or spend that money. If you have assets to protect, where you place those monies is vitally important and could make the difference between a relatively pleasant future and a difficult one. If you have any interest at all in where interest rates are headed, you’ll want to understand this story.
There are three major tripwires strung across our landscape, any of which could rather suddenly change the game, if triggered. One is a sudden rush into material goods and commodities, that might occur if (or when) the truly wealthy ever catch on that paper wealth is a doomed concept. A second would occur if (or when) the largest
by ilene - August 25th, 2009 8:02 am
Swine Flu Update:
By Tom Randall and Alex Nussbaum
Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) — Swine flu may hospitalize 1.8 million patients in the U.S. this year, filling intensive care units to capacity and causing “severe disruptions” during a fall resurgence, scientific advisers to the White House warned.
Swine flu, also known as H1N1, may infect as much as half of the population and kill 30,000 to 90,000 people, double the deaths caused by the typical seasonal flu, according to the planning scenario issued yesterday by the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. Intensive care units in hospitals, some of which use 80 percent of their space in normal operation, may need every bed for flu cases, the report said.
The virus has sickened more than 1 million people in the U.S., and infections may increase this month as pupils return to school, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If swine flu patients fill too many beds, hospitals may be forced to put off elective surgeries such as heart bypass or hernia operations, said James Bentley with the American Hospital Association.
“If you have 1.8 million hospital admissions across six months, that’s a whole lot different than if you have it across six weeks,” said Bentley…
Continue Swine Flu article here. >>
by ilene - August 17th, 2009 5:53 pm
I don’t believe in market calls, and trying to time turns is a perilous game. But most savvy people I know have been skeptical of this rally, beyond the initial strong bounce off the bottom. It has not had the characteristics of a bull market. Volumes have been underwhelming, no new leadership group has emerged, and as greybeards like to point out, comparatively short, large amplitude rallies are a bear market speciality.
In addition, this one has had some troubling features. Most notable has been the almost insistent media cheerleading, particularly from atypical venues for that sort of thing, like Bloomberg. Investors who are not at all the conspiracy-minded sort wonder if there has been an official hand in the "almost nary a bad word will be said" news posture. Tyler Durden has regularly claimed that major trading desks have been actively squeezing shorts. There have been far too many days with suspicious end of session rallies.
The fall in the markets overnight, particularly the 5.8% drop in Shanghai, seems significant in combination with other factors… continue here.
Image from Op-toons Review (funny site, check it out)