Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

Who Will Your Senator Stand With Now?

Guest Post: Who Will Your Senator Stand With Now?

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

By Dylan Ratigan

At this very instant, many of those in our Senate are in danger of being led off the plank by outgoing Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Chris Dodd. With cloture passing, Senator Dodd now has one final chance to present a manager’s amendment to make a weak bill stronger (or possibly even weaker.)

Once again, this financial "reform" process has thankfully brought into the light of day that we have politicians who are brazen in their willingness to aid the same fraudsters who have brought a great nation to its knees. But as this week’s primaries have clearly shown, there is no hesitation by the voters in throwing out the Establishment that got us into this mess and apparently has no plans to help us get out.

Thankfully, once forced to vote, politicians can no longer merely pretend to working for the People as they do the bidding of the Banksters. So once you look beyond all of the well-documented behind-the-scenes work by Dodd to weaken financial reform, we also have his on-the-record votes on a few of the meaningful attempts at real reform:

And just so you don’t think he can’t say yes to anything…

  • Yes on the Carper Amendment to actively prevent state Attorney Generals from fighting for YOUR rights, because apparently the one lesson Senator Dodd learned from this mess is that our country will be much better off if he can just keep the next Eliot Spitzer from protecting citizens.

Now is the time to contact Senator Dodd and let him and his staff know that you demand real
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Cut the Partisan Crap … BOTH the Private Sector AND the Government are to Blame for the Financial Crisis

Cut the Partisan Crap … BOTH the Private Sector AND the Government are to Blame for the Financial Crisis

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog

Partisan GOP hacks say the financial crisis was caused by too much regulation, and government interference in the markets.

But Glass-Steagall was repealed, derivatives were left unregulated, and the regulators were watching porn instead of preventing fraud. Giant banks, hedge funds and other fat cat private players knowingly gamed the market and committed fraud in more ways than can be listed in a single post.

And remember, even the "father of economics" – Adam Smith – didn’t believe in completely unfettered free markets.

On the other hand, partisan Democratic party hacks say that bad corporations caused the crisis, and that if more power is given to Summers, Bernanke, Geithner and the other governmental honchos, they’ll fix everything.

But Summers, Bernanke, Geithner and the other meatheads largely caused the crisis through their actions. And as Simon Johnson points out, the government created the mega-giants, and they are not the product of free market competition.

As I pointed out in February 2009, government fraud is pervasive:

In case you believe that there are only "a couple of bad apples" in the United States, here is an off-the-top-of-my-head list of corruption by leading pillars of American society:

  • Senior military officials stole approximately $125 billion dollars out of Iraq reconstruction funds, dwarfing Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme (in turn, the looting which is now occurring under the bailout/stimulus programs will far surpass $150 billion)
  • The government-endorsed ratings agencies which were supposed to accurately rate the credit-worthiness of companies and nations committed massive fraud

There are hundreds of similar stories of corruption which have come out recently.

But surely government employees would have done something to stop such corruption if had known about it, right?

Well, actually:


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China Stunned As Bureaucrat’s Diary Of Sex And Bribery Hits The Web

China Stunned As Bureaucrat’s Diary Of Sex And Bribery Hits The Web

Courtesy of Gus Lubin at Clusterstock/Business Insider 

china internet cafe

China’s 30,000 internet policemissed a big one earlier this week. 

The scandalous diary of a medium-level official was posted online (in Chinese) and then spread like wildfire through China and beyond. Han Feng, a director of the Guanxi tobacco monopoly bureau, describes a life of sexcapades and bribery.

Han has already stepped down from his post, according to China Daily.

Here are some excerpts:

  • Sept. 16, 2007: Wang asked me for lunch at the Guijing Hotel. There were just the two of us. He gave me two bottles of Moutai liquor and 50,000 yuan. I deposited 30,000 yuan and took 20,000 home.
  • Sept. 18: 21-32 degrees, sunny – Morning in the “living quarters” – Afternoon: go to hotel & asked for a room, Ms. Long is coming – had red wine at dinner – go to GuoDa hotel, Xiao Tan is there, her menstruation is coming…
  • Sept. 20: When I got to the office this afternoon, Chen stopped by and gave me 10,000 yuan. Li gave me 2,000 yuan.
  • Dec. 4: Drank too much & Xiao Pai too, I asked her to come to my room…
  • Dec. 11: Evening, dinner with Mr Wang & Mr Hu, Commissar of the local Land Bureau – We decided to pay 5,000,000RMB (about USD 800,000) application fee and they will give us the land… Then we drank a lot!
  • Dec. 29: 2007 has been a good year. Work is going smoothly. Income is as high as 200,000 yuan Womanizing is on the right track. It’s been a lucky year with women. I need to pay attention to my health with so many sex partners.
  • Jan. 25: Award meeting. We obtained the “advanced citizen” award status as a unit… which means I get my salary and bonus increased to 250,000 this year.

 

See also: 15 Facts About China That Will Blow Your Mind 


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Morgan Paying Out 62% of Revenues in Bonuses and Pay While Average Families Face ‘Years of Pain’

Morgan Paying Out 62% of Revenues in Bonuses and Pay While Average Families Face ‘Years of Pain’ 

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

bernankeOne has to wonder how much of that ‘revenue’ is merely the result of artificial mark to market accounting and prop desk speculation, and not real cash flow from commercial banking operations.

That is not the pay method for a bank. That’s a hedge fund. And that would be all very well and good if they were a hedge fund and responsible for their own failures and successes, but they are obtaining the discount window and federal guarantees and subsidies from the taxpayers as though they were a commercial bank.

This highlights the problem with this ‘trickle down’ approach that characterizes neo-liberal stimulus versus the approach of, let’s say, the Roosevelt administration, that of putting people to work and keeping their savings safe as the first priority.

The US and UK are packing the banks with public money to ‘save the system.’ Their hope seems to be that as the banks recover, they will start lending to the private sector again, and eventually this money will trickle down to the public as real wages generated by organic economic activity.

Another approach would have been to guarantee the people’s savings in banks and Credit Unions, the cash value of insurance policies, and money market funds, up to let’s say $2,000,000 per individual and $5,000,000 per couple.

Keeping the people whole, the government would have then been able to effectively place the banks in receivership as required, and work them through the resolution of their problems, handing out some stiff losses to shareholders and speculators and the debt-holders.

No mechanism to do this? They could have nationalized the banks temporarily with a single executive order, as readily as it took Hank Paulson and Tim to type up a ten page document to give away $700 billion. The guarantees on all savings and private investments would have prevented a panic from the public, but quite a few more bankers and hedge funds might have taken the hard results of their recklessness.

This would have placed all the bailout money in the hands of the people, who could have chosen where they wished to place it after the nationalization process as the banks were either shuttered or restored. We would have ended up with


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Our Chatty Cathy Congress

Our Chatty Cathy Congress

chatty cathyBy Karen Tumulty, courtesy of TIME

Those of us former little girls of a certain age can remember a doll that we all had to have. She was called Chatty Cathy, and if you pulled a string in her neck, she would say things like "Please brush my hair" and "Let’s have a party!"

It turns out that Chatty Cathy and the United States House of Representatives have a lot in common. Except in Congress’ case, it is the biotechnology industry that has been pulling the string.

In today’s New York Times, Robert Pear has a story that tells us how it happened that more than a dozen lawmakers made virtually the same statement in the official record of the House health care debate. (It’s worth knowing that these are not necessarily speeches they gave on the floor itself, but rather, what gets printed in the Congressional Record when they ask permission to "revise and extend" their remarks. So no one actually hears them say it, but it does go into the official history of the event, and it does put them firmly on record. It also tells the lobbyists’ paymasters that they are getting good return on their investment.)

In this case, the statement in question had actually been written by the biotechnolgy industry--which, as Michael Scherer and I wrote a few weeks back, has been a big winner in the health reform debate, rolling over even such powerful figures as Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman to get its way. Pear (a reporter whose digging skills are legendary among those of us who have been around Washington a while) tells us:

Genentech, a subsidiary of the Swiss drug giant Roche, estimates that 42 House members picked up some of its talking points — 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats, an unusual bipartisan coup for lobbyists.

In an interview, Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., Democrat of New Jersey, said: “I regret that the language was the same. I did not know it was.” He said he got his statement from his staff and “did not know where they got the information from.”

Members of Congress submit statements for publication in the Congressional Record all the time, often with a decorous request to “revise and extend my remarks.” It is unusual for so


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Amgen vs. Cuomo

Amgen: Cuomo’s Full Of It (AMGN)

pills drugs perscription healthcare health doctors sick medicine - tbiCourtesy of Lawrence Delevingne at Clusterstock

Amgen has responded to the charges of corruption and fraud related to its big anemia drug, Aranesp, made by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo today along with 14 other states.

Amgen spokesman David Polk told us "We believe that the allegations are without merit, and we look forward to the opportunity to examine these matters with the states before the Court."

Polk adds: "Because this lawsuit is now in litigation, we are limited in our remarks," and that "Amgen has a solid compliance program and Code of Conduct called “Do The Right Thing,” and we expect that all of our employees follow it at all times."

AMGN was down 0.56  today, or -1.03%.

See also Lawrence Delevingne’s earlier entry:

Amgen Down As Cuomo Alleges Massive Corruption, Kickbacks, And Fraud (AMGN)

Breaking from the New York Attorney General’s Office:

CuomoNEW YORK, NY (October 30, 2009) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York and 14 other states are filing a lawsuit against Biotech giant Amgen following an investigation spearheaded by
his office into a nationwide kickback scheme to boost drug sales.

In a lawsuit filed today in federal court the states charge drug manufacturer Amgen, International Nephrology Network (INN), a specialty group purchasing organization, and ASD Healthcare, a wholesaler, with offering kickbacks to medical providers to increase sales of Amgen’s anemia drug, Aranesp.

“Drugs should be prescribed to patients on the basis of need, effectiveness, and safety, not on a corporate giant’s promise of an all-expense paid vacation,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “In an egregious violation of the law, Amgen allegedly bribed medical providers and left taxpayers footing the bill for free drug samples. My office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit will continue to work with our partners in other states to uncover these kinds of abuses.”

According to the multi-state complaint, the companies would encourage medical providers to bill third party payers such as Medicaid for free Aranesp that were provided at no cost. Amgen is further alleged to have conspired with INN and ASD Healthcare to offer illegal kickbacks to medical providers, such as sham consultancy agreements, weekend retreats, or other services to induce them to purchase and prescribe Aranesp with the intention and effect of increasing sales of Aranesp and converting new providers from competitor drugs to Aranesp.

As a result…
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Capitalism, Socialism or Fascism?

Washington argues that when metastatic cancer takes over the body, identifying the type of cancer is more of an interesting dinner party conversation than a cure (metaphorically) – Ilene 

Capitalism, Socialism or Fascism?

socialismCourtesy of Washington’s Blog

What is the current American economy: capitalism, socialism or fascism?

Socialism

Initially, it is important to note that it is not just people on the streets who are calling the Bush and Obama administration’s approach to the economic crisis "socialism". Economists and financial experts say the same thing.

For example, Nouriel Roubini writes in a recent essay:

This is a crisis of solvency, not just liquidity, but true deleveraging has not begun yet because the losses of financial institutions have been socialised and put on government balance sheets. This limits the ability of banks to lend, households to spend and companies to invest…

The releveraging of the public sector through its build-up of large fiscal deficits risks crowding out a recovery in private sector spending.

Roubini has previously written:

We’re essentially continuing a system where profits are privatized and…losses socialized.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb says the same thing:

After finishing The Black Swan, I realized there was a cancer. The cancer was a huge buildup of risk-taking based on the lack of understanding of reality. The second problem is the hidden risk with new financial products. And the third is the interdependence among financial institutions.

[Interviewer]: But aren’t those the very problems we’re supposed to be fixing?

NT: They’re all still here. Today we still have the same amount of debt, but it belongs to governments. Normally debt would get destroyed and turn to air. Debt is a mistake between lender and borrower, and both should suffer. But the government is socializing all these losses by transforming them into liabilities for your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What is the effect? The doctor has shown up and relieved the patient’s symptoms – and transformed the tumour into a metastatic tumour. We still have the same disease. We still have too much debt, too many big banks, too much state sponsorship of risk-taking. And now we have six million more Americans who are unemployed – a lot more than that if you count hidden unemployment.

[Interviewer]: Are you saying the U.S. shouldn’t have done all those


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The Ongoing Cover Up of the Truth Behind the Financial Crisis May Lead to Another Crash

Perhaps the best introduction to this terrific article by (the other) George Washington is in the comment section. So why should we care about the crimes and the cover ups?  Our freedom depends on our government enforcing and abiding by the law. It’s apparent that we are headed down the slippery slope Justice Louis Brandeis describes in Olmstead v. United States (1928):Justice Louis Brandeis

"In a government of laws, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipotent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If government becomes a lawbreaker it breeds contempt for law: it invites every man to become a law unto himself. It invites anarchy."

We have the Federal government’s massive and flagrant display of lawlessness, and population somewhere on the way from apathy to dependency in the Fatal Sequence cycle of civilization.  Not winning a combination if you ask me. – Ilene

The Ongoing Cover Up of the Truth Behind the Financial Crisis May Lead to Another Crash

Courtesy of George Washington’s Blog

William K. Black – professor of economics and the senior regulator during the S & L crisis – says that that the government’s entire strategy now – as during the S&L crisis – is to cover up how bad things are ("the entire strategy is to keep people from getting the facts").

Indeed, as I have previously documented, 7 out of the 8 giant, money center banks went bankrupt in the 1980′s during the "Latin American Crisis", and the government’s response was to cover up their insolvency.

Black also says:

There has been no honest examination of the crisis because it would embarrass C.E.O.s and politicians . . .

Instead, the Treasury and the Fed are urging us not to examine the crisis and to believe that all will soon be well.

PhD economist Dean Baker made a similar point, lambasting the Federal Reserve for blowing the bubble, and pointing out that those who caused the disaster are trying to shift the focus as fast as they can:

The current craze in DC policy circles is to create a "systematic risk regulator" to make sure that the country never


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How the Servant Became a Predator: Finance’s Five Fatal Flaws

Here’s an excellent, must-read article by William K. Black.  Special thanks to New Deal 2.0. - Ilene

How the Servant Became a Predator: Finance’s Five Fatal Flaws

By Bill Black, Courtesy of New Deal 2.0

money-shark-150 - preditor stateRoosevelt Institute Braintruster William K. Black explains how the finance economy preys on the real economy instead of serving it. He shows how both have become dysfunctional and warns that we must not neglect the real economy — the source of our jobs, our incomes, and the creator of goods and services — as we focus on financial reform.

What exactly is the function of the financial sector in our society? Simply this: Its sole function is supplying capital efficiently to aid the real economy. The financial sector is a tool to help those that make real tools, not an end in itself. But five fatal flaws in the financial sector’s current structure have created a monster that drains the real economy, promotes fraud and corruption, threatens democracy, and causes recurrent, intensifying crises.

1. The financial sector harms the real economy.

Even when not in crisis, the financial sector harms the real economy. First, it is vastly too large. The finance sector is an intermediary — essentially a “middleman”. Like all middlemen, it should be as small as possible, while still being capable of accomplishing its mission. Otherwise it is inherently parasitical. Unfortunately, it is now vastly larger than necessary, dwarfing the real economy it is supposed to serve. Forty years ago, our real economy grew better with a financial sector that received one-twentieth as large a percentage of total profits (2%) than does the current financial sector (40%). The minimum measure of how much damage the bloated, grossly over-compensated finance sector causes to the real economy is this massive increase in the share of total national income wasted through the finance sector’s parasitism.

Second, the finance sector is worse than parasitic. In the title of his recent book, The Predator State, James Galbraith aptly names the problem. The financial sector functions as the sharp canines that the predator state uses to rend the nation. In addition to siphoning off capital for its own benefit, the finance sector misallocates the remaining capital in ways that harm the real economy in order to reward already-rich financial elites harming the nation. The facts are alarming:

• Corporate stock repurchases…
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OUTRAGE: TYING IT ALL TOGETHER

OUTRAGE: TYING IT ALL TOGETHER 

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

 


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ValueWalk

Coronavirus stimulus check 2: Get it together, Congress

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Many Americans are waiting for coronavirus stimulus check number 2, and the June jobs report caused some to think there won’t be one. However, it sounds like a second round of IRS stimulus checks is still possible. In fact, we might even be able to say that it’s likely.

Q1 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Mixed unemployment numbers

The Department of Labor showed that the U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs last month, which is the largest increase ever recorded. ...



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Zero Hedge

"Panic-Driven Hoarding Of Bank Notes": People Aren't Abandoning Cash During The Pandemic, They're Socking It Away

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Habits change in the midst of a global recession, not to mention a global pandemic. We have already looked at how the pandemic has caused seismic shifts in many industries, but it is also causing a shift in how people think about, handle and (in this case) hoard cash. 

While we have been told non-stop that the pandemic is going to prompt the demise of paper currency and the words "digital dollar" continue to make appearances in government white papers and studies, the Bank of England found that there was a...



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Phil's Favorites

Coronavirus deaths and swelling public sector debt share a data-quality problem

 

Coronavirus deaths and swelling public sector debt share a data-quality problem

Different countries report coronavirus data differently. Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Marion Boisseau-Sierra, Cambridge Judge Business School

Watching scientists, politicians and journalists struggle to compare national death rates from the coronavirus pandemic, I had an acute case of déjà vu. Though the virus may be novel, the confusion generated by inconsistent data standards is anything but. It’s something I&...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Coronavirus deaths and swelling public sector debt share a data-quality problem

 

Coronavirus deaths and swelling public sector debt share a data-quality problem

Different countries report coronavirus data differently. Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Marion Boisseau-Sierra, Cambridge Judge Business School

Watching scientists, politicians and journalists struggle to compare national death rates from the coronavirus pandemic, I had an acute case of déjà vu. Though the virus may be novel, the confusion generated by inconsistent data standards is anything but. It’s something I&...



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Chart School

Golds quick price move increases the odds of a correction

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Every market corrects, maybe profit taking, maybe of allowing those who missed out, to get in!


The current open interest on the gold contract looks to high after a very fast price move, it looks like 2008 may be repeating. A quick flushing out of the weak hands open interest may take place before a real advance in price takes place. The correction may be on the back of a wider sell off of risk assets (either before of after US elections) as all assets suffer contagion selling (just like 2008).

This blog view is a gold price correction of 10% to 20% range is a buying opportunity. Of course we may see  a very minor price correction but a long time correction, a price or time is correction is expected, we shall watch and...

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The Technical Traders

Wild Volatility Continues As US Markets Attempt To Establish New Trend

Courtesy of Technical Traders

We’ve continued to attempt to warn investors of the risks ahead for the US and global markets by generating these research posts and by providing very clear data supporting our conclusions.  Throughout the entire months of May and June, we’ve seen various economic data points report very mixed results – and in some cases, surprise numbers as a result of the deep economic collapse related to the COVID-19 virus event.  This research post should help to clear things up going forward for most traders/investors.

As technical traders, we attempt to digest these economic data factors into technical and price analysis while determining where and what ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Nasdaq 100 Relative Strength Testing 2000 Highs

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

The tech bubble didn’t end well. BUT it did tell us that the world was shifting into the technology age…

Since the Nasdaq 100 bottomed in 2002, the broader markets have turned over leadership to the technology sector.

This can be seen in today’s chart, highlighting the ratio of Nasdaq 100 to S&P 500 performance (on a “monthly” basis).

As you can see, the bars are in a rising bullish channel and have turned sharply higher since the 2018 stock market lows. This highlights the strength of the Nasdaq 100 and large-cap tech stocks.

...

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Lee's Free Thinking

These Charts Show COVID 19 Is Spreading in the US and Will Kill the Economy

 

These Charts Show COVID 19 Is Spreading in the US and Will Kill the Economy

Courtesy of  

The COVID 19 pandemic is, predictably, worsening again in much of the US. Only the Northeast, and to a lesser extent some Midwestern states, have been consistently improving. And that trend could also reverse as those states fully reopen.

The problem in the US seems to be widespread public resistance to recommended practices of social distancing and mask wearing. In countries where these practices have been practi...



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Digital Currencies

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

 

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

App-etising? LDprod

Courtesy of Michael Rogerson, University of Bath and Glenn Parry, University of Surrey

Food supply chains were vulnerable long before the coronavirus pandemic. Recent scandals have ranged from modern slavery ...



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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

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