Posts Tagged ‘financial corruption’

GDP Deflator at a Five Decades Low While Income Inequality Is at Record Highs

GDP Deflator at a Five Decades Low While Income Inequality Is at Record Highs

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

From this chart sent out this morning by David Rosenberg, we can see that the GDP deflator is at a five decades low.

I tend to believe that the modifications to the inflation measures, including the deflator, that have accumulated by the federal bureaucracy over the past ten years are greatly understating the actual inflation in the economy.

There are very positive benefits for the government to do this. The lower the deflator, the better and higher the real GDP figures will appear. And a low measure of official inflation reduces increases in payments in Social Security and other programs with Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), including official debt payments on the bonds and the TIPS.

Gold gives the lie to this, which is why it is so hated by financial engineers and statists.

On the other hand, the inequality of income distribution in the US is at level not seen since the 1920′s.

There is some good reason to think that government tax and fiscal policies, as well as the monopolistic makeup and subsidized growth of the Banking sector facilitates this wealth transfer and concentration, which has a highly negative impact on real economic growth.

There will be a change, and the trends will be reversed. How they are reversed and what changes will accompany those reversals are very much open to debate, and divergent historical examples. But these changes almost invariably involve a shift from individualism to statism.

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable."

John F. Kennedy

Change will come if the system remains as unsustainable as it is now. And what gives me a somewhat pessimistic view is that people never seem to learn the lessons of history. 

 


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NY Fed Cited in Cover-Up By SIGTARP’s Barofsky – Possible Criminal Charges

NY Fed Cited in Cover-Up By SIGTARP’s Barofsky – Possible Criminal Charges

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

It’s never the crime, it’s always the cover up.

This is beyond a doubt the story of the week. Neil Barofsky has been a thorn in the side of the Treasury Department and the Fed since he first took office.

I doubt there will be criminal charges filed against Turbo Tim personally, since in his case the clueless CEO defense may have some traction. Unless, that is, they have wiretaps and/or emails showing collusion with some of the bailed out banks, in either insider trading or the manipulation of assets for extraordinary gains.

It is a boiling scandal, but emblematic of the corruption that has pervaded financial regulation in Washington for the past ten years at least. It did not start with Obama, but it may still bring down key members of his Administration.

Reform the financial system, and audit the Fed.

Bloomberg 
Barofsky Says Criminal Charges Possible in Alleged AIG Coverup
By Richard Teitelbaum
28 April 2010

April 28 (Bloomberg) — …That tense relationship [between Treasury and Barofsky] has grown out of Barofsky’s mandate to monitor and root out fraud and waste in the management of TARP, the $700 billion program passed in October 2008 to remove toxic debt from the banks. The special inspector general, in a series of reports, interviews and congressional hearings, has heaped criticism on the Treasury Department’s operation of the program.

Barofsky’s most recent broadside came on April 20, when a SIGTARP report labeled a housing-loan modification program funded with $50 billion of TARP money as ineffectual.

The TARP watchdog has also criticized Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner in reports and in congressional testimony for his handling of the process by which insurance giant American International Group Inc. was saved from insolvency in 2008, when Geithner was head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The secrecy that enveloped the deal was unwarranted, Barofsky says, adding that his probe of an alleged New York Fed coverup in the AIG case could result in criminal or civil charges.

In Senate Finance Committee testimony on April 20, Barofsky said SIGTARP would investigate seven AIG-linked mortgage-related securities similar to Abacus 2007-AC1, the instrument underwritten by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. that is at the center


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Market Manipulation, Systemic Risk and Fraud, Pure and Simple, And It Continues Today

Market Manipulation, Systemic Risk and Fraud, Pure and Simple, And It Continues Today

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

This article by the Financial Times should remove any doubt in anyone’s mind that Goldman Sachs was willfully selling fraudulent financial instruments. It appears that they were working in conjunction with Ratings Agencies, Mortgage Origination Firms, and Hedge Funds to cheat investors.

"Cheat" means to circumvent or distort the normal price discovery process through misrepresentation, price manipulation, and omissions and distortion of key data.

Carl Levin summarized the situation in his opening statement this morning in tying together various Congressional hearings and investigations into aspects of the recent financial crisis and the underlying frauds. It sounds remarkably like the frauds that Enron had so recently inflicted on the American public.

In particular, Congressman Levin gave a good description of the key role that derivatives played in this control fraud.

"Of special concern was Goldman’s marketing of what are known as “synthetic” financial instruments. Ordinarily, the financial risk in a market, and hence the risk to the economy at large, is limited because the assets traded are finite. There are only so many houses, mortgages, shares of stock, bushels of corn or barrels of oil in which to invest.

But a synthetic instrument has no real assets. It is simply a bet on the performance of the assets it references. That means the number of synthetic instruments is limitless, and so is the risk they present to the economy. Synthetic structures referencing high-risk mortgages garnered hefty fees for Goldman Sachs and other investment banks. They assumed an ever-larger share of the financial markets, and contributed greatly to the severity of the crisis by magnifying the amount of risk in the system.

Increasingly, synthetics became bets made by people who had no interest in the referenced assets. Synthetics became the chips in a giant casino, one that created no economic growth even when it thrived, and then helped throttle the economy when the casino collapsed."

This is also a good description of the basis of the emerging scandal in the silver market, and other commodity markets such as those that Enron manipulated, in which synthetic bets are being used to manipulate price, and improbable sales are being misrepresented under the cover of secrecy and opaque markets as…
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“Goldman Sachs Are Scum:” Max Keiser on Goldman Sachs From July 2009

"Goldman Sachs Are Scum:" Max Keiser on Goldman Sachs From July 2009

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

Here is a video interview on France 24 television with Max Keiser speaking on Goldman Sachs from almost one year ago.

By the way, NO ONE who is a serious player on Wall Street is legitimately surprised by this, and probably no one in regulatory bodies are either, unless they are just showing up to collect a paycheck and obtain free Internet access.

The antics of Goldman Sachs have been getting by on a ‘wink and a nod’ from the regulators and the market for some time. Why? Because they are powerful, and because like Lehman and their off balance sheet frauds, they are almost ALL doing it on Wall Street as part of the franchise. Goldman has just been a pig about it, and probably burned some insiders and powerful investors in their fraudulent Abacus trade.

The excuses being made for Goldman by some on Bloomberg Television and CNBC are setting new lows in journalism. It was just a simple failure to disclosure Paulson’s involvement right? Almost a technicality. No one forced the customers to buy those fraudulently packaged and labeled assets or stocks (this was a favorite excuse from Joe Kernan during the Internet/tech bubble collapse). No involvement from the Ratings Agencies in the purposeful crafting of a fraudulent financial instrument. Guest Calls Cramer a ‘PR Man for Goldman Sachs’ and is ejected from the show by the resident money honey.

As you may recall, Mr. Cramer represents himself as highly experienced in manipulating stocks using CNBC reporters from his days as a hedge fund manager. So it might not be so outre to inquire if he is working the other side of that Wall Street scam these days. 

Why, these derivatives were SO complex that the poor Goldman management barely understood them themselves. They were tricked by Paulson. Tourre is a rogue trader. Bernie Madoff ate their Series 7 cheatsheets. Compliance was seconded to the Riviera. Lloyd was busy doing missionary work in Bangkok. More regulation will just hurt the recovery.

Don’t just regulate them. Break them up. And audit the Fed.

I am glad the professor is from HEC. I did my international business MBA sequence (an extended field trip for adults, but the refreshments were good) at the ‘other’ business school in Paris at La Defense, ESSEC.

Max Keiser 

 


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A Pox on Both Their Houses: A Failing Presidency and a Country Adrift

Two parties is really no party at all. Ever see that cute Southpark episode about the futility of voting, Giant Douche and the Turd Sandwich? So true. (Warning, bad language and offensive to PETA members) - Ilene

A Pox on Both Their Houses: A Failing Presidency and a Country Adrift

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

An alternative title for this might be, "Of Rats and Sinking Ships."

Larry Summers is reportedly leaving later this year, and Andrew Cockburn reports that Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s acutely verbal Chief of Staff is said to be looking for other employment, preferably a high paying job on Wall Street with little work and enormous perks and privileges.

This is the sort of thing that one would expect to be happening at the end of the first term of a President, five years into the job. Perhaps that event is being moved up because Obama is likely to be a one term president, in one of the most spectacular flame outs from high, and in retrospect misplaced, expectations since the Segway.

Obama was clearly the wrong man for the job. He might have been the kind of reformer for the good times, when you really do not need him, dedicated to getting the various squabbling parties to hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Unfortunately, a crisis demands leadership, and Obama is all fluff in that department. Leaders lead, they do not hold other people up as the leaders, and take them to task for their failure to do the risky things when their leader hides behind a non-existent consensus. I hate to say this, but both Clinton and W were far superior leaders, unfortunately with deeply flawed visions and moral compasses.

The Democrats are most likely looking at a November massacre in the election, unless some event occurs to pull the nation together such as an externally focused crisis.

The problem of course is that if one looks at the alternatives, there are none too attractive in the Republican Party which is also deeply tarnished with the financial corruption that actually came to full flower under their stewardship with George W. And part of the reason that legislation for reform languishes is that the Republicans are openly in the…
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For Warren Mosler: A Primer on the Difference Between Honesty and Fraud

For Warren Mosler: A Primer on the Difference Between Honesty and Fraud

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

Warren Mosler is "an economist specializing in monetary policy and running for Senator Dodd’s Senate seat in the November elections." He has written the following piece for the Huffington Post. He is so incredibly off the mark that I thought a bit of correction to that spin might help his thinking before he hits the campaign trail.

Mr. Mosler. I have been following this case closely. No one at GATA, or anyone else looking at the state of the regulatory climate in Washington and the quality and tarnished reputation of US markets, is complaining about the normal sort of trading that has been going on ‘for thousands of years.’ Most of the people with whom I have spoken and questioned are seasoned traders with a profound understanding of the commodity markets, and equity markets, and derivatives.

What many people are complaining about is fraud. In this case fraud can loosely be defined as doing something and then lying about it. Saying you did not do something, or disguising the nature of what you have been doing, can turn even a prima facie benign action into a fraud, depending on the intention and degree.

Many people around the world are not complaining that the US has lent out its gold, and the ‘depositories are filled with paper,’ which may some day be replaced by gold again. Although they do point out that it will be replaced at MUCH higher prices if their suspicions are correct. They are pointing out that government officials have said repeatedly that they have never lent it out in the first place but refuse to submit to audits and transparent accounting. And if it did occur, such lending may be of questionable legal status, which is why so many have denied it has occurred. Only the Congress can allow for the attachment of binding claims to sovereign assets. Have they? And if, in exercising some new presidential prerogative, the executive has done so, where is the public disclosure? Where is the law?

And further, in the case of commercial entities like the TBTF bullion banks JPM and HSBC, they are not complaining about short selling that is backed by physical metal, duly paid and accounted for. They are asking questions about what appear to be enormous…
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The Federal Reserve’s Veil of Secrecy Is Being Taken Down, But Slowly

Here’s Jesse’s thoughts on the essay by Robert Reich posted here a couple hours ago. Jesse’s introductions are always worth reading. Jr. Deputy Accountant (photo credit) addresses the credibility of Obama’s financial team. – Ilene 

The Federal Reserve’s Veil of Secrecy Is Being Taken Down, But Slowly

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

One of the first things that ‘put me off’ of Obama was the choice he made of key appointments to his Administration, selecting the two Robert Rubin acolytes Tim Geithner and Larry Summers to his team, marginalizing Paul Volcker, and then making no place for Robert Reich.

Make no mistake, the Fed looks to have been abusing its secrecy and its position, and Bernanke and Geithner are culpable. Reich makes the points as well or better than I could so here is his recent piece on the subject. All the blog’s are picking it up.

As I recall, the Fed said they were only acquiring ‘investment grade’ instruments, which would be taken on its balance sheet in support of the US Dollar, in addition to the usual Treasury Debt. The recent exposures of the holdings of Maiden Lane show these to be more like junk bonds, and certainly not as represented.

The Fed must be audited, and it role as the ‘master regulator’ and as the place where the Office of Consumer Financial Protection would be located is a farce, a cruel joke. Chris Dodd must either be senile, entirely cynical, or believe the American people to be complete idiots. The only reason I could even imagine for considering it is that the Fed is a ‘cost plus’ agency, meaning that they are self funding out of the mechanism of creating money, taking all their costs out before they turn over the interest income from the public debt back to Treasury. This is also a source of their growth and power. The problem that public agencies often have is that the industries that are regulated by them use their donations and lobbyists to stifle approrpriations for the agencies that regulate them in order to hamper and stifle them.

How can you even think of putting an office of reform and consumer protection in the very institution that was at the epicenter of a historic fraud? And shows itself completely willing to mislead the public, and some even believe perjure itself to the…
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Restoring Glass-Steagall

Restoring Glass-Steagall

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain 

"Successful crime is dignified with the name of virtue; the good become the slaves of the wicked; might makes right; fear silences the power of the law." Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Restoring Glass-Steagall is such an obvious move that one has to wonder why it is not being more seriously considered.

Granted, it took a multi-year lobbying effort and the expenditure of many millions of dollar to subvert a national regulatory and political process to overturn it, largely led by Sandy Weill of Citigroup. Frontline: The Long Demise of Glass-Steagall.

And with the return of the Clinton crowd as Obama’s key financial advisers, led by Larry Summers and young Tim, supplemented by more mercenaries from the-investment-bank-that-must-not-be-named, perhaps it is unreasonable to expect the Reformer to enact such a simple, time-tested reform.

Perhaps Barney Frank and Chris Dodd can bring the Princes of Wall Street down to Washington again, profusely thank them for taking time from their busy day to speak to the people’s representatives, privately thank them for their generous campaign contributions, and simply ask them what they will accept as regulation again.

It is important to bear this in mind, because it tends to knock down the assertion that the current financial crisis is somehow an act of God, something that just happened. There was an intent to subvert the regulatory process, to increase leverage beyond what has long been known to be prudent, and to engage in systemic fraud with a group of enables and agencies, such as the ratings firms, in order to reap fabulous personal profits for a small group at the expense of the many. There was planning, premeditation, malice aforethought. They may not have intended to harm; they just did not care. They really truly did not care, if they got theirs.

Until the banks are restrained, and the financial system reform, and balance restored to the economy, there will be no sustained recovery.

And there can be no better start than to stop the gambling with the public money that is the core of the existing US banking system. The parallels with organized crime and the subversion of the public interest through graft and corruption are compelling. And one thing we must accept is that the financiers will never be able to reform themselves, to regulate themselves, to


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Phil's Favorites

Disney teams up with Secret Cinema - watching movies will never be the same again

 

Disney teams up with Secret Cinema – watching movies will never be the same again

Secret Cinema’s production of Moulin Rouge. Secret Cinema

Courtesy of Sarah Atkinson, King's College London and Helen W. Kennedy, University of Nottingham

Disney’s recent deal with the immersive experience company Secret Cinema signals a new era for the cinema industry. New film titles from the Disne...



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Zero Hedge

BBC Claims Iranian Government Is Lying About Outbreak: Real Death Toll Is 210, Not 34

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Given the Iranian regime's recent history of brazenly lying to the public despite its obvious culpability, we were certainly intrigued when a local lawmaker in Qom told reporters that at least 50 people had died from the coronavirus in his city alone.

Iranian authorities denied these ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Financial Crisis Deja Vu: Home Construction Index Double Top?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Most of us remember the 2007-2009 financial crisis because of the collapse in home prices and its effect on the economy.

One key sector that tipped off that crisis was the home builders.

The home builders are an integral piece to our economy and often signal “all clears” or “short-term warnings” to investors based on their economic health and how the index trades.

In today’s chart, we highlight the Dow Jones Home Construction Index. It has climbed all the way back to its pre-crisis highs… BUT it immediately reversed lower from there.

This raises concerns about a double top.

This pr...



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Insider Scoop

A Peek Into The Markets: US Stock Futures Plunge Amid Coronavirus Fears

Courtesy of Benzinga

Pre-open movers

U.S. stock futures traded lower in early pre-market trade. South Korea confirmed 256 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, while China reported an additional 327 new cases. Data on U.S. international trade in goods for January, wholesale inventories for January and consumer spending for January will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Chicago PMI for February is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET, while the University of Michigan's consumer sentime...



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Biotech & Health

Could coronavirus really trigger a recession?

 

Could coronavirus really trigger a recession?

Coronavirus seems to be on a collision course with the US economy and its 12-year bull market. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Courtesy of Michael Walden, North Carolina State University

Fears are growing that the new coronavirus will infect the U.S. economy.

A major U.S. stock market index posted its biggest two-day drop on record, erasing all the gains from the previous two months; ...



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The Technical Traders

SPY Breaks Below Fibonacci Bearish Trigger Level

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our research team wanted to share this chart with our friends and followers.  This dramatic breakdown in price over the past 4+ days has resulted in a very clear bearish trigger which was confirmed by our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system.  We believe this downside move will target the $251 level on the SPY over the next few weeks and months.

Some recent headline articles worth reading:

On January 23, 2020, we ...



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Promotions

Free, Live Webinar on Stocks, Options and Trading Strategies

TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

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

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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Chart School

Oil cycle leads the stock cycle

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Sure correlation is not causation, but this chart should be known by you.

We all know the world economy was waiting for a pin to prick the 'everything bubble', but no one had any idea of what the pin would look like.

Hence this is why the story of the black swan is so relevant.






There is massive debt behind the record high stock markets, there so much debt the political will required to allow central banks to print trillions to cover losses will likely effect elections. The point is printing money to cover billions is unlikely to upset anyone, however printing trillions will. In 2007 it was billions, in 202X it ...

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Members' Corner

Threats to democracy: oligarchy, feudalism, dictatorship

 

Threats to democracy: oligarchy, feudalism, dictatorship

Courtesy of David Brin, Contrary Brin Blog 

Fascinating and important to consider, since it is probably one of the reasons why the world aristocracy is pulling its all-out putsch right now… “Trillions will be inherited over the coming decades, further widening the wealth gap,” reports the Los Angeles Times. The beneficiaries aren’t all that young themselves. From 1989 to 2016, U.S. households inherited more than $8.5 trillion. Over that time, the average age of recipients rose by a decade to 51. More ...



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Digital Currencies

Altcoin season 2.0: why bitcoin has been outgunned by crypto rivals since new year

 

Altcoin season 2.0: why bitcoin has been outgunned by crypto rivals since new year

‘We have you surrounded!’ Wit Olszewski

Courtesy of Gavin Brown, Manchester Metropolitan University and Richard Whittle, Manchester Metropolitan University

When bitcoin was trading at the dizzying heights of almost US$2...



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ValueWalk

What US companies are saying about coronavirus impact

By Aman Jain. Originally published at ValueWalk.

With the coronavirus outbreak coinciding with the U.S. earnings seasons, it is only normal to expect companies to talk about this deadly virus in their earnings conference calls. In fact, many major U.S. companies not only talked about coronavirus, but also warned about its potential impact on their financial numbers.

Q4 2019 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Coronavirus impact: many US companies unclear

According to ...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

 

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:

Lee,

The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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