Posts Tagged ‘law’

Insider Trading Is Legal For Members Of Congress – And They Refuse To Pass A Law That Would Change That

Insider Trading Is Legal For Members Of Congress – And They Refuse To Pass A Law That Would Change That

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at The American Dream

Is insider trading wrong?  Most Americans would say that it is.  In fact, some very wealthy and very prominent Americans (including Martha Stewart) have gone to prison for it.  It just is not right for those with inside information that is not generally available to the public to make huge profits in the stock market by making key trades based on that information. 

But there is one group, members of the U.S. Congress, that can do all the insider trading they want and get away with it.  That is because insider trading is perfectly legal for members of Congress.  Yes, you read that correctly.  So how would that work?  Well, for example, a member of Congress may know that a law that is about to be proposed would have a very positive effect on a particular company and could buy up a ton of stock in that company a few days before that law is introduced.  Isn’t that wrong?  Of course.  Is there any law against it?  Not at all. 

You would think that some of the more ethical members of Congress would want to close this glaring loophole, but it just isn’t happening.  Legislation has been introduced from time to time that would end this practice, but it has gotten very, very little support.  The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about this issue which described the current situation this way….

"A few lawmakers proposed a bill that would prevent members and employees of Congress from trading securities based on nonpublic information they obtain. The legislation has languished since 2006."

But even though insider trading is legal for members of…
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Krugman: “The Question Is Whether Our Economy Is Governed By Any Kind Of Rule Of Law”

Krugman: "The Question Is Whether Our Economy Is Governed By Any Kind Of Rule Of Law"

rule of lawCourtesy of Washington’s Blog 

Paul Krugman writes:

The mortgage mess is making nonsense of claims that we have effective contract enforcement — in fact, the question is whether our economy is governed by any kind of rule of law.

***

True to form, the Obama administration’s response has been to oppose any action that might upset the banks, like a temporary moratorium on foreclosures while some of the issues are resolved. Instead, it is asking the banks, very nicely, to behave better and clean up their act. I mean, that’s worked so well in the past, right?

The response from the right is, however, even worse …. conservative commentators like those at The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page have come out dismissing the lack of proper documents as a triviality. In effect, they’re saying that if a bank says it owns your house, we should just take its word. To me, this evokes the days when noblemen felt free to take whatever they wanted, knowing that peasants had no standing in the courts. But then, I suspect that some people regard those as the good old days.

I’m happy that someone as prominent as Krugman is weighing in on the side of the rule of law.

I’ve been hammering on that topic for years:

Pic credit: Jesse’s Americain Cafe 


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Drunk Driving at BP

Drunk Driving at BP

Dangers of Driving When Drunk

Courtesy of DEAN BAKER, at CEPR

While BP has taken some heat over its spill in the Gulf, it is remarkable how limited the anger actually is. Many defenders of the company have made the obvious point: It was an accident. BP did not intend to have a massive spill that killed 11 people, devastated the Gulf ecosystem and threatens the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers.

Of course this is true, but it is also true that a drunk driver who runs into a school bus did not intend to be involved in a fatal collision. As a society, we have no problem holding the drunk driver responsible for a predictable outcome of their recklessness. Driving while drunk dramatically increases the risk of an accident. This is why it is punished severely. A person who is responsible for a fatal accident while driving drunk can expect to face many years in jail. Even someone who drives drunk without being in an accident often faces jail time because of the risk they imposed on others.

This raises the question as to why the public seems to accept that the top officials at BP, who cut corners and made risky gambles in their drilling plans, should be able to “get my life back,” as BP CEO Tony Hayward put it. The people who lost their livelihood as a result of BP’s spill will not get their lives back, even if BP does pay compensation. Certainly the 11 workers killed in the original explosion will not get their lives back. Why should the people responsible for this carnage be able to resume their lives of luxury?

There are two separate questions. The first is a narrow legal issue concerning the extent to which Hayward and other high-level executives can be held criminally liable for the accident. It may be the case that the laws are written so that even if companies commit gross negligence that results in enormous harm, including multiple deaths, top officials are not criminally liable. This is a question about the status of current law.

The second question is a moral and economic one about what the laws should look like. From either standpoint, it is very difficult to see why we would want to say that reckless behavior that would be punished with long prison sentences if done by…
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Should Taxpayers Continue to Subsidize Goldman Sachs’s Alleged Obscenity?

Should Taxpayers Continue to Subsidize Goldman Sachs’s Alleged Obscenity?

Courtesy of Janet Tavakoli, originally published in Huffington Post 

The U.S.’s Financial Reform bill is over 2,000 pages. It includes exemptions and lots of opportunities to create loopholes. Behavior that caused our ongoing global financial crisis is guaranteed to continue, if we don’t have swift and effective deterrents.

Broadcaster Max Keiser interviewed Luc Saucier, a Parisian lawyer to the financial community and Fulbright Scholar, on how to create a fast remedy to amoral behavior in the global financial markets.

Saucier asserts that if you are making money on Wall Street--or at a hedge fund--there is no law, except the unwritten law: Don’t get caught.

Financial institutions used extensive legal resources to "technically" comply with the law. (In many cases, laws were broken, but this interview is not addressing those cases of illegal conduct.)

Saucier explains that labeling a financial institution "obscene" is an effective social deterrent. U.S. citizens have the right to own property and to make money. We also enjoy freedom of speech, up to a point. The Supreme Court stated that when "art" becomes obscene--and the court worked hard to define what is meant by "obscene"--it is no longer considered art and does not enjoy the protection of freedom of speech.

The most highly compensated players in finance are hedge fund managers earning $1 billion to $4 billion per year. Saucier says that when you see someone making money--billions of dollars a year in bonuses by exploiting the subprime crisis--then one can take the view that part of the remuneration is obscene. The same can be said for many bank CEOs, who may earn somewhat less economic compensation, but enjoy countless valuable perks.

Banks enjoy taxpayer-funded benefits including tens of billions of bailouts and ongoing funding subsidies. For example, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley receive taxpayer subsidized funding by virtue of their new post-crisis ability to borrow from the Fed. Taxpayers may decide that just as we don’t wish to fund obscenity posing as "art," we don’t wish to subsidize "finance" that is simply obscenity.

Mr. Saucier puts it this way:

"They are committing acts of obscenity…They are morally bankrupting society…It’s obscene like kiddie porn is obscene…On the financial front that’s what [corrupt financiers are] guilty of."

Financial firms pay a lot to circumvent laws, and they are more aggressive and faster than our ability to legislate.

Max Keiser notes…
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BP Stands for Bad Petroleum

BP Stands for Bad Petroleum

Courtesy of Robert Reich 

Climate Protesters Demonstrate In London

Saturday the White House warned BP that it expects the oil giant to pay all damages associated with the disastrous oil leak into the Gulf of Mexico, even if the costs exceed the $75 million liability cap under federal law. BP responded Sunday saying its public statements are “absolutely consistent” with the Administration’s request.

When you hear dueling public statements like these, watch your wallets. You can safely assume BP’s lawyers are already at work to ensure that the firm pays not a cent more than $75 million — not to taxpayers bearing cleanup costs, not to consumers whose gas bills will rise, not to businesses along the coasts that will lose a fortune. And BP won’t pay more unless or until there’s a law requiring it to.

BP has been making public statements about its supposed corporate social responsibility for as many years as it’s behaved irresponsibly. It’s the poster child for PR masquerading as CSR.

It was just eight years ago British Petroleum shortened its name to BP and began promoting itself as the environmentally-friendly oil company with a vision that went “Beyond Petroleum” to embrace solar cells and wind power. In a $200 million advertising campaign organized by Olgilvy & Mather, BP transformed its corporate brand insignia from a shield to the more wholesomely natural green, yellow, and white sunburst. BP’s chief executive, Lord John Browne, issued warnings about global warming and said the company had a social responsibility to take action.

Notwithstanding its new image, BP continues to be one of the largest producers of crude oil on the planet. Although it committed itself to devoting $8 billion to alternative fuels over ten years, the sum was tiny compared to BP’s annual profits from oil that have averaged over $20 billion and its annual capital expenditures of over $14 billion.

Nor has the firm distinguished itself by its commitment to the law. Several years before the Gulf oil rig explosion, an explosion at BP’s Texas City plant killed fifteen workers and triggered a $21.3-million fine from safety regulators.

In March 2005, corrosion of BP’s pipes and equipment on the North Slope in Alaska led to a spill of 270,000 gallons of oil, the largest spill ever recorded in that fragile territory. Critics said BP wasn’t spending enough money to prevent such spills. Only in 2006, after…
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“How Could I Be So Selfish and So Foolish”

"How Could I Be So Selfish and So Foolish"

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

Were Lloyd and Jamie and the pigmen of Wall Street and Washington taking notes during Tiger Woods’ apology?

Doubtful.

No one is perfect, of course. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone sins. We are all weak, and insufficient in ourselves. And yet we attempt great things, in fear and trembling. The spirit endures and abides.

But there are moments in history that are epidemic with excess, a pathological pursuit of lust, greed, and deceit with a nihilistic determination that is more like a fashion of the age than an aberration. Chic to be above conventional morality and the law, lacking all proportion. Accepted, and even admired.

Tiger’s words could be the new American Anthem for a generation of reckless, selfish, and self-destructive behaviour by those most blessed by its freedom, offered the greatest opportunities and privileges, sometimes undeserved, and most often paid for by the sacrifice of others.

Most of them still have no regrets, except of course for the fear of discovery. They will have to somehow grow a conscience for that. Or face the withdrawal of support by their sponsors. In the case of Tiger it was Nike. In the case of the Banks it is the US government. And in the case of the US government it is a gullible and complacent public.  

"Many of you in this room know me. Many of you have cheered for me, have worked with me, always supported me. Now, every one of you has good reason to be critical of me. I want to say to each of you simply and directly I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behaviour I engaged in. I know people want to find out how i could be so selfish and foolish.

I knew my actions were wrong but I convinced myself that the normal rules didn’t apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I only thought about myself…

I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt that I was entitled. 

Parents used to point to me as a role model for their kids. I owe all those families a special apology. I want to say to them that I am truly sorry.

I recognize I have brought this on myself


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Zero Hedge

Trump Sues Manhattan D.A. In Response To Subpoenas

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

And now a plot twist: with Trump under relentless attack for the past three years to disclose his tax returns, on Thursday morning the president struck back, suing Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance to block an attempt by New York state prosecutors to obtain eight years of the president’s tax returns in a probe of whether the Trump Organization falsified business records.   

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Phil's Favorites

At Press Conference, Fed Chair Powell Refuses to Answer Whether Wall Street Banks Are Too Big to Manage

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at Press Conference, September 18, 2019

Following a lack of liquidity on Wall Street, which necessitated the Federal Reserve having to provide $53 billion on Tuesday and another $75 billion on Wednesday to normalize overnight lending in the repo market, the Chairman of the Fed, Jerome (Jay) Powell held his press conference at 2:30 p.m. yesterday. The press gathering followed both a one-quarter point cut in the Fed Funds rate by the Fed yesterday as well as the first intervention by the Fed in the overnight lending market since the financi...



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Insider Scoop

How Cheapskates Can Access Mid Caps

Courtesy of Benzinga

For investors that don't like stocks but do enjoy saving money on fund fees, exchange traded funds are highly desirable destinations. And for those looking to dance with mid-cap stocks, a desirable asset class, there are plenty of compelling ETFs for cost-conscious investors to consider.

What Happened

The Schwab U.S. Mid-Cap ETF (NYSE: ...



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The Technical Traders

SAFE ASSETS - A TRADING STRATEGY FOR UTILITIES, GOLD, AND BONDS

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Chris Vermeulen, Founder of The Technical Traders shares his trading strategy for safer assets. While precious metals and bonds had a great run, the charts are showing the utilities could be the place to be in the short term. It’s important to note we are not saying the other safe havens are going to crash but it’s all about the time frame and playing the sector that could pop first.

LISTEN HERE NOW

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stocks, Oil, and Bond Yields At Critical Bullish Breakout Tests!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

It’s not often that three asset classes reach similar important trading points all at once.

But that’s exactly what’s happening right now with stocks, crude oil, and treasury bond yields.

And this is occurring on Federal Reserve day no less! Something has got to give.

In the chart above y...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Is The Drone Strike a Black Swan?

Courtesy of Lee Adler

Pundits are calling yesterday’s drone strke a “black swan.” Can a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility, be a “black swan.”

According to Investopedia:

A black swan is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the practice of explaining widespread failure to predict them as simple folly in hindsight.

I seriously doubt that no one expected or could have predicted a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility.

Call Me A B...

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Chart School

Crude Oil Cycle Bottom aligns with Saudi Oil Attack

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Do the cycles know? Funny how cycle lows attract the need for higher prices, no matter what the news is!

These are the questions before markets on on Monday 16th Aug 2019:

1) A much higher oil price in quick time can not be tolerated by the consumer, as it gives birth to much higher inflation and a tax on the average Joe disposable income. This is recessionary pressure.

2) With (1) above the real issue will be the higher interest rate and US dollar effect on the SP500 near all time highs.

3) A moderately higher oil price is likely to be absorbed and be bullish as it creates income for struggling energy companies and the inflation shock may be muted. 

We shall see. 

...

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Digital Currencies

China Crypto Miners Wiped Out By Flood; Bitcoin Hash Rate Hits ATHs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Last week, a devastating rainstorm in China's Sichuan province triggered mudslides, forcing local hydropower plants and cryptocurrency miners to halt operations, reported CoinDesk.

Torrential rains flooded some parts of Sichuan's mountainous Aba prefecture last Monday, with mudslides seen across 17 counties in the area, according to local government posts on Weibo. 

One of the worst-hit areas was Wenchuan county, ...



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Biotech

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Courtesy of  , Visual Capitalist

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry, known as Big Pharma. The entrance of such behemoths will radically transform the cannabis industry—once heavily stigmatized, it is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless co...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Promotions

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In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

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