May 11

Starting June 25 of this year, Bank of America will start charging more and more of their credit card customers an APR of almost 30%. According to a letter that came in the mail today, that new rate would apply “indefinitely.” If you make a single late payment, B of A may raise your interest rate to as much as 29.99%. The new rate would only apply to new purchases, not existing balances (that’s one of the few good things about the CARD act), but according to recent surveys over 15% of customers have made at least one late payment in the last 12 months. (I know we’ve done it once or twice.)

From a free market perspective, the new late payment policy isn’t terrible, but in practice it still stinks. That’s because, like most fees and penalties charged by banks and credit card companies, it will be more onerous for the poorest and most vulnerable. Think about it, if you have good credit and a good job, who cares if you make a late payment? If your credit card company assesses a penalty rate of 30% on new purchases, you can just switch to a different card. But if your Bank of America card is your only source of revolving credit, then you’re pretty much stuck with the new interest rate. And over time, more and more customers will end up with the new penalty rate because of a late payment. Moreover, it will end up being those customers who can least afford it who end up paying the new rate because B of A will most likely refrain from instituting high penalty rates on customers they know can simply walk away.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Mar 10

Mar. 08 (Bloomberg) — Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the biggest U.S. lender by assets, is segregating almost half its 13.9 million mortgages into a “bad” bank comprised of its riskiest and worst-performing “legacy” loans, said Terry Laughlin, who is running the new unit.

“We are creating a classic good bank, bad bank structure,” Laughlin told investors at a meeting in New York today. He was promoted last month to manage the costs of resolving disputes stemming from the company’s 2008 purchase of Countrywide Financial Corp. “We’re going to get after this, we’re going to do it the right way and we’re going to put it to bed in the next 36 months,” he said.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Mar 09

Ted Kaufman

On Friday, free and efficient market champion Ted Kaufman, previously known for his stern crusade to rid the world of the HFT scourge, and all other market irregularities which unfortunately will stay with us until the next major market crash (and until the disbanding of the SEC following the terminal realization of its corrupt and utter worthlessness), held a hearing on the impact of the TARP on financial stability, no longer in his former position as a senator, but as Chairman of the Congressional TARP oversight panel. Witness included Simon Johnson, Joseph Stiglitz, Allan Meltzer, William Nelson (Deputy Director of Monetary Affairs, Federal Reserve), Damon Silvers (AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel), and others.

In typical Kaufman fashion, this no-nonsense hearing was one of the most informative and expository of all Wall Street evils to ever take place on the Hill. Which of course is why it received almost no coverage in the media. Below we present a full transcript of the entire hearing, together with select highlights.

The insights proffered by the panelists and the witnesses, while nothing new to those who have carefully followed the generational theft that has been occurring for two and a half years in plain view of everyone and shows no signs of stopping, are truly a MUST READ for virtually every citizen of America and the world: this transcript explains in great detail what absolute crime is, and why it will likely forever go unpunished.

Key highlights from the transcript:

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 18

Financial crooks brought down the world’s economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them

Illustration by Victor Juhasz

Over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer.

“Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail,” he said. “That’s your whole story right there. Hell, you don’t even have to write the rest of it. Just write that.”

I put down my notebook. “Just that?”

“That’s right,” he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. “Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there.”

Nobody goes to jail. This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth — and nobody went to jail. Nobody, that is, except Bernie Madoff, a flamboyant and pathological celebrity con artist, whose victims happened to be other rich and famous people.

This article appears in the March 3, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is available now on newsstands and will appear in the online archive February 18.

The rest of them, all of them, got off. Not a single executive who ran the companies that cooked up and cashed in on the phony financial boom — an industrywide scam that involved the mass sale of mismarked, fraudulent mortgage-backed securities — has ever been convicted. Their names by now are familiar to even the most casual Middle American news consumer: companies like AIG, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. Most of these firms were directly involved in elaborate fraud and theft. Lehman Brothers hid billions in loans from its investors. Bank of America lied about billions in bonuses. Goldman Sachs failed to tell clients how it put together the born-to-lose toxic mortgage deals it was selling. What’s more, many of these companies had corporate chieftains whose actions cost investors billions — from AIG derivatives chief Joe Cassano, who assured investors they would not lose even “one dollar” just months before his unit imploded, to the $263 million in compensation that former Lehman chief Dick “The Gorilla” Fuld conveniently failed to disclose. Yet not one of them has faced time behind bars.

Instead, federal regulators and prosecutors have let the banks and finance companies that tried to burn the world economy to the ground get off with carefully orchestrated settlements — whitewash jobs that involve the firms paying pathetically small fines without even being required to admit wrongdoing. To add insult to injury, the people who actually committed the crimes almost never pay the fines themselves; banks caught defrauding their shareholders often use shareholder money to foot the tab of justice. “If the allegations in these settlements are true,” says Jed Rakoff, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, “it’s management buying its way off cheap, from the pockets of their victims.”

To understand the significance of this, one has to think carefully about the efficacy of fines as a punishment for a defendant pool that includes the richest people on earth — people who simply get their companies to pay their fines for them. Conversely, one has to consider the powerful deterrent to further wrongdoing that the state is missing by not introducing this particular class of people to the experience of incarceration. “You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street,” says a former congressional aide. “That’s all it would take. Just once.”

But that hasn’t happened. Because the entire system set up to monitor and regulate Wall Street is fucked up.

Just ask the people who tried to do the right thing.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 07

Among some of the discoveries of the financial crisis is that the entire financial system is now, following the Lehman bankruptcy, built entirely on fraud. And while Ken Lewis may spend the remainder of his days on some private island with stolen taxpayer money providing for his every last wish, it was he, in following the Fed’s and the Treasury’s orders to make a mockery of fiduciary responsibility, that was among the first people to confirm that there is no rule of low in America, or rather whatever law there is, it only applies to the less than immortal (i.e. the sub-banker class). Below, in an indication that Zero Hedge will never forget, we present the salient highlights from the Ken Lewis deposition on the MAC clause surrounding the Merrill transition, emphasizing the threats from Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke. For as long as neither of these three is in jail for what is documented shareholder (and taxpayer) fraud, we fail to see why the remaining 300+ million Americans continue to diligently pay their share of taxes into a government that is now beyond (and in full documentation) corrupt. Also, how BofA’s lawyer Wachtell was not at all present during the discussion of the MAC clause, makes a complete mockery of the US legal process in its entirety. We wonder just when the official scribe of the kleptocracy, Andrew R. Sorkin, will write a book disclosing the truth of what happened, including a listing of all the laws broken with full premeditation by every single player, and not the watered down, PG13 (and rather expensive)version  that makes everyone come out like a law-abiding superman.

Full transcript highlights, presented without commentary: Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jan 29

Added: 28. January 2011

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jan 24

This is Webster Tarpley’s opinion and I do not agree with all of it.

Obama White House NSC Russia Director Michael McFaul Deploying IMF Shock Therapist Boris Nemtsov as Wheelhorse of Feeble “Stop Putin in 2012″ Bid

Awareness is growing around the world that the Wikileaks-Julian Assange theater of the absurd is radically inauthentic – a psyop. Wikileaks and its impaired boss represent a classic form of limited hangout or self-exposure, a kind of lurid striptease in which the front organization releases doctored and pre-selected materials provided by the intelligence agency with the intent of harming, not the CIA, nor the UK, nor the Israelis, but rather such classic CIA enemies’ list figures as Putin, Berlusconi, Karzai, Qaddafi, Rodriguez de Kirchner, etc. In Tunisia, derogatory material about ex-President Ben Ali leaked by Wikileaks has already brought a windfall for Langley in the form of the rare ouster of an entrenched Arab government.

At Foggy Bottom and Langley, a manic fit has been building since the flight of Ben Ali. US imperialist planners now believe they can re-launch their shopworn model of the color revolution, CIA people-power coup, or postmodern putsch against a whole series of countries in the Arab world and far beyond, including Italy. The color revolutions had been looking tarnished lately, as a result of the failure of the Twitter Revolution in Iran back in June 2009. Previously, the Cedars Revolution of 2005 had failed in Lebanon. The Orange Revolution in Ukraine had been rolled back with the ouster of NATO-IMF kleptocrats Yushchenko and Timoshenko. In Georgia, the Roses Revolution was increasingly discredited by the repressive and warmongering regime of fascist madman Saakashvili.

US Seeks to Mobilize a New Generation of Young Nihilists Across the Globe

But now, NSC, State, and CIA believe that the color revolution has a new lease on life, thanks to their estimate that the United States, because of Wikileaks and Assange, has captured the imagination of a new generation of young nihilists across the globe who are described as the post-9/11 generation, estranged from governments and opposition parties, and thus ready to follow Langley’s peroxide Pied Piper.

Assange started his intensive deployment phase this year with video of a Class A US war crime in Iraq, which was very graphic but which dealt with an incident which was already widely known. The second document dump focused on Iraq, but now the targeting had shifted to Prime Minister Maliki, and the Iranian asset whom the US by some strange coincidence was trying to oust as leader of Iraq in favor of the US puppet Allawi. With the third document dump, this time involving State Department cables, we found out much derogatory gossip about such classic CIA targets as Russian prime minister Putin, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, the Russian-Italian strategic alliance, President Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina, and President Karzai of Afghanistan, along with jabs at supposed US allies who need to be kept off-balance and dependent, including the Saudi Arabian royal family, French President Sarkozy, and others. Wikileaks thus directs the vast majority of its fire against figures who are part of the CIA’s enemies list.

No Equal Time for CIA Covert Operations

Assange also provides a splendid pretext for draconian censorship and limitations on the freedom of the internet. The totalitarian liberal Senator Feinstein wants to bring back Woodrow Wilson’s infamous Espionage Act of 1917 in honor of Assange. Assange must be seen not as an activist, not as a journalist, and not as an entertainer, but rather as a spook. John Young of Cryptome, according to some reports, has denounced Wikileaks, to which he formerly belonged, as a CIA front. In a December 29 RT interview, Young described the internet as “a very large-scale spying machine.”1 The internet is indeed a vast battlefield, where the intelligence agencies of the US-UK, China, Israel, Russia, and many others clash every hour of the day, with commercial spies, hackers, anarchists, cultists, mercenary trolls, and psychotics all getting into the act as well. Intelligence agencies deliberately feed real and doctored material to various websites, sometimes using their own disgruntled employees as cutouts, conduits, and go-betweens. This means among other things that Bradley Manning cannot be taken at face value, although it is also clear that he like anyone else should not be tortured.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jan 06

Just another government sponsored looting of the US taxpayer.

George Soros: The US Must Stop Resisting The Orderly Decline Of The Dollar, The Coming Global Currency And The New World Order

Max Keiser on The Banksters: ‘These Guys All Need To Be Fired, Trialed, Hung, Burned! They’re All Freaking Terrorists!’

Hiding The Greatest Depression: How The US Government Does It

BofA Freddie Mac Putbacks Resolved for 1¢ on $ (The Big Picture):

Bank of America settled numerous claims with Fannie Mae for an astonishingly cheap rate, according to a Bloomberg report.

A premium of $1.28 billion was paid to Freddie Mac to resolve $1 billion in claims currently outstanding. But the kicker is that the deal also covers potential future claims on $127 billion in loans sold by Countrywide through 2008. That amounts to 1 cent on the dollar to Freddie Mac.

Imagine if you had a $500,000 mortgage, and you got to settle it for $5,000 — that is the deal B of A appears to have gottem from Freddie Mac.

B of A also paid $1.52 billion to Fannie Mae to resolve disputes on $3.1 billion in loans (~49 cents on the dollar). They remain liable for $2.1 billion in repurchase requests, as well as any future demands from Fannie Mae.

My biggest complaint about the GSEs post government takeover is that they have been used as a back door bailout of the banks. This latest deal reconfirms that view.

Its a wonder B o A didn’t rally further than the 6.7% it surged yesterday . . .

Source: Bank of America Deal on Loan-Repurchase Demands Sets `Template’ for Banks (Bloomberg)

Why Bank of America Must Be Thrilled to Pay a $3 Billion Penalty (The Atlantic):

Some people who aren’t familiar with the mortgage market might have gasped as they read the news that Bank of America would pay $3 billion to government-sponsored mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. After all, $3 billion sounds like a lot of money. “Maybe BOA is finally getting what it deserves,” some naive bank-haters might have exclaimed. In fact, paying this sum is an incredible win for the bank. The penalty is so small that it’s effectively insignificant.

A Drop in the Bucket

For starters, it’s important to remember that Bank of America also means Countrywide. After purchasing the ailing mortgage company in 2008, Countrywide’s problems became BoA’s problems. And according to the press release, this $3 billion loss provision the bank is taking should cover all Countrywide/BoA mortgages sold or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie during the housing bubble.

How much is that? According to a Washington Post article on the story, it covers a BoA-Countrywide portfolio of about $530 billion held by Fannie and Freddie. That puts the loss rate on these loans that BoA will be responsible for at less than 1%. You don’t need to be a mortgage analyst to know that a 1% loss doesn’t begin to characterize housing’s deterioration.

No Wonder the Market Celebrated

After this revelation struck, financial stocks were broadly up yesterday. This should come as no surprise. BoA-Countrywide together were originating more than to one-quarter of the mortgages created when the housing market was humming along in the middle of the last decade. If the losses imposed by Fannie and Freddie’s put-backs are in the couple billion dollar range for BoA-Countrywide, then you only need to multiply by three to figure out what the rest of the market probably owes.

If this settlement is any indication, then the other banks and probably won’t be responsible for much more than $9 billion of put-backs from the government entities. That’s a loss they would be happy to endure, considering that the downside could have been well into the tens of billions of dollars. No wonder they’re celebrating.

A Backdoor Bailout?

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Dec 16

If Nostradamus were alive today, he’d have a hard time keeping up with Gerald Celente.
– New York Post

When CNN wants to know about the Top Trends, we ask Gerald Celente.
– CNN Headline News

There’s not a better trend forecaster than Gerald Celente. The man knows what he’s talking about.

Those who take their predictions seriously … consider the Trends Research Institute.
– The Wall Street Journal

A network of 25 experts whose range of specialties would rival many university faculties.
– The Economist

Rage against the Fed, the Media and all things else

Added:15. December 2010

On Wikileaks:

Who Is Really Behind Wikileaks?

Wikileaks: A US Government Con Job

–  Wikileaks: Brought to you by the CIA or Mossad

More with Gerald Celente:

America – The End of Liberty (Documentary)

Interview With Gerald Celente: The Gestapo of Food

Overdose – The Next Financial Crisis (Documentary)

The No.1 Trend Forecaster Gerald Celente: And Now We’re Headed For The GREATEST Depression

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dec 13

Bank of America has admitted it committed fraud in the bond derivatives market and will pay 137.3 million in damages

WASHINGTON — US banking giant Bank of America has admitted it committed fraud in the municipal bond derivatives market and will pay 137.3 million dollars in damages, the government said Tuesday.

“Bank of America entities have agreed to pay a total of 137.3 million dollars in restitution to federal and state agencies for its participation in a conspiracy to rig bids in the municipal bond derivatives market,” the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Bank of America entered into agreements with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Office of the Comptroller of Currency and 20 state attorneys general, the department said.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Dec 03

Related articles:

Federal Reserve Withholds Collateral Data for $885 Billion in Financial-Crisis Loans

UK Banks Borrowed More Than $1 Trillion From US Federal Reserve

Has the Federal Reserve become the central bank of the world?

Federal Reserve to Name Recipients of $3.3 Trillion in Aid During Crisis

Top recipients of overnight loans made by the Federal Reserve under special program that ran from March 2008 through May 2009.

NEW YORK ( — The Federal Reserve made $9 trillion in overnight loans to major banks and Wall Street firms during the financial crisis, according to newly revealed data released Wednesday.

The loans were made through a special loan program set up by the Fed in the wake of the Bear Stearns collapse in March 2008 to keep the nation’s bond markets trading normally.

The amount of cash being pumped out to the financial giants was not previously disclosed. All the loans were backed by collateral and all were paid back with a very low interest rate to the Fed — an annual rate of between 0.5% to 3.5%.

Still, the total amount was a surprise, even to some who had followed the Fed’s rescue efforts closely.

“That’s a real number, even for the Fed,” said FusionIQ’s Barry Ritholtz, author of the book “Bailout Nation.” While the fact that the markets were in trouble was already well known, he said the amount of help they needed is still surprising.

“It makes it very clear this was a very serious, very unusual situation,” he said.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dec 03

Related articles:

Federal Reserve Withholds Collateral Data for $885 Billion in Financial-Crisis Loans

Federal Reserve Made $9 Trillion In Emergency Overnight Loans

UK Banks Borrowed More Than $1 Trillion From US Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve to Name Recipients of $3.3 Trillion in Aid During Crisis

UBS was the biggest borrower under the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, with $74.5 billion overall, more than twice as much as Citigroup Inc., the top U.S. bank recipient, according to the data released yesterday.

Federal Reserve data showing UBS AG and Barclays Plc ranked among the top users of $3.3 trillion from emergency programs is stoking debate on whether U.S. regulators bear responsibility for aiding other nations’ banks.

UBS was the biggest borrower under the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, with $74.5 billion overall, more than twice as much as Citigroup Inc., the top U.S. bank recipient, according to the data released yesterday. London-based Barclays Plc took the biggest single amount under another program that made overnight loans, when it got $47.9 billion on Sept. 18, 2008.

“We’re talking about huge sums of money going to bail out large foreign banks,” said Senator Bernard Sanders, the Vermont independent who wrote the provision in the Dodd-Frank Act that required the Fed disclosures. “Has the Federal Reserve become the central bank of the world? I think that is a question that needs to be examined.”

The first detailed accounting of U.S. efforts to spare European banks may add to scrutiny of the central bank, already at its most intense in three decades. The Fed, which released data on 21,000 transactions, said in a statement that its 11 emergency programs helped stabilize markets and support economic recovery. The Fed said there have been no credit losses on rescue programs that have been closed.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oct 26

Complete administrations should have been fired a long time ago:

Elite Puppet President Obama Exposed

Even firing complete administrations would not solve the problem, because they are all only puppets of the elitists that OWN governments (all big parties), the Federal Reserve, other central banks, the big corporations and the mass media worldwide.

The Rothschild Documentary

Added: 25. October 2010

The fraudulent CEOs looted with impunity, were left in power, and were granted their fondest wish when Congress, at the behest of the Chamber of Commerce, Chairman Bernanke, and the bankers’ trade associations, successfully extorted the professional Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to turn the accounting rules into a farce.

The FASB’s new rules allowed the banks (and the Fed, which has taken over a trillion dollars in toxic mortgages as wholly inadequate collateral) to refuse to recognize hundreds of billions of dollars of losses. This accounting scam produces enormous fictional “income” and “capital” at the banks.

The fictional income produces real bonuses to the CEOs that make them even wealthier. The fictional bank capital allows the regulators to evade their statutory duties under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) law to close the insolvent and failing banks.

See also:

Prof. William Black’s Testimony on Lehman Bankruptcy: ‘Lehman Was The Leading Purveyor of Liars’ Loans in The World’ (Transcript & Video)

Prof. William Black: Timothy Geithner ‘Burned Billions,’ Shafted Taxpayers on CIT Loan

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oct 20

CHICAGO – Two of the largest U.S. mortgage servicers have said they will resume home foreclosures, but a big-city sheriff has news for them: he won’t enforce their foreclosure evictions.

The sheriff for Cook County, Illinois, which includes the city of Chicago, said on Tuesday he will not enforce foreclosure evictions for Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase and Co. and GMAC Mortgage/Ally Financial until they prove those foreclosures were handled “properly and legally.”

Bank of America, the largest U.S. mortgage servicer, and GMAC, on Monday both announced rollbacks from their foreclosure moratoriums.

The announcement by Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart comes after weeks of damaging accusations of shoddy paperwork that may have caused some people to be illegally evicted from their homes.

“I can’t possibly be expected to evict people from their homes when the banks themselves can’t say for sure everything was done properly,” Dart said in the statement.

“I need some kind of assurance that we aren’t evicting families based on fraudulent behavior by the banks. Until that happens, I can’t in good conscience keep carrying out evictions involving these banks,” he added.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Oct 08

Oct. 08 (Bloomberg) — Bank of America Corp., the biggest U.S. lender, extended a freeze on foreclosures to all 50 states as concern spread among federal and local officials that homes are being seized based on false data.

“We will stop foreclosure sales until our assessment has been satisfactorily completed,” the Charlotte, North Carolina- based company said today in a statement. “Our ongoing assessment shows the basis for foreclosure decisions is accurate.”

Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Ally Financial Inc. already froze foreclosures in 23 states where courts supervise home seizures amid allegations that employees used unverified or false data to speed the process. Bank of America’s new policy extends its moratorium to the entire nation, and the announcement spurred more demands from public officials and community groups for other banks to follow suit.

“We have a lot of people raising questions,” Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan said today in an interview in Washington before a scheduled speech to the National Press Club. The review “will take a few weeks” and is an effort “to clear the air,” he said.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. halted sales of foreclosed homes for a month to review documents in its mortgage servicing procedures, according to an Oct. 4 memo the bank sent to lawyers handling the lender’s foreclosures.

Bank of America rose 3 cents to $13.34 at 12:57 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares lost 12 percent this year through yesterday.

Fraud Concern

At least seven states are investigating claims that home lenders and loan servicers took shortcuts to speed foreclosures. Attorneys general in Ohio and Connecticut have said some of the practices used by banks to take away homes may amount to fraud. Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh last week asked the nation’s seven biggest lenders to review foreclosures for defective documents, spokesman Bryan Hubbard said.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Sep 18


US Outlook: Even regulators have taken to using the phrase “window dressing” to describe Wall Street banks’ habit of reducing their short-term borrowings for a few days around the end of each quarter, in order to make themselves look less risky than they really are.

Window dressing is too benign a term. What banks, led by Lehman Brothers, but also including Bank of America and Citigroup, have been doing is much worse than simply dressing up their finest wares in the shop-front window. It is more like finding an Oscar de la Renta dress in the window of a Wal-Mart. It is misleading, and often deliberately so.

Thanks to an examiner’s report commissioned by the bankruptcy courts, we know that Lehman even had a name for the accounting trick: Repo 105. At the end of each quarter before its collapse in 2008, Lehman was able to make its balance sheet look $50bn (£32bn) lighter than it really was, deceiving worried investors who were pressing it to reduce its leverage.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Jul 24

Added: 11. July 2010

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jun 30

Listen to Catherine Austin Fitts in this video from 2008:

Former Assistant Secretary of Housing: The U.S. is the Global Leader in Illegal Money Laundering

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent inspects a vehicle heading into the U.S. at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego.(Bloomberg)

Just before sunset on April 10, 2006, a DC-9 jet landed at the international airport in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, 500 miles east of Mexico City. As soldiers on the ground approached the plane, the crew tried to shoo them away, saying there was a dangerous oil leak. So the troops grew suspicious and searched the jet.

They found 128 black suitcases, packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100 million. The stash was supposed to have been delivered from Caracas to drug traffickers in Toluca, near Mexico City, Mexican prosecutors later found. Law enforcement officials also discovered something else.

The smugglers had bought the DC-9 with laundered funds they transferred through two of the biggest banks in the U.S.: Wachovia Corp. and Bank of America Corp., Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its August 2010 issue.

This was no isolated incident. Wachovia, it turns out, had made a habit of helping move money for Mexican drug smugglers. Wells Fargo & Co., which bought Wachovia in 2008, has admitted in court that its unit failed to monitor and report suspected money laundering by narcotics traffickers — including the cash used to buy four planes that shipped a total of 22 tons of cocaine.

The admission came in an agreement that Charlotte, North Carolina-based Wachovia struck with federal prosecutors in March, and it sheds light on the largely undocumented role of U.S. banks in contributing to the violent drug trade that has convulsed Mexico for the past four years.

‘Blatant Disregard’

Wachovia admitted it didn’t do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. That’s the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history — a sum equal to one-third of Mexico’s current gross domestic product.

“Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations,” says Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor who handled the case.

Since 2006, more than 22,000 people have been killed in drug-related battles that have raged mostly along the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border that Mexico shares with the U.S. In the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, 700 people had been murdered this year as of mid- June. Six Juarez police officers were slaughtered by automatic weapons fire in a midday ambush in April.

Rondolfo Torre, the leading candidate for governor in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, was gunned down yesterday, less than a week before elections in which violence related to drug trafficking was a central issue.

45,000 Troops

Mexican President Felipe Calderon vowed to crush the drug cartels when he took office in December 2006, and he’s since deployed 45,000 troops to fight the cartels. They’ve had little success.

Among the dead are police, soldiers, journalists and ordinary citizens. The U.S. has pledged Mexico $1.1 billion in the past two years to aid in the fight against narcotics cartels.

In May, President Barack Obama said he’d send 1,200 National Guard troops, adding to the 17,400 agents on the U.S. side of the border to help stem drug traffic and illegal immigration.

Behind the carnage in Mexico is an industry that supplies hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines to Americans. The cartels have built a network of dealers in 231 U.S. cities from coast to coast, taking in about $39 billion in sales annually, according to the Justice Department.

‘You’re Missing the Point’

Twenty million people in the U.S. regularly use illegal drugs, spurring street crime and wrecking families. Narcotics cost the U.S. economy $215 billion a year — enough to cover health care for 30.9 million Americans — in overburdened courts, prisons and hospitals and lost productivity, the department says.

“It’s the banks laundering money for the cartels that finances the tragedy,” says Martin Woods, director of Wachovia’s anti-money-laundering unit in London from 2006 to 2009. Woods says he quit the bank in disgust after executives ignored his documentation that drug dealers were funneling money through Wachovia’s branch network.

“If you don’t see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 22,000 people killed in Mexico, you’re missing the point,” Woods says.

Cleansing Dirty Cash

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jun 01

Congress looked serious about finance reform – until America’s biggest banks unleashed an army of 2,000 paid lobbyists

This article originally appeared in RS 1106 from June 10, 2010.

(Rolling Stone Magazine) — It’s early May in Washington, and something very weird is in the air. As Chris Dodd, Harry Reid and the rest of the compulsive dealmakers in the Senate barrel toward the finish line of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act – the massive, year-in-the-making effort to clean up the Wall Street crime swamp – word starts to spread on Capitol Hill that somebody forgot to kill the important reforms in the bill. As of the first week in May, the legislation still contains aggressive measures that could cost once-indomitable behemoths like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase tens of billions of dollars. Somehow, the bill has escaped the usual Senate-whorehouse orgy of mutual back-scratching, fine-print compromises and freeway-wide loopholes that screw any chance of meaningful change.

The real shocker is a thing known among Senate insiders as “716.” This section of an amendment would force America’s banking giants to either forgo their access to the public teat they receive through the Federal Reserve’s discount window, or give up the insanely risky, casino-style bets they’ve been making on derivatives. That means no more pawning off predatory interest-rate swaps on suckers in Greece, no more gathering balls of subprime shit into incomprehensible debt deals, no more getting idiot bookies like AIG to wrap the crappy mortgages in phony insurance. In short, 716 would take a chain saw to one of Wall Street’s most lucrative profit centers: Five of America’s biggest banks (Goldman, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup) raked in some $30 billion in over-the-counter derivatives last year. By some estimates, more than half of JP Morgan’s trading revenue between 2006 and 2008 came from such derivatives. If 716 goes through, it would be a veritable Hiroshima to the era of greed. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mar 27

A Wall Street sign hangs near the New York Stock Exchange in New York, on Dec. 18, 2009. (Bloomberg)

March 26 (Bloomberg) — JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and UBS AG were among more than a dozen Wall Street firms involved in a conspiracy to pay below-market interest rates to U.S. state and local governments on investments, according to documents filed in a U.S. Justice Department criminal antitrust case.

A government list of previously unidentified “co- conspirators” contains more than two dozen bankers at firms also including Bank of America Corp., Bear Stearns Cos., Societe Generale, two of General Electric Co.’s financial businesses and Salomon Smith Barney, the former unit of Citigroup Inc., according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on March 24. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mar 16

See also:

Dylan Ratigan & Eliot Spitzer on The Lehman Brothers Report

Timmy-Gate Takes a Turn For The Worse: Did Geithner Help Lehman Hide Accounting Tricks?

Timothy Geithner at the Council on Foreign Relations

By L. Randall Wray

L. Randall Wray, Ph.D. is Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Research Director with the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability and Senior Research Scholar at The Levy Economics Institute. His research expertise is in: financial instability, macroeconomics, and full employment policy.

Just when you thought that nothing could stink more than Timothy Geithner’s handling of the AIG bailout, a new report details how Geithner’s New York Fed allowed Lehman Brothers to use an accounting gimmick to hide debt. The report, which runs to 2200 pages, was released by Anton Valukas, the court-appointed examiner. It actually makes the AIG bailout look tame by comparison. It is now crystal clear why Geithner’s Treasury as well as Bernanke’s Fed refuse to allow any light to shine on the massive cover-up underway.

Recall that the New York Fed arranged for AIG to pay one hundred cents on the dollar on bad debts to its counterparties-benefiting Goldman Sachs and a handful of other favored Wall Street firms. (see here) The purported reason is that Geithner so feared any negative repercussions resulting from debt write-downs that he wanted Uncle Sam to make sure that Wall Street banks could not lose on bad bets. Now we find that Geithner’s NYFed supported Lehman’s efforts to conceal the extent of its problems. (see here) Not only did the NYFed fail to blow the whistle on flagrant accounting tricks, it also helped to hide Lehman’s illiquid assets on the Fed’s balance sheet to make its position look better. Note that the NY Fed had increased its supervision to the point that it was going over Lehman’s books daily; further, it continued to take trash off the books of Lehman right up to the bitter end, helping to perpetuate the fraud that was designed to maintain the pretense that Lehman was not massively insolvent. (see here)

Geithner told Congress that he has never been a regulator. (see here) That is a quite honest assessment of his job performance, although it is completely inaccurate as a description of his duties as President of the NYFed. Apparently, Geithner has never met an accounting gimmick that he does not like, if it appears to improve the reported finances of a Wall Street firm. We will leave to the side his own checkered past as a taxpayer, although one might question the wisdom of appointing someone who is apparently insufficiently skilled to file accurate tax returns to a position as our nation’s chief tax collector. What is far more troubling is that he now heads the Treasury – which means that he is not only responsible for managing two regulatory units (the FDIC and OCC), but also that he has got hold of the government’s purse strings. How many more billions or trillions will he commit to a futile effort to help Wall Street avoid its losses? Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mar 15

Goldman Sachs Demands Collateral It Won’t Dish Out

Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., speaks during a session on day two of the World Economic Forum in Davos, on Jan. 24, 2008. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

March 15 (Bloomberg) — Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., two of the biggest traders of over-the- counter derivatives, are exploiting their growing clout in that market to secure cheap funding in addition to billions in revenue from the business.

Both New York-based banks are demanding unequal arrangements with hedge-fund firms, forcing them to post more cash collateral to offset risks on trades while putting up less on their own wagers. At the end of December this imbalance furnished Goldman Sachs with $110 billion, according to a filing. That’s money it can reinvest in higher-yielding assets.

“If you’re seen as a major player and you have a product that people can’t get elsewhere, you have the negotiating power,” said Richard Lindsey, a former director of market regulation at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who ran the prime brokerage unit at Bear Stearns Cos. from 1999 to 2006. “Goldman and a handful of other banks are the places where people can get over-the-counter products today.” Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 19

Goldman Sachs and other big banks aren’t just pocketing the trillions we gave them to rescue the economy – they’re re-creating the conditions for another crash


On January 21st, Lloyd Blankfein left a peculiar voicemail message on the work phones of his employees at Goldman Sachs. Fast becoming America’s pre-eminent Marvel Comics supervillain, the CEO used the call to deploy his secret weapon: a pair of giant, nuclear-powered testicles. In his message, Blankfein addressed his plan to pay out gigantic year-end bonuses amid widespread controversy over Goldman’s role in precipitating the global financial crisis.

The bank had already set aside a tidy $16.2 billion for salaries and bonuses – meaning that Goldman employees were each set to take home an average of $498,246, a number roughly commensurate with what they received during the bubble years. Still, the troops were worried: There were rumors that Dr. Ballsachs, bowing to political pressure, might be forced to scale the number back. After all, the country was broke, 14.8 million Americans were stranded on the unemployment line, and Barack Obama and the Democrats were trying to recover the populist high ground after their bitch-whipping in Massachusetts by calling for a “bailout tax” on banks. Maybe this wasn’t the right time for Goldman to be throwing its annual Roman bonus orgy.

Not to worry, Blankfein reassured employees. “In a year that proved to have no shortage of story lines,” he said, “I believe very strongly that performance is the ultimate narrative.”

Translation: We made a shitload of money last year because we’re so amazing at our jobs, so fuck all those people who want us to reduce our bonuses.

Goldman wasn’t alone. The nation’s six largest banks – all committed to this balls-out, I drink your milkshake! strategy of flagrantly gorging themselves as America goes hungry – set aside a whopping $140 billion for executive compensation last year, a sum only slightly less than the $164 billion they paid themselves in the pre-crash year of 2007. In a gesture of self-sacrifice, Blankfein himself took a humiliatingly low bonus of $9 million, less than the 2009 pay of elephantine New York Knicks washout Eddy Curry. But in reality, not much had changed. “What is the state of our moral being when Lloyd Blankfein taking a $9 million bonus is viewed as this great act of contrition, when every penny of it was a direct transfer from the taxpayer?” asks Eliot Spitzer, who tried to hold Wall Street accountable during his own ill-fated stint as governor of New York.

Beyond a few such bleats of outrage, however, the huge payout was met, by and large, with a collective sigh of resignation. Because beneath America’s populist veneer, on a more subtle strata of the national psyche, there remains a strong temptation to not really give a shit. The rich, after all, have always made way too much money; what’s the difference if some fat cat in New York pockets $20 million instead of $10 million?

The only reason such apathy exists, however, is because there’s still a widespread misunderstanding of how exactly Wall Street “earns” its money, with emphasis on the quotation marks around “earns.” The question everyone should be asking, as one bailout recipient after another posts massive profits – Goldman reported $13.4 billion in profits last year, after paying out that $16.2 billion in bonuses and compensation – is this: In an economy as horrible as ours, with every factory town between New York and Los Angeles looking like those hollowed-out ghost ships we see on History Channel documentaries like Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, where in the hell did Wall Street’s eye-popping profits come from, exactly? Did Goldman go from bailout city to $13.4 billion in the black because, as Blankfein suggests, its “performance” was just that awesome? A year and a half after they were minutes away from bankruptcy, how are these assholes not only back on their feet again, but hauling in bonuses at the same rate they were during the bubble?

The answer to that question is basically twofold: They raped the taxpayer, and they raped their clients. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Feb 04

Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) — Italy’s financial police are seizing 73.3 million euros ($102 million) of assets from Bank of America Corp. and a unit of Dexia SA as part of a probe into an alleged derivatives fraud in the region of Apulia.

Police are investigating losses on derivatives linked to the sale of 870 million euros of bonds sold by the regional government in 2003 and 2004, according to an e-mail from the prosecutor’s office in Bari today. The banks misled the municipality, located in the heel of Italy, on the economic advantages of the transaction and concealed their fees, the prosecutor said.

The region, also known as Puglia, joins more than 519 Italian municipalities that face 990 million euros in derivatives losses, according to data compiled by the Bank of Italy. In Milan, prosecutors seized assets from four banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS AG in April and requested they stand trial for alleged fraud. Hearings started this month.

“Italy, like other countries, is full of these examples,” said Dario Loiacono, a banking lawyer in Milan who isn’t involved in the case. “It’s the result of the unavoidable asymmetry of information between the banks and the municipal borrowers.” Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Nov 27

Abu Dhabi Gets Pressure on Dubai (Wall Street Journal)

Dubai debt crisis triggers Wall Street sell off (Telegraph)

Dubai expansion fuelled by years of cheap money (Independent)

The Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest skyscraper, towers over buildings under construction in the Business Bay area in Dubai, on Nov. 24, 2009. Photographer: Charles Crowell/Bloomberg

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) — Dubai’s debt woes may worsen to become a “major sovereign default” that roils developing nations and cuts off capital flows to emerging markets, Bank of America Corp. said.

“One cannot rule out — as a tail risk — a case where this would escalate into a major sovereign default problem, which would then resonate across global emerging markets in the same way that Argentina did in the early 2000s or Russia in the late 1990s,” Bank of America strategists Benoit Anne and Daniel Tenengauzer wrote in a report.

A default would lead to a “sudden stop of capital flows into emerging markets” and be a “major step back” in the recovery from the global financial crisis, they wrote.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , ,

Oct 23

“When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Added: 22. October 2009

Fall Of The Republic documents how an offshore corporate cartel is bankrupting the US economy by design. Leaders are now declaring that world government has arrived and that the dollar will be replaced by a new global currency.

President Obama has brazenly violated Article 1 Section 9 of the US Constitution by seating himself at the head of United Nations’ Security Council, thus becoming the first US president to chair the world body.

A scientific dictatorship is in its final stages of completion, and laws protecting basic human rights are being abolished worldwide; an iron curtain of high-tech tyranny is now descending over the planet.

A worldwide regime controlled by an unelected corporate elite is implementing a planetary carbon tax system that will dominate all human activity and establish a system of neo-feudal slavery.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oct 10

Current Numbers Dont Add Up To Recovery


This past week the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) released the September unemployment statistics and they worsened as usual, as America enjoys its recovery.

U-1-Those unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force was 5.4%.

U-2-Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the labor force was 6.8%.

U-3-Total unemployed, as a percentage of the civilian labor force, the official unemployment rate, 9.8%.

U-4-Discouraged workers 10.2%.

U-5-Total unemployed plus discharged workers, plus marginally attached workers 11.1%.

U-6-Total unemployed as a percent of the civilian labor force 17%.

If the birth/death ratio is removed, U-6 is in reality 21.3% total US unemployment. The estimate is that 824,000, more jobs may be extracted from the payroll count for the 12-months ended next March. Such a revision would be the biggest since 1991. The BLS is underestimating job losses deliberately and has been for a long time. That would mean September’s loss would be some 300,000 not 263,000.

Such a revision would put job losses not at 4.8 million but 5.6 million jobs.

This is how government has operated for some time and will continue to as long as we allow them too.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oct 05

If people trust the US government and the Federal Reserve, then they are doomed and they deserve it, because they haven’t done they research.

Why would you trust somebody that has been caught lying and stealing almost all of the time?

Why would you trust somebody that has brought down the value of the US dollar to 5 cents compared to 1913, when the Federal Reserve banksters took over?

Why would you trust somebody that has stolen essentially 95% of your money?

Why would you trust somebody that threatens with an economic meltdown if you would take a look into their books?

Senior Officials Had Financial Concerns About Nine Bank Instiutions Receiving TARP Funds

The chief watchdog for the government’s $700 billion bailout program says federal officials were trying to contain the worst financial crisis in decades last year with the Troubled Asset Relief Program, but they had concerns about the bank institutions’ financial health. (ABC News Photo Illustration)

The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve lied to the American public last fall when they said that the first nine banks to receive government bailout funds were healthy, a government watchdog states in a new report released today.

Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), says that despite multiple statements on Oct. 14 of last year that these nine banks were healthy and only receiving government funds for the good of the country’s economy, federal officials knew otherwise.

“Contemporaneous reports and officials’ statements to SIGTARP during this audit indicate that there were concerns about the health of several of the nine institutions at that time and, as detailed in this report, that their overall selection was far more a result of the officials’ belief in their importance to a system that was viewed as being vulnerable to collapse than concerns about their individual health and viability,” Barofsky says.

Last October, the government was in the midst of trying to contain the worst financial crisis in decades. On Sept. 7, 2008, mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed under conservatorship. On Sept. 15, the massive investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. The next day, insurance giant AIG needed an $85 billion government loan to avoid collapse.

On Oct. 13, after Congress had passed the $700 billion financial bailout program earlier that month, Treasury provided capital injections for nine institutions that together held over $11 trillion in assets: Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, State Street and the Bank of New York Mellon. As of June 2008, these nine banks accounted for around 75 percent of all assets held by U.S. banks.

In announcing the initial $125 billion provided to these banks, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson on Oct. 14 said,These are healthy institutions, and they have taken this step for the good of the U.S. economy. As these healthy institutions increase their capital base, they will be able to increase their funding to U.S. consumers and businesses.”

That same day, the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the FDIC also released a joint statement reiterating that “these healthy institutions are taking these steps to strengthen their own positions and to enhance the overall performance of the US economy.” Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sep 20

Related article: Eliot Spitzer: Federal Reserve is a Ponzi scheme, an inside job:
The Federal Reserve – the quasi-autonomous body that controls the US’s money supply – is a “Ponzi scheme” that created “bubble after bubble” in the US economy and needs to be held accountable for its actions, says Eliot Spitzer, the former governor and attorney-general of New York.

Is a political scandal brewing in New York? A year and a half after taking over for a disgraced Spitzer, Paterson is now at war with everyone, but most notable the New York State Budget, and now, the President.

Reports the New York Times:

President Obama has sent a request to Gov. David A. Paterson that he withdraw from the New York governor’s race, fearing that Mr. Paterson cannot recover from his dismal political standing, according to two senior administration officials and a New York Democratic operative with direct knowledge of the situation.
The decision to ask Mr. Paterson to step aside was proposed by political advisers to Mr. Obama, but approved by the president himself, one of the administration officials said.
“Is there concern about the situation in New York? Absolutely,” the second administration official said Saturday evening. “Has that concern been conveyed to the governor? Yes.”
The president’s request was conveyed to the Mr. Paterson by Representative Gregory W. Meeks, a Queens Democrat, who has developed a strong relationship with the Obama administration, they said.

Yet Paterson seems unwilling to pull a Perella-Weinberg just yet:

“The message the White House wanted to send – that it wants Paterson to step aside – was delivered,” said the Democratic operative,, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were intended to be confidential. “He is resistant.”

What is the reason for this escalation? Simple – Bank Of America, and SEC-gate. Throw in some potential race issues, and you have one clusterfuck of a situation about to develop:

Now, Mr. Cuomo effectively has the blessing of the nation’s first black president to run against New York’s first black governor. That will probably neutralize any criticism he may face among the governor’s prominent black allies, including Representative Charles B. Rangel of Harlem, who warned this year that the party would become racially polarized if Mr. Cuomo took on Mr. Paterson.

With Andrew Cuomo now elbow deep in the Merrill bonus investigation, and likely about to file criminal charges against Ken Lewis any minute, what better way to shut him up than to promote him immediately to the post he will obtain sooner or later anyway. If in the meantime, the Faustian bargain between Lewis and Paulson/Bernanke can be retained without Lewis actually going to jail for folding like a lawn chair to threats about his job security by the Chairman, so much the better. As for the simple matter of how and why the President can so blatantly interfere in State affairs, and specifically nudging the direction of popular elections, which ultimately are the domain purely of US citizens, it is likely that nobody will care.

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/19/2009

Source: ZeroHedge

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sep 16

And now the credit card crisis. Who will bailout the US consumers?

“The defaults are a wake-up call for those expecting a V-shaped recovery.”

V-shape recovery? There is no recovery:

Job Losses: The Scariest Chart Ever

American Express and MasterCard credit cards are shown in Washington June 25, 2008. (REUTERS)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc customers defaulted on their credit card debts in August at the highest rates since the onset of the recession, a sign that the banks’ consumer lending woes are far from over.

The trend was echoed among most other major credit card issuers, dashing optimism sparked when many banks and specialty finance companies reported lower default rates for July.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , ,