Sep 02

From the article:

Comment: It’s not “socialism for the rich”; that’s an oxymoron.

It’s corporatism, i.e. fascism, as defined by Benito Mussolini.


Audit of the Federal Reserve Reveals $16 Trillion in Secret Bailouts (Sott.net, Sep 1, 2012):

The first ever GAO (Government Accountability Office) audit of the Federal Reserve was carried out in the past few months due to the Ron Paul, Alan Grayson Amendment to the Dodd-Frank bill, which passed last year. Jim DeMint, a Republican Senator, and Bernie Sanders, an independent Senator, led the charge for a Federal Reserve audit in the Senate, but watered down the original language of the house bill(HR1207), so that a complete audit would not be carried out.

Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, and various other bankers vehemently opposed the audit and lied to Congress about the effects an audit would have on markets. Nevertheless, the results of the first audit in the Federal Reserve’s nearly 100 year history were posted on Senator Sander’s webpage earlier this morning.

What was revealed in the audit was startling:
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Dec 04

See also:

Gerald Celente Endorses Ron Paul For President – ‘The Entire Economic System Is Collapsing’ – ‘Fascism Has Come To America In Every Form’ (Video – Nov. 29, 2011)


Have You Heard About The 16 Trillion Dollar Bailout The Federal Reserve Handed To The Too Big To Fail Banks? (The Econonomic collapse, Dec. 2, 2011):

What you are about to read should absolutely astound you.  During the last financial crisis, the Federal Reserve secretly conducted the biggest bailout in the history of the world, and the Fed fought in court for several years to keep it a secret.  Do you remember the TARP bailout?  The American people were absolutely outraged that the federal government spent 700 billion dollars bailing out the “too big to fail” banks.  Well, that bailout was pocket change compared to what the Federal Reserve did.  As you will see documented below, the Federal Reserve actually handed more than 16 trillion dollars in nearly interest-free money to the “too big to fail” banks between 2007 and 2010.  So have you heard about this on the nightly news?  Probably not.  Lately Bloomberg has been reporting on some of this, but even they are not giving people the whole picture.  The American people need to be told about this 16 trillion dollar bailout, because it is a perfect example of why the Federal Reserve needs to be shut down.  The Federal Reserve has been actively picking “winners” and “losers” in the financial system, and it turns out that the “friends” of the Fed always get bailed out and always end up among the “winners”.  This is not how a free market system is supposed to work.

According to the limited GAO audit of the Federal Reserve that was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the grand total of all the secret bailouts conducted by the Federal Reserve during the last financial crisis comes to a whopping $16.1 trillion.

Continue reading »

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Aug 19



Tensions Explode On CNBC, As Simon Hobbs Tells Cramer: “You Told People To Buy Bear Stearns!” (Business Insider, Aug 18, 2011):

A debate between CNBC anchors Jim Cramer and Simon Hobbs went out of control this morning amid the European bank rout.

Cramer opined that traders have to consider the possibility that this is a Lehman moment, and after the commercial break Hobbs cries foul over the comment.

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Jun 06

The Real “Margin” Threat: $600 Trillion In OTC Derivatives, A Multi-Trillion Variation Margin Call, And A Collateral Scramble That Could Send US Treasurys To All Time Records… (ZeroHedge, June 6, 2011)

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May 05

Don’t blame American appetites, rising oil prices, or genetically modified crops for rising food prices. Wall Street’s at fault for the spiraling cost of food.



Demand and supply certainly matter. But there’s another reason why food across the world has become so expensive: Wall Street greed.

It took the brilliant minds of Goldman Sachs to realize the simple truth that nothing is more valuable than our daily bread. And where there’s value, there’s money to be made. In 1991, Goldman bankers, led by their prescient president Gary Cohn, came up with a new kind of investment product, a derivative that tracked 24 raw materials, from precious metals and energy to coffee, cocoa, cattle, corn, hogs, soy, and wheat. They weighted the investment value of each element, blended and commingled the parts into sums, then reduced what had been a complicated collection of real things into a mathematical formula that could be expressed as a single manifestation, to be known henceforth as the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI).

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Mar 11

Each day this week, silver has been hammered down at approximately 9:00 am EST. Now, we all know that this isn’t atypical…the EE have been doing this for years and we did see copper sell off at roughly the same time. However, several readers have brought to my attention the little nugget below and I think it requires your serious consideration.

(Click on image to enlarge.)


First things first, here’s a 15-minute May silver chart to peruse. Keep in mind that today’s smackdown was in the face of ongoing strength in gold and crude, so, silver acted somewhat independently.

“WB: JPM is in worse shape then we ever dared to hope 20-Nov-10 07:06 am

Blythe,

This is what I am now hearing from traders on the floor. These traders are not even sure if Blythe knows the full extent of JPM’s silver exposure.

When I first started to realize that JPM has shorted far more silver than they could ever hope to cover, my first question was “why would they do that?” Not only that, why do it with a commodity where you must report your positions through the COT and Bank Participation Report? After all,the whole world can see what you are doing. [my added comment: Ted Butler included!]

Now I know the answer. According to Max Keiser and now a couple of other independent sources, it seems the reasons why first Bear Stearns and now JPM are so desperate to manipulate the price of silver down is due to the fact that BS and JPM shorted billions (yes billions not millions) in ounces of silver through their derivatives.

Just like Joe Conason at AIG, silver shorting through derivatives have caused literally billions in losses not the millions that we know about publicly. That is why JPM has been so desperate to manipulate the price of silver downward so blatantly. If I am right about this, then JPM will be dead when silver hits $60 or so. Based upon the COT and BPR, if silver hits $60, JPM will lose around an additional $6 billion dollars, a large number but not nearly large enough to bring down mighty JPM.

But what is not known is that due to the way that its derivatives are written, JPM’s losses are exponentional once silver breaks $36 or so. Rumors has it that JPM could be losing as much as $40 billion once silver is above $50. It has something to do with how the derivatives are written with payment tied to the price of silver.

Since JPM was a price manipulator with respectt to the price of silver, JPM assumed that any derivative payments tied to silver would be less than they would be tied to some other index like the CPI or TIPS implied inflation index. JPM’s inability to hold down the price of silver relative to other measures of inflation will cause unbelievable losses due to a mismatch in their derivative structures.

In essence,JPM has bet (a huge amount)through derivatives that silver will never outperform inflation. And why not,since JPM assumed that it will always be able to manipulate the price of silver. We have now come to understand that JPM’s loss exposure to silver is much greater than we have ever dared to hope.
WB: In an effort to clear up some recent confusion regarding my latest posting, I will try to explain what I have recently uncovered.

JPM’s current short silver position is estimated to be approximately 150 million ounces down from the recent 180 million ounces in August. The losses from these positions are easy to figure out. For every $10 rise in the price of silver, JPM will lose $1.5 billion. But what I have recently discovered is that through its derivative positions, JPM will lose about 5 times that amount ounce the price of silver is above $36. And ounce silver is above $45 dollars, JPM’s losses will increase to 8 times the amount of losses in their short positions. The reason is that as the price of silver increases, certain provisions get activated which multiplies the losses.

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Mar 08

Here’s an extended excerpt from the Weekly Review sent to subscribers on March 5 –

The big surprise was in the silver COT, where the big 4 increased their net short position by 3000 contracts on the previously mentioned reduction of 1300 contracts in the total commercial net short position. This increase in the big four’s short position broke the pattern of a reduction in the concentrated short silver position that had been in force for months. The increase in the concentrated short silver position was so unexpected by me that I thought, at first, it must have been a mistake. Since the Bank Participation Report was released late yesterday, an hour or two after the COT, my first thought in the interim was that it would not be JPMorgan increasing its concentrated short position, but most likely the other three entities in the big four. After all, with all the negative attention (and losses) accruing to JPMorgan and its big silver short position, there would be no way JPM would have accounted for the 3000 contract increase in the COT for the big four.

If the silver COT was a surprise, then the Bank Participation Report was a shocker. There was a net increase in the US bank category of 6000 contracts to 25,000 held net short in silver. JPMorgan’s net silver short position, which had decreased by 11,000 contracts over the preceding three months to 19,000, had suddenly ballooned to 25,000 contracts (125 million ounces). From my reading of both these reports, it appears that the big increase in silver short selling by JPM took place during the last COT reporting week, even for the BP Report. Before I continue, let me explain that I consider JPMorgan to effectively account for all or the bulk of the entire US bank category in the Bank Participation Report for a variety of mathematical reasons. However, it matters little if there is another US bank also holding a significant net short position in COMEX silver, as all that would mean is that two US banks are colluding to manipulate the price of silver and not just one bank acting alone.

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Jan 28

Poor banksters:

Angry JP Morgan BANKSTER Boss Hits Out At ‘Banker Bashing’


Lawsuit alleges the bank took extreme measures to defraud investors, and now JPMorgan may be on the hook


This post has been corrected.

Former Bear Stearns mortgage executives who now run mortgage divisions of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Ally Financial have been accused of cheating and defrauding investors through the mortgage securities they created and sold while at Bear. According to e-mails and internal audits, JPMorgan had known about this fraud since the spring of 2008, but hid it from the public eye through legal maneuvering. Last week a lawsuit filed in 2008 by mortgage insurer Ambac Assurance Corp against Bear Stearns and JPMorgan was unsealed. The lawsuit’s supporting e-mails, going back as far as 2005, highlight Bear traders telling their superiors they were selling investors like Ambac a “sack of shit.”

News of internal whistleblowers coming forward from Bear’s mortgage servicing division, EMC, was first reported by The Atlantic in May of last year. Ex-EMC analysts admitted they were sometimes told to falsify loan-level performance data provided to the ratings agencies who blessed Bear’s billion-dollar deals. But according to depositions and documents in the Ambac lawsuit, Bear’s misdeeds went even deeper. They say senior traders under Tom Marano, who was a Senior Managing Director and Global Head of Mortgages for Bear and is now CEO of Ally’s mortgage operations, were pocketing cash that should have gone to securities holders after Bear had already sold them bonds and moved the loans off its books.

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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 (CNNMoney.com) — 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.

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Mar 27

wall-street-sign
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 »

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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 »

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Jul 20


July 16, 2009 C-SPAN

Hank Paulson admits to threatening Bank of America’s Ken Lewis

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Jan 28

A dozen senior bankers whose influence has shaped the financial world gave themselves pay awards valued at more than £1bn before the credit crunch spectacularly exposed the fragility of the profits they appeared to have secured for shareholders.

Although seemingly profitable during the boom, these same banks have since revealed losses, write-downs and emergency capital injections totalling more than £300bn.

In Britain, they include Barclays executives John Varley and Bob Diamond, who between them took more than £50m of awards in the past four years.

But the biggest winners were on Wall Street where Stan O’Neal – who was pushed out of Merrill Lynch in 2007 after shock losses from sub-prime mortgage investments made him one of the first high-profile casualties of the crisis – received pay, bonuses, stock and options totalling $279m (£196m) for less than nine years’ service. This is the highest amount for any Wall St executive in the Guardian’s study.

The figures are based on annual proxy statement filings in the case of US bank executives. These include a projection by the banks of the likely future value of stock and option awards. If such awards have not been cashed in they will have depreciated in value along with relevant bank share prices. Data for UK bank directors only values share-based awards that have been cashed in and therefore makes comparisons difficult.

The US bankers include Dick Fuld who presided over the collapse of Lehman Brothers – the world’s biggest ever corporate failure, which sent shockwaves throughout the global banking system last September. Fuld received annual awards totalling $191m from 1999 to 2007. The tally includes stock and options valued at the time at $111m.

Jimmy Cayne, the long-serving boss of Bear Stearns, also makes the list. Cayne received pay awards valued at $233m before Bear Stearns became the first big Wall Street investment bank to effectively fail, when it was forced to seek an emergency Federal Reserve loan in March last year.

Former US treasury secretary Hank Paulson, charged by George Bush with marshalling the $700bn taxpayer bailout efforts, had been another central Wall St figure – chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs – until joining the US government three years ago. Paulson’s taxpayer-funded troubled assets relief programme is in the process of handing out tens of billions of dollars each to firms including Goldmans, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup. Paulson’s pay awards from Goldmans totalled $170m over eight years.

His successor Lloyd Blankfein took home $231m over eight years. Fellow Goldman executive and later Merrill Lynch boss John Thain received $94.9m over six years, while Citigroup boss Sandy Weill and his successor Chuck Prince received $173m and $110m respectively over seven years.

Britain’s top five banks made two-year pre-tax profits of £76bn for 2006 and 2007 after credit and housing boom years combined with ever more exotic financial instruments to push their earning power to unprecedented heights.

Wednesday 28 January 2009
Simon Bowers

Source: The Guardian

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Dec 12

A future out of control, bankrupt financial institutions trying to hold on, limitation on credit severely limits ability of the economy to start up again, debt totally embraces our lives, handouts a state secret, soon cash infusions wont work for banks anymore, banks hold too much toxic garbage to even know if they are solvent. We are now 17 months into a credit crisis that continues to expose the corruption and incompetence of government, banking, Wall Street and transnational corporations. The situation has not stabilized and it won’t anytime soon. All we see are sweetheart deals for elitist corporations for which American taxpayers will pay for years to come. The future of our nation is totally out of control. For the last eight years our economy has been running on something for nothing, lies and deceit. The result will be hyperinflation and then the Second Great Depression. Continue reading »

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Nov 21

This Is Not A Normal Recession

Moving on to Plan B

“The Winter of 2008-2009 will prove to be the winter of global economic discontent that marks the rejection of the flawed ideology that unregulated global financial markets promote financial innovation, market efficiency, unhampered growth and endless prosperity while mitigating risk by spreading it system wide.” Economists Paul Davidson and Henry C.K. Liu “Open Letter to World Leaders attending the November 15 White House Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”

The global economy is being sucked into a black hole and most Americans have no idea why. The whole problem can be narrowed down to two words; “structured finance”.

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Nov 10

The financial industry is bracing for a fresh round of job cuts as Wall Street banks slash costs to cushion the blow of further market turbulence and deepening economic woes in 2009.

Executives and analysts say the redundancies – to be finalised this month as banks prepare next year’s budgets – could top 70,000 among US groups alone and add to the estimated 150,000 jobs already lost by the financial sector worldwide.

The job losses are expected to be concentrated in the investment banking and trading businesses that have been hit hard by the near-freeze in capital markets and the collapse in takeover and financing activity.

The continued shrinking of the banking industry will deepen the economic plight of financial centres such as New York, London and Hong Kong by reducing tax revenues and putting pressure on the local housing market.

“The fourth quarter is going to be very disruptive,” Meredith Whitney, analyst at Oppenheimer, said in a video interview with the Financial Times. “For many of the capital markets intensive players, you’re going to have resizing of anywhere from 25 to 30 per cent of their workforce. But if you think about it, from the peak, revenues are down more than that.”

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Oct 25

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) — Alpha Bank & Trust in Alpharetta, Georgia, with $346 million in deposits, was seized by regulators and closed as the collapse of the housing market and loan defaults claimed a 16th U.S. bank this year.

Alpha, with $354 million in assets, was shut by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. sold the deposits to Stearns Bank N.A., of St. Cloud, Minnesota. Alpha’s two offices north of Atlanta will open on Oct. 27 as branches of Stearns Bank, the FDIC said yesterday.

Regulators have closed the most banks in 15 years, and the collapses of Washington Mutual Inc. and IndyMac Bancorp Inc. were among the biggest in history. About 4.4 percent of Alpha’s assets were defaulted real-estate loans it took back on its balance sheet, quadruple the total for most U.S. banks, based on data compiled by Charlottesville, Virginia-based SNL Financial.

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Oct 24

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) — Hundreds of hedge funds will fail and policy makers may need to shut financial markets for a week or more as the crisis forces investors to dump assets, New York University Professor Nouriel Roubini said.

“We’ve reached a situation of sheer panic,” Roubini, who predicted the financial crisis in 2006, told a conference of hedge-fund managers in London today. “There will be massive dumping of assets” and “hundreds of hedge funds are going to go bust,” he said.

Group of Seven policy makers have stopped short of market suspensions to stem the crisis after the U.S. pledged on Oct. 14 to invest about $125 billion in nine banks and the Federal Reserve led a global coordinated move to cut interest rates on Oct. 8. Emmanuel Roman, co-chief executive officer at GLG Partners Inc., said today that as many as 30 percent of hedge funds will close.

“Systemic risk has become bigger and bigger,” Roubini said at the Hedge 2008 conference. “We’re seeing the beginning of a run on a big chunk of the hedge funds,” and “don’t be surprised if policy makers need to close down markets for a week or two in coming days,” he said.

Roubini predicted in July 2006 that the U.S. would enter an economic recession. In February this year, he forecast a “catastrophic” financial meltdown that central bankers would fail to prevent, leading to the bankruptcy of large banks exposed to mortgages and a “sharp drop” in equities.

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Oct 21


A woman exits the Morgan Stanley headquarters in New York, Sept. 18, 2008. Photographer: JB Reed/Bloomberg News

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) — Wall Street had it wrong: An investment bank’s most precious asset isn’t the army of employees who head down the elevators each day. It’s the paychecks they take with them out the door.

You can imagine the devilish grins on the faces of Morgan Stanley employees last week, after the Treasury Department said it would pump $10 billion into the bank. Not only did we, the taxpayers, save their company, with the help of a Japanese bank named Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. More importantly, we funded their 2008 bonus pool.

Morgan Stanley has accrued $10.7 billion of employee- compensation expense this year, almost twice as much as its pretax earnings. The vast majority of this remuneration hasn’t been paid yet. Now it probably will be, assuming the firm survives through next month. Meantime, Morgan Stanley’s stock- market value has dropped $34.7 billion, to $21 billion, since the company’s fiscal year began.

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Oct 18

NEW YORK, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Andrew Lahde, the hedge fund founder who shot to fame with his small fund that soared 870 percent last year on bets against U.S. subprime home loans, has called it quits, thanking “stupid” traders for making him rich.

In a biting, but humorous letter to investors posted on the website of Portfolio magazine on Friday, Lahde told investors last month he will no longer manage money because his bank counterparties had become too risky.

Lahde ripped his profession in the letter. He noted another hedge-fund manager who recently closed shop and was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying: “What I have learned about the hedge fund business is that I hate it.” To which Lahde responded, “I could not agree more with that statement.

“The low-hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking,” said Lahde, who according to the website birthdates.com is 37.

“These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.”

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Oct 06

When the precious metals were smashed out of nowhere and the dollar started climbing this summer I became very worried. I didn’t question my conviction that commodities are in a bull market, or that precious metals in particular are undervalued. I felt something sinister was at work. Neither move was justified on a fundamental level. I assumed that something very bad was about to happen and the metals needed to be brought lower in advance of the bad news.

Now we have a glimpse at the ugly consequences foreseen by the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve. In early September, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were nationalized with a financial commitment of USD$200 billion from the taxpayers. Incredibly, the loan limits at the former GSEs were raised from $417,000 to $729,750 in March when it was more than obvious these institutions needed to be reined in. Like most bailouts and bank failures, this one was announced on a weekend to limit the impact on the stock markets.

As I mentioned in last month’s issue, Treasury Secretary Paulson was under severe pressure to act, as the Chinese started selling Fannie and Freddie bonds while threatening further retribution. Common shareholders were left with nothing, while bondholders like Pimco and Asian central banks benefited. The small investor was stung again, as taxpayer dollars were used to bail out foreigners and wealthy Americans in a policy that Jim Rogers terms “socialism for the rich.”

Unfortunately, $200 billion is just the tip of the iceberg. As the government has assumed responsibility for Fannie and Freddie’s $5.4 trillion in liabilities, the Congressional Budget Office correctly states that these institutions “should be directly incorporated into the federal budget.” The Bush Administration has strongly opposed this move. Continue reading »

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Oct 02

Studies show that people often fear the wrong things. We are terrified of things which probably won’t hurt us, but blissfully unconcerned with things that might really kill us (see this, this and this). So we put a tremendous amount of energy into solving non-problems, and get blindsided by things that we don’t know about or which we are too afraid to even think about.

The same applies to the economic crisis.

For example, the market for credit default swaps is larger than the entire world economy.

Credit default swaps – which were largely responsible for bringing down Bear Stearns, AIG, WaMu and other mammoth corporations – are now being taken out against the U.S. government.

So you’d think that politicians trying to prop up the teetering U.S. economy would want to cancel credit default swaps, or at least declare their value is somewhere near zero.

Nope . . . not even on their discussion list, even though it is the real economic crisis.

Instead, they are proposing things which most experts say will actually harm the economy.

Call congress and tell them to stop their political posturing, stop ignoring the derivatives elephant in the room, and either do something useful or nothing at all.

Posted by George Washington at 1:08 PM
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Source: George Washington’s Blog

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Sep 22


Morgan Stanley headquarters in New York

Investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have been put under Federal control as part of a package aimed at rescuing the US finance system.

The move not only puts the two financial services giants under the direct supervision of bank regulators but also gives the Fed the power to force the banks to raise additional capital.

The US administration wants to prevent the collapse of two of Wall Street’s remaining investment banks after the fall of Lehman Brothers and the government-funded bailouts of Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch and global insurer AIG.

Continue reading »

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Sep 22


U.S. one dollar bills are displayed for a photograph in New York, April 15, 2008. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) — Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson‘s plan to end the rout in U.S. financial markets may derail the dollar’s three-month rally as investors weigh the costs of the rescue.

The combination of spending $700 billion on soured mortgage-related assets and providing $400 billion to guarantee money-market mutual funds will boost U.S. borrowing as much as $1 trillion, according to Barclays Capital interest-rate strategist Michael Pond in New York. While the rescue may restore investor confidence to battered financial markets, traders will again focus on the twin budget and current-account deficits and negative real U.S. interest rates.

``As we get to the other side of this, the dollar will get crushed,” said John Taylor, chairman of New York-based International Foreign Exchange Concepts Inc., the world’s biggest currency hedge-fund firm, which manages about $15 billion.

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Sep 22


U.S. flags fly outside the headquarters of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., in New York, Sept. 16, 2008. Photographer: Gino Domenico/Bloomberg News

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) — The Wall Street that shaped the financial world for two decades ended last night, when Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley concluded there is no future in remaining investment banks now that investors have determined the model is broken.

The Federal Reserve’s approval of their bid to become banks ends the ascendancy of the securities firms, 75 years after Congress separated them from deposit-taking lenders, and caps weeks of chaos that sent Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. into bankruptcy and led to the rushed sale of Merrill Lynch & Co. to Bank of America Corp.

“The decision marks the end of Wall Street as we have known it,” said William Isaac, a former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. “It’s too bad.”

Goldman, whose alumni include Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary presiding over a $700 billion bank bailout, and Morgan Stanley, a product of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that cleaved investment and commercial banks, insisted they didn’t need to change course, even as their shares plunged and their borrowing costs soared last week.

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Sep 21

“I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men.”
– Sir Isaac Newton, after losing a fortune in the South Sea bubble

Something extraordinary is going on with these government bailouts. In March 2008, the Federal Reserve extended a $55 billion loan to JPMorgan to “rescue” investment bank Bear Stearns from bankruptcy, a highly controversial move that tested the limits of the Federal Reserve Act. On September 7, 2008, the U.S. government seized private mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and imposed a conservatorship, a form of bankruptcy; but rather than let the bankruptcy court sort out the assets among the claimants, the Treasury extended an unlimited credit line to the insolvent corporations and said it would exercise its authority to buy their stock, effectively nationalizing them. Now the Federal Reserve has announced that it is giving an $85 billion loan to American International Group (AIG), the world’s largest insurance company, in exchange for a nearly 80% stake in the insurer . . . .

The Fed is buying an insurance company? Where exactly is that covered in the Federal Reserve Act? The Associated Press calls it a “government takeover,” but this is not your ordinary “nationalization” like the purchase of Fannie/Freddie stock by the U.S. Treasury. The Federal Reserve has the power to print the national money supply, but it is not actually a part of the U.S. government. It is a private banking corporation owned by a consortium of private banks. The banking industry just bought the world’s largest insurance company, and they used federal money to do it. Yahoo Finance reported on September 17:

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Sep 19

Part I of a three-part series looking at how so-called “credit default swap” derivatives could ignite a worldwide capital markets meltdown.

Are you shell-shocked? Are you wondering what’s really going on in the market? The truth is probably more frightening than even your worst fears. And yet, you won’t hear about it anywhere else because “they” can’t tell you. “They” are the U.S. Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury Department, and they can’t tell you what’s really going on because there’s nothing they can do about it, except what they’ve been trying to do – add liquidity.

At the exchange rate yesterday (Wednesday), 35 trillion British Pounds was equivalent to U.S. $62 trillion (hence, the 35 trillion Pound gorilla). According to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, $62 trillion is the notional value of credit default swaps (CDS) out there, somewhere, in the market.

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Sep 19

In the space of just two momentous weeks, the landscape of global finance has been dramatically transformed. President George W. Bush’s administration has mounted a multi-billion-dollar rescue of the financial system at the cost of inflicting severe damage on the US model of free- market capitalism.

Heavy costs will be inflicted on the American taxpayer, who is now subsidising Wall Street – and indeed financial institutions around the world – in a bail-out of unprecedented size.

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Sep 19

Key lawmakers promise fast action on bailout

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd says the United States may be “days away from a complete meltdown of our financial system” and Congress is working quickly to prevent that.

Dodd said Friday that Democrats and Republicans on the Hill are coming together to support the Bush administration’s developing plan to buy up bad debt from financial institutions and get the credit system working again. Dodd told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the nation’s credit is seizing up and people can’t get loans.

The ranking Republican on the Banking Committee, Senator Richard Shelby, predicts the new bailout plan will cost at least half a trillion dollars.

Shelby says the nation has “been lurching from one crisis to another.” Both veteran lawmakers say this is the most serious financial crisis they’ve seen in their years in Congress.

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Sep 18

Stocks end sharply higher on report that government will create entity to hold banks’ debt

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street rallied in a stunning late-session turnaround Thursday, shooting higher and hurtling the Dow Jones industrials up 400 points following a report that the federal government might create an entity to absorb banks’ bad debt. The report also cooled investors’ fervor for the safest types of investments like government debt.

The report that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is considering the formation of a vehicle like the Resolution Trust Corp. that was set up during the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s left previously solemn investors ebullient. Wall Street hoped a huge federal intervention could help financial institutions jettison bad mortgage debt and stop the drain on capital that has already taken down companies including Bear Stearns Cos. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

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