Tag Archives | Finance

The Case Against Goldman Sachs

mainIn his usual clear, profane manner, Matt Taibbi lays out why Goldman Sachs’s executives must face criminal charges as soon as possible. Via Rolling Stone:

America has been waiting for a case to bring against Wall Street. Here it is, and the evidence has been gift-wrapped and left at the doorstep of federal prosecutors, evidence that doesn’t leave much doubt: Goldman Sachs should stand trial.

To date, there has been only one successful prosecution of a financial big fish from the mortgage bubble, and that was Lee Farkas, a Florida lender who was just convicted on a smorgasbord of fraud charges and now faces life in prison. But Farkas, sadly, is just an exception proving the rule: Like Bernie Madoff, his comically excessive crime spree (which involved such lunacies as kiting checks to his own bank and selling loans that didn’t exist) was almost completely unconnected to the systematic corruption that led to the crisis.

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Why Wall Street Is Winning


Photo: RMajouji (CC)

Photo: RMajouji (CC)

A Hated Financial Center Is Bouncing Back. How Did They Do It?

Two years ago as financial reform was put on the U.S. Congressional agenda, a skeptical Senator, Dick Durbin of Illinois, spoke of the power of the banks over the country’s legislative process.

“They run the place,” he said matter of factly.

The comment was then treated as a sidebar in the few newspapers that carried it, perhaps because it hinted at how interests, not ideology, dictate what happens on Capitol Hill.

The remark about a shadowy power structure far more important than all the partisan in-fighting that dominates the news is worth recalling as a way of explaining how little has been done to rain in Wall Street in the years since its crash virtually wrecked the global economy.

It is also worth realizing that the people who “run the place” usually do so in ways that rarely get high profile media scrutiny or even public attention.… Read the rest

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How To Start Your Own Currency

4788000521_654a66a856Afraid that the world is collapsing and your hard-earned dollars will soon be worthless kindling? At heart, monetary systems are based upon a shared delusion, so you might as well get empowered and start you own — The Atlantic explains how.

And, lest you think the whole idea is tongue-in-cheek, there are tons of real-world examples of successful alternate currencies right now for inspiration: Ithaca HOURS (used in Ithaca, NY), World of Warcraft money, BitCoin, and Japan’s Fureai Kippu, or “friendship tickets”:

Here’s a nightmare scenario shared by some mainstream investors, goldbugs and Ron Paul devotees: The year is 2013. Inflation has the U.S. economy in a stranglehold. International investors are fleeing to the far corners of the globe. The dollar is in a free fall, and Americans are scurrying to protect their wealth. What do you do?

Start your own currency. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. You can “back” it with gold, or mimic an I.O.U.

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California Man Pays Off $6,500 Credit Card Bill In Pennies

PennyUPI reports:
MIRA MESA — California man upset with his bank for disallowing his requested refinance said he decided to pay off his $6,500 credit card bill entirely with pennies. Thierry Cahez of San Diego County rolled 650,000 pennies in plastic, loaded them into crates and drove the lot to his Mira Mesa bank, KABC-TV, Los Angeles, reported. Cahez was turned away by the bank several times but eventually was sent to a branch with a vault large enough to handle the coins. Cahez said he opted to pay his credit card bill with pennies because he was turned down for a refinance and for the amount of charges and fees on his credit card, KABC-TV said Tuesday.
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Treasure Islands: The Murky World Of Offshore Tax Shelters

3446025121_072700607fNew Left Project sits down with author Nicholas Shaxson to talk tax havens — a mammoth system of quasi-legal money-laundering which has a far wider impact than we realize, with a large role in the global drug trade and financial crisis. As it turns out, the biggest “treasure islands” are not the Caymans or Monaco, but places such as the City of London and the U.S. state of Delaware:

There is no common definition of what a tax haven is. Everybody has a slightly different definition. Ultimately what a tax haven provides is escape from the rules and the laws of jurisdictions. Tax havens are also about ‘elsewhere’ – the laws of the Cayman Islands are not designed for the benefit of the 50,000-odd population of the Cayman Islands.

The traditional view is…palm-fringed tropical islands in the Caribbean, Monaco, Switzerland, Liechtenstein. Small states. But if you do the analysis of what a tax haven is and what they are selling, you will find that these small islands are generally sideshows to the big event.

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Silver Manipulation By JP Morgan And U.S. Fed?

In yesterday's New York Times, William D. Cohan refines what was once a confusing and fringe theory about JP Morgan and HSBC's involvement in silver market manipulation into a very plausible scenario, tying in the cloak and dagger elements of the story with the currently unfolding class action lawsuits in several states. Once again, the Xtranormal.com platform is being put to good use to elucidate exactly what's happening: Each segment has information that I found useful, especially the fact that there is actually no physical silver left in circulation -- nice touch. Part II is here and part III available here. Part IV is here, and after the creators accidentally deleting the original voices, the bear in the overalls is now sounding strangely like John Lennon. Another source of information and a more detailed breakdown on basic market manipulation and arbitrage is available here. The site that appears to be the sponsor/creators of the Xtranormal videos silvergoldsilver.blogspot.com is less clear, but has information as well...
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France Wants New System Of Global Currencies

1-christine-lagarde_384 Are the days of each nation having its own currency numbered? France is calling for a global financial system based around “international currencies,” RTE News reports:

France, as current head of the Group of 20 countries, will help the transition to a global financial system based on ‘several international currencies’, French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said today.

Lagarde, speaking ahead of a G20 finance ministers meeting in Paris on Friday and Saturday, said the world had to move on from the ‘non-monetary system’ it now has to one ‘based on several international currencies’.

Accordingly, France wants to see less need for countries, especially the emerging economies, to accumulate huge foreign reserves, she said.

At the same time, international capital flows should be better regulated and the role of the Special Drawing Rights issued by the International Monetary Fund should be reinforced by the inclusion of China’s yuan in the system.

China, whose booming economy now ranks second only to the US in size after overtaking Japan, has accumulated massive forex reserves of more than $2.5 trillion on the back of its sustained trade surpluses and foreign fund inflows.

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Finance Capitalism is Causing Starvation

We all know Soviet-style communism causes starvation.  Looks like American-style capitalism does the same thing in a different way.  Johann Hari in the Independent, from this past July:

It starts with an apparent mystery. At the end of 2006, food prices across the world started to rise, suddenly and stratospherically. Within a year, the price of wheat had shot up by 80 per cent, maize by 90 per cent, rice by 320 per cent. In a global jolt of hunger, 200 million people — mostly children — couldn’t afford to get food any more, and sank into malnutrition or starvation. There were riots in more than 30 countries, and at least one government was violently overthrown. Then, in spring 2008, prices just as mysteriously fell back to their previous level. Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, calls it “a silent mass murder”, entirely due to “man-made actions.”

Earlier this year I was in Ethiopia, one of the worst-hit countries, and people there remember the food crisis as if they had been struck by a tsunami.

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2010 Financial and Commodity Markets and Productivity: WTF?

I could go on and on about the way speculative finance is utterly divorced from the real economy, sapping 80 cents out of the economy for each dollar it touches*, etc., etc..  But why bother when the following chart says it all? Compiled from the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics release.
Financial and Commodity Markets in 2010 - WTF[1]
See underlying analysis, along with links to original source data, within this workbook.

P.S.  I would like to offer a ‘special’ TBA prize to the first Dystopia Diaries reader who detects the even more disturbing trend vis-a-vis crude oil prices and CPU within the workook data.  Hint:  Can you say “Peak Oil?”

Footnote
*Yeah, it’s true.  By giving yet another extraordinary tax cut to the finance-addled trust fund brats, Obama and the Republican’ts are throwing away 80% of those dollars’ productivity.  See the analytical graph and supporting details here.

Contributed from Dystopia Diaries

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Still Think Financial Markets = Financial Investment?

For those STILL too gullible to believe that we will never recover until we stop the irresponsible hoarding and gambling behaviours of Wall Street through a property tax on large securities holdings, I present the following:

Dow vs. Employment Chart Our economy doesn’t need to print more money.  The economy must have had about $1.5 TRILLION more money at the end of 2010 than it started with.  What we need to do is make the banksters and uber-rich pay their fair share and stop glomming off old age pensioners.

Details available upon request.  Or check it out for yourself here.

If you liked this, or better yet, if you hated this, check out my ‘Policy Directions‘ page at Dystopia Diaries.

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