There are times when I'd like to share something with you but my Voice in the Garden site does not seem the appropriate place, thus, this blog.

There are experiences, thoughts, views... and for anyone lurking/waiting to pounce (as has occurred on several occasions), please do not attempt to turn what I post into a political statement. This is NOT a political site, but IS about occurrences, reality, and personal opinion concerning what I see in the world around me and my family. There are many excellent writers whose works "speak" to me, and I shall include some of them. At times it may be
something I think you would enjoy or simply whatever ails you (me).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tavakoli: Who's To Blame? Not 'Flawed,' Fraud

This from Jesse's Café Américain

This is a fairly nice description of the tip of the credibility trap.

It is a description of moral hazard, of a partnership between the corporations and individuals in government. And it is a corrosive acid on the body politic. MF Global is not the end of it, but only a new beginning.

With every unpunished crime, with every successful deception, the monied interests grow more self-assured, and bolder.

The more rational in the financial system, academia, and the media wish this to stop, and know it will end badly, but a powerful few will have no restraints.

And so the dance must continue while the music keeps playing. The stewards of society, the Congress, the President, the media, the Fed, none have the moral sense and courage to merely stand up and say, "Stop. Enough. Stop beating your victims. Stop abusing the public."

Well, some may say it. Tavakoli, Yves, William Black, Elizabeth Warren, Barry Ritholz, Simon Johnson, and others have all said it, well, and many times.

And among the powerful Obama may say it. Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich may say it. But they do not mean it, and will do nothing substantial about it. And that is a national tragedy.

Have we no conscience left, no decency?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

US Taxpayers Bailing Out Big Banks Again?

(MoneyWatch) U.S. taxpayers may be on the hook to bail out big banks -- again. The Financial Times is reporting that taxpayers will subsidize a large portion of the $25 billion mortgage settlement, which was broken down into two distinct pieces:

1. $5 billion in cash payments, of which $1.5 billion would go directly to approximately 750,000 borrowers who were wrongly or illegally foreclosed on between September 2008 and December 2011. This is the part where you have heard that borrowers who were wrongly foreclosed on could receive up to $2,000.

2. $20 billion in "credits" the banks will receive for principal write-downs and other aid to nearly 1 million homeowners at risk of default, up to $20,000 per loan.

 It's part two that's coming under scrutiny. A clause in the provisional agreement allows the banks to use the government's Home Affordable Modification Plan, or HAMP, to cover the principal reductions. Neil Barofsky, the former special inspector-general of the TARP, described the clause as "scandalous." Says Barofsky: "It turns the notion that this is about justice and accountability on its head."Ms Cohen said... continue here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

America's Lawless Empire

Nader and Fein at Harvard Law School: "America's Lawless Empire"
(it is worth a listen)


"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." ~ Edmund Burke

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fed's Goal: Crush Dollar and American Savers

This according to Washington's Blog:

The Fed’s EXPLICIT Goal Is to Devalue the Dollar by 33% … and NEGATIVE Yield Bonds Are Coming

As Forbes’ Charles Kadlec notes:
The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) has made it official: After its latest two day meeting, it announced its goal to devalue the dollar by 33% over the next 20 years. The debauch of the dollar will be even greater if the Fed exceeds its goal of a 2 percent per year increase in the price level.
The Fed has announced a course of action that will steal — there is no better word for it — nearly 10 percent of the value of American’s hard earned savings over the next 4 years.
While that is stunning, it is actually par for the course for the Fed:
Here’s a chart of the trade weighted US Dollar from 1973-2009.
And here’s a bonus chart showing the decline in the dollar’s purchasing power from 1913 to 2005:
Dollar from 1913.gif Federal Reserve and Big Banks Are Going to Crush the Dollar ... and American Savers

The giant banks – through their treasury borrowing committee headed by JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs – are also demanding the issuance of negative yield bonds.

In other words, the too big to fail banks want Americans to pay to have the luxury of holding their money in bonds.

American savers – and especially those living on fixed incomes and pensions – are going to get creamed.  (my emphasis)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Panic On Wall Street As Anti-Insider Trading Bill Spreads Wider Net Over Information Peddling

From Jesse's Café Américain

The purpose of this clause is to bring transparency to the information peddling that represents a lucrative trade for hedge funds and banks that trade on insider information from the Congressmen themselves.

There is also large analyst trade in selling political information obtained privately to hedge funds. And rumour has it that quite a bit of that information spreads its way through the halls of the august Wall Street banks as well.

Wall Street apparently went into full court lobbying mode when they found out that Grassley had resubmitted this clause after they had successfully had it removed.

The clause only requires analysts to register their contacts and to disclose how they might be using the information provided by the Congress.

Information is power, and private access to public power is one of the great strengths of the Wall Street monied interests.

This bill might curtail the ability of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs to obtain private information from the Finance Committees.

I am sure Mr. Obama, the great reformer who promised transparency, is solidly behind this move by the Republican Senator Grassley, right? Hard to tell right now.

Panic on Wall Street.
Wall Street Sees Analysts Snagged by Political Intelligence Bill
By Phil Mattingly and Robert Schmidt
Feb 7, 2012 12:01 AM ET

A U.S. Senate measure that would place restrictions on people who gather and sell government information to hedge funds may entangle bank research analysts and others on Wall Street, according to lawyers and lobbyists. (The others are the conduits to the trading desks of the TBTF banks - Jesse)

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, which represents firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., held a rare weekend call for members on Feb. 4 to discuss the measure, according to two people with direct knowledge of the call.

The provision, part of a broader bill that passed the Senate last week and is scheduled to face a House vote this week, may require analysts and others to register with Congress and disclose contacts with government officials, according to a legal analysis prepared for the group’s members.

“There are going to be a lot of entities and organizations who will not want their people anymore to contact government officials to get information which might be used for a number perfectly appropriate purposes,” Robert L. Walker, an attorney for Wiley Rein LLP who is listed as one of the authors of the legal memo, said of the impact of the provision. ('Jump you fuckers' as the Tea Party said before they turned corporate. lol - Jesse)

The broader bill would ban lawmakers, their staffs, and much of the executive branch from trading stocks, commodities or futures based on confidential information they learn on the job. Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, succeeded last week in adding the provision that targets trading in so-called “political intelligence.” (There is nothing 'so-called' about it. That is what it is, and it is a form of corruption, albeit lucrative. - Jesse)

Such information may include conversations with lawmakers, congressional staff or other government officials about the future of legislation or regulations that have not been made public. That information has been targeted by lawmakers, who are pushing to identify firms and individuals in the business and force them to disclose their clients....