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America is a Banana Republic
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mises



Joined: 05 Nov 2007
Location: retired

PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://blogs.investors.com/capitalhill/index.php/home/35-politicsinvesting/1752-democrats-reject-5-down-payment-rule?source=patrick.net
Quote:
The Senate today rejected a proposal by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., to impose a minimum 5% down payment for virtually all home mortgages. The amendment to the broader financial regulatory overhaul bill, which failed 42-57, would have required income verification and an assessment of borrowers’ ability to repay as well.

Corker’s proposal also would have stripped out a provision that required financial firms securitizing loans to keep a 5% portfolio risk.

Democrats then passed their own amendment imposing some underwriting standards, but no minimum down payment.

Regarding Corker’s bill, Democrats argued that a 5% down payment would hurt minorities and the poor.

But if you can’t scrape together a 5% payment, maybe you should remain a renter.


Lending standards would hurt minorities and the poor. The American political establishment has learned absolutely nothing from all this. Thankfully, it isn't over. Time left to learn.
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mises



Joined: 05 Nov 2007
Location: retired

PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://preview.bloomberg.com/news/2010-05-18/conspiracy-of-banks-rigging-state-finance-converged-with-mortgage-meltdown.html

Quote:
State Finances Rigged in Conspiracy by Banks, Advisers

A telephone call between a financial adviser in Beverly Hills and a trader in New York was all it took to fleece taxpayers on a water-and-sewer financing deal in West Virginia. The secret conversation was part of a conspiracy stretching across the U.S. by Wall Street banks in the $2.8 trillion municipal bond market.

The call came less than two hours before bids were due for contracts to manage $90 million raised with the sale of West Virginia bonds. On one end of the line was Steven Goldberg, a trader with Financial Security Assurance Holdings Ltd. On the other was Zevi Wolmark, of advisory firm CDR Financial Products Inc. Goldberg arranged to pay a kickback to CDR to land the deal, according to government records filed in connection with a U.S. Justice Department indictment of CDR and Wolmark.

West Virginia was just one stop in a nationwide conspiracy in which financial advisers to municipalities colluded with Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Wachovia Corp. and 11 other banks.

They rigged bids on auctions for so-called guaranteed investment contracts, known as GICs, according to a Justice Department list that was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on March 24 and then put under seal. Those contracts hold tens of billions of taxpayer money.

California to Pennsylvania

The workings of the conspiracy -- which stretched from California to Pennsylvania and included more than 200 deals involving about 160 state agencies, local governments and non- profits -- can be pieced together from the Justice Department’s indictment of CDR, civil lawsuits by governments around the country, e-mails obtained by Bloomberg News and interviews with current and former bankers and public officials.

“The whole investment process was rigged across the board,” said Charlie Anderson, who retired in 2007 as head of field operations for the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt bond division. “It was so commonplace that people talked about it on the phones of their employers and ignored the fact that they were being recorded.”

Anderson said he referred scores of cases to the Justice Department when he was with the IRS. He estimates that bid rigging cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Anderson said prosecutors are lining up conspirators to plead guilty and name names.

“This will go on for a long time and a lot of people will be indicted,” he said in a telephone interview.

...

The bid rigging in GIC contracts has reduced public funding for schools and housing across the U.S.

“If this was going on in a small state like West Virginia, it must have been huge elsewhere,” the state’s Assistant Attorney General Doug Davis said.


The article is quite long. It is worth a read as it gets to the heart of the scam that is the financial services industry.
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The Happy Warrior



Joined: 10 Feb 2010

PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

During more than three years of investigation, federal prosecutors amassed nearly 700,000 tape recordings and 125 million pages of documents and e-mails regarding public finance deals.


!!!
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The Happy Warrior



Joined: 10 Feb 2010

PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 10:30 pm    Post subject: Financial Reform Bill Stalls, but in a good way Reply with quote

Senate Vote to End Debate on Financial Reform Fails

Indiviglio wrote:
In fact, two Republicans voted for the motion -- the Senators from Maine Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. All other republicans voted against it. Two Democrats were responsible for the bill failing: Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA) and Sen. Russ Feingold (WI). Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) also voted against the motion, but did so for the procedural purpose of being able to call it back up later. Arlen Specter (D-PA) did not vote.

So why did Cantwell vote 'no'? She had actually already threatened to do so if her amendment was not heard. It wasn't. Her proposal would reinstate Glass-Steagall, which forbid retail banks from certain investment banking activities. She made good on her promise. After the vote, she began speaking in favor of her amendment on the Senate floor.


And Russ Feingold said the bill doesn't go far enough.

Russ Feingold wrote:
We need to eliminate the risk posed to our economy by 'too big to fail' financial firms and to reinstate the protective firewalls between Main Street banks and Wall Street firms. Unfortunately, these key reforms are not included in the bill.


Could it be that the system works? We'll see whether it can this week.
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mises



Joined: 05 Nov 2007
Location: retired

PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No action on the Fed = no reform.

Quote:
"Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the Bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst yourselves, and when you lost, you charged it to the Bank... Beyond question this great and powerful institution has been actively engaged in attempting to influence the elections of the public officers by means of its money...

You tell me that if I take the deposits from the Bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin. Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin. You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the grace of the Eternal God, I will rout you out."

Andrew Jackson on The Second Bank of the United States which was the Central Bank of his day.

http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2010/05/wall-street-threatens-washington-as.html

The only lesson from history is that we don't learn from history.
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The Happy Warrior



Joined: 10 Feb 2010

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Goldman settles with the SEC for $550 million

Quote:

The SEC announced April 16 it had charged the bank with civil fraud.

It accused Goldman of defrauding investors in its disclosures about securities it sold tied to subprime mortgage securities as the housing market was faltering in 2007.

The SEC said the investment bank failed to disclose that one of its clients, the giant hedge fund Paulson & Co., helped Goldman Sachs create — and then bet against — subprime mortgage securities that Goldman sold to other investors.

Two European banks that bought the mortgage securities lost nearly $1 billion.

The settlement calls for Goldman to pay a fine of $550 million US, the largest penalty ever paid by a Wall Street firm. It must still be approved by the courts.


Nice.
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mises



Joined: 05 Nov 2007
Location: retired

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/7/16/goldman_sachs_settles_civil_fraud_case

Quote:
Goldman Sachs Settles Civil Fraud Case for $550M—Less Than It Reportedly Expected, and With No Admission of Criminal Wrongdoing
071610_goldman_sachs_taibbi

Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $550 million to resolve a civil fraud lawsuit over selling a mortgage investment that was established to fail. While the SEC hailed the $550 million settlement as the largest in Wall Street history, many outside analysts questioned why the government didn’t demand more. Investors responded favorably as Goldman Sachs shares jumped by 5 percent in late trading, adding far more to the firm’s market value than the amount it will have to pay in the settlement. We speak to Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone.


The information was leaked before the official announcement was made and Goldman's shares rose, no doubt to the huge financial benefit of insiders. Very apropos.
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bacasper



Joined: 26 Mar 2007

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Dollar's Third and Final Act

The US credit system is in the midst of its third credit crisis since the advent of the Federal Reserve.

This credit crisis began in 2000 and was greatly exacerbated by the housing bubble of 2001 to 2007.

A good discussion is Peter Schiff's: Crash Proof and Crash Proof 2.0.

All three episodes were the inevitable result of the prior credit inflation orchestrated by the Federal Reserve System.

The Credit boom of the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s is haunting the markets today.

The Dollar survived the first two credit deflations.

This writer believes that this credit crisis will be the Dollar's third and final act.

The best-case scenario, in which the financial system and Dollar survive, is very unlikely but it would be very painful for most investors.

Best Case Scenario for US Markets:

Dow/Gold ratio will trade 1.0, possible gold target of $10,000/oz.

Dow/Silver ratio will trade 40.0, possible silver target $250/oz.

Severe credit market conditions with interest rates over 10%.

Some companies will survive, many banks and credit dependent businesses would fail.

The DJIA could trade in a range of 5,000 to 10,000.

Likely Scenario for US Markets:

The most likely scenario is an inflationary Great Depression, in this writer's opinion.

John William's outlines his expectations and I believe they are worth reading: www.shadowstats.com

Peter Schiff discusses this possibility in Crash Proof 2.0.

The US has never experienced a credit bust that has followed this path.

Dow/Gold ratio well below 1.0: gold target well above $10,000/oz.

Dow/Silver ratio well below 20: silver target well above $600/oz.

Collapse of the credit market. Interest rates only capped by fiat.

Collapse of the US treasury market.

Most companies fail.

Only the best businesses with no need for credit survive.

Banking system shut to depositors.

Nationalization of many businesses and all pension assets.

etc. at link
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bacasper



Joined: 26 Mar 2007

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

10 Signs The U.S. is Becoming a Third World Country

Activist Post

The United States by every measure is hanging on by a thread to its First World status. Saddled by debt, engaged in wars on multiple fronts with a rising police state at home, declining economic productivity, and wild currency fluctuations all threaten America's future.

The general designations of the ranking system for world status date back to the 1950s, and have included countries at various stages of economic development. Since the Cold War, the definition has come to be synonymous with repressive countries where a wealthy class of ruling elites segment society into the haves and have-nots, many times capitalizing on the conditions that follow an economic crisis or war.

While much of the world is still mired in poverty, the reduced cost of innovative tools such as computing and connectivity ironically puts traditional Third World countries at the forefront of a new lean-and-mean economy that is based on ideas of empowerment for the disenfranchised. For better or worse, the world is leveling due to Globalism. However, America and other over-leveraged countries face this re-balancing of the globe at a time when they have dwindling resources. We can speculate about who and what is to blame for America's fantastic fall, but for the purposes of this article we shall focus on the obvious signs that the United States is beginning to resemble a Third World country.

1. Rising unemployment and poverty: Unemployment numbers, food stamps, and home foreclosures continue to reach new record highs. The ugly reality of those numbers was recently on display when 30,000 people showed up to apply for public housing in East Point, GA for 455 available vouchers. Fights broke out, people were fainting from the heat while in line, and riot police showed up to handle the angry poor.

2. Economic dependence: The United States finished 2009 with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 85%, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The current trend projects the United States to finish 2010 at 94% and 2011 at 98%. The 90% level has become the IMF's make-or-break point for countries hoping to grow their way out of debt. If the government debt load climbs above 90% of GDP, economic growth slows so much that growth is no longer a viable solution for reducing that debt, and the IMF insists on austerity measures. Surpassing this debt threshold has also caused China's lead credit rating agency to cut America's credit rating.

3. Declining civil rights:

4. Increasing political corruption:

5. Military patrolling the streets:

6. Failing infrastructure:

7. Disappearing middle class:

8. Devalued currency:

9. Controlling the media:

10. Capital Controls:


full descriptions at link
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mises



Joined: 05 Nov 2007
Location: retired

PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=169756

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/1-2-administrative-judges-commodity-futures-trading-commission-vowed-never-let-complainant-w

Quote:
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is an important agency. It is largely responsible for regulating derivatives and other important instruments.

It is supposed to prevent and prosecute fraud.

So it is stunning that one of the two administrative judges for the CFTC has written and filed a "Notice and Order" saying:

There are two administrative law judges at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission: myself and the Honorable Bruce Levine. On Judge Levine's first week on the job, nearly twenty years ago, he came into my office and stated that he had promised Wendy Gramm, then Chairwoman of the Commission, that we would never rule in a complainant's favor. A review of his rulings will confirm that he has fulfilled his vow. Judge Levine, in the cynical guise of enforcing the rules, forces pro se complaints to run a hostile procedural gauntlet until they lose hope, and either withdraw their complaint or settle for a pittance, regardless of the merits of the case.

***

In light of these unfortunate facts, if I simply announced my intention to retire, the seven reparation cases on my docket would be reassigned to the only other administrative law judge of the Commission, Judge Levine. This I cannot do in good conscience. Accordingly, I recommend that the Commission request ... the services of an administrative law judge to be detailed to the Commission from [another] agency ....


Twenty years.
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caniff



Joined: 03 Feb 2004
Location: All over the map

PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OT:

I went to my friend's house today and his wife said to him:

"You wouldn't know fun if you were a monkey on a banana boat."

Saw this thread and thought I'd share.

(She's Brazilian, so maybe the accent made it funny....if you were there....which you weren't.......what was I talking about?)
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rollo



Joined: 10 May 2006
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes the U.S. collapses in a couple of years. Canada seizes most of the West coast becomes a super power. Grabs the rest of the U.S. mid 21st century, then steamrolls over the rest of North America and central America. The day will come when hockey will be played from Thunder Bay to the Rio Negro. A dark future indeed.
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caniff



Joined: 03 Feb 2004
Location: All over the map

PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mises wrote:
http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=169756

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/1-2-administrative-judges-commodity-futures-trading-commission-vowed-never-let-complainant-w

Quote:
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is an important agency. It is largely responsible for regulating derivatives and other important instruments.

It is supposed to prevent and prosecute fraud.

So it is stunning that one of the two administrative judges for the CFTC has written and filed a "Notice and Order" saying:

There are two administrative law judges at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission: myself and the Honorable Bruce Levine. On Judge Levine's first week on the job, nearly twenty years ago, he came into my office and stated that he had promised Wendy Gramm, then Chairwoman of the Commission, that we would never rule in a complainant's favor. A review of his rulings will confirm that he has fulfilled his vow. Judge Levine, in the cynical guise of enforcing the rules, forces pro se complaints to run a hostile procedural gauntlet until they lose hope, and either withdraw their complaint or settle for a pittance, regardless of the merits of the case.

***

In light of these unfortunate facts, if I simply announced my intention to retire, the seven reparation cases on my docket would be reassigned to the only other administrative law judge of the Commission, Judge Levine. This I cannot do in good conscience. Accordingly, I recommend that the Commission request ... the services of an administrative law judge to be detailed to the Commission from [another] agency ....


Twenty years.


I just wrote a page in response to this, but as I re-read it before posting I realized that it might cause a person to lose all hope in life itself. But then I realized I'm not about that so I deep-sixed it (it was my masterpiece, believe me).
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mises



Joined: 05 Nov 2007
Location: retired

PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

caniff wrote:
mises wrote:
http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=169756

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/1-2-administrative-judges-commodity-futures-trading-commission-vowed-never-let-complainant-w

Quote:
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is an important agency. It is largely responsible for regulating derivatives and other important instruments.

It is supposed to prevent and prosecute fraud.

So it is stunning that one of the two administrative judges for the CFTC has written and filed a "Notice and Order" saying:

There are two administrative law judges at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission: myself and the Honorable Bruce Levine. On Judge Levine's first week on the job, nearly twenty years ago, he came into my office and stated that he had promised Wendy Gramm, then Chairwoman of the Commission, that we would never rule in a complainant's favor. A review of his rulings will confirm that he has fulfilled his vow. Judge Levine, in the cynical guise of enforcing the rules, forces pro se complaints to run a hostile procedural gauntlet until they lose hope, and either withdraw their complaint or settle for a pittance, regardless of the merits of the case.

***

In light of these unfortunate facts, if I simply announced my intention to retire, the seven reparation cases on my docket would be reassigned to the only other administrative law judge of the Commission, Judge Levine. This I cannot do in good conscience. Accordingly, I recommend that the Commission request ... the services of an administrative law judge to be detailed to the Commission from [another] agency ....


Twenty years.


I just wrote a page in response to this, but as I re-read it before posting I realized that it might cause a person to lose all hope in life itself. But then I realized I'm not about that so I deep-sixed it (it was my masterpiece, believe me).


So If an organization took a compliant to the CFTC claiming some sort of wrongdoing by Goldman and the complaint was in front of this Levine guy is the ruling potentially reversible now?
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mises



Joined: 05 Nov 2007
Location: retired

PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/how-googles-refusal-pay-us-taxes-means-us-taxpayers-fund-its-innovation-resulting-benefit-10

Pretty shocking. Middle class people pay their taxes in full.
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