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Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:22 PM

STOCK MARKET WATCH -- Tuesday, 5 February 2013

STOCK MARKET WATCH, Tuesday, 5 February 2013

SMW for 4 February 2013

AT THE CLOSING BELL ON 4 February 2013

Dow Jones 13,880.08 -129.71 (-0.93%)
S&P 500 1,495.71 -17.46 (-1.15%)
Nasdaq 3,131.17 -47.93 (-1.51%)

10 Year 1.95% -0.04 (-2.01%)
30 Year 3.16% -0.03 (-0.94%)

Market Conditions During Trading Hours

Euro, Yen, Loonie, Silver and Gold

Handy Links - Essential Reading:

Matt Taibi: Secret and Lies of the Bailout

Handy Links - Government Issues:

Open Government
Earmark Database
USA spending.gov

Partial List of Financial Sector Officials Convicted since 1/20/09
2/2/12 David Higgs and Salmaan Siddiqui, Credit Suisse, plead guilty to conspiracy involving valuation of MBS
3/6/12 Allen Stanford, former Caribbean billionaire and general schmuck, convicted on 13 of 14 counts in $2.2B Ponzi scheme, faces 20+ years in prison
6/4/12 Matthew Kluger, lawyer, sentenced to 12 years in prison, along with co-conspirator stock trader Garrett Bauer (9 years) and co-conspirator Kenneth Robinson (not yet sentenced) for 17 year insider trading scheme.
6/14/12 Allen Stanford sentenced to 110 years without parole.
6/15/12 Rajat Gupta, former Goldman Sachs director, found guilty of insider trading. Could face a decade in prison when sentenced later this year.
6/22/12 Timothy S. Durham, 49, former CEO of Fair Financial Company, convicted of one count conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud, and one count of securities fraud.
6/22/12 James F. Cochran, 56, former chairman of the board of Fair, convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, one count of securities fraud, and six counts of wire fraud.
6/22/12 Rick D. Snow, 48, former CFO of Fair, convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, one count of securities fraud, and three counts of wire fraud.
7/13/12 Russell Wassendorf Sr., CEO of collapsed brokerage firm Peregrine Financial Group Inc. arrested and charged with lying to regulators after admitting to authorities he embezzled "millions of dollars" and forged bank statements for "nearly twenty years."
8/22/12 Doug Whitman, Whitman Capital LLC hedge fund founder, convicted of insider trading following a trial in which he spent more than two days on the stand telling jurors he was innocent
10/26/12 UPDATE: Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta sentenced to two years in federal prison. He will, of course, appeal. . .
11/20/12 Hedge fund manager Matthew Martoma charged with insider trading at SAC Capital Advisors, and prosecutors are looking at Martoma's boss, Steven Cohen, for possible involvement.

This thread contains opinions and observations. Individuals may post their experiences, inferences and opinions on this thread. However, it should not be construed as advice. It is unethical (and probably illegal) for financial recommendations to be given here.

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Reply STOCK MARKET WATCH -- Tuesday, 5 February 2013 (Original post)
Tansy_Gold Feb 2013 OP
Fuddnik Feb 2013 #1
bread_and_roses Feb 2013 #6
Demeter Feb 2013 #2
Demeter Feb 2013 #3
Hugin Feb 2013 #5
elleng Feb 2013 #4
xchrom Feb 2013 #7
Demeter Feb 2013 #16
LineLineLineNew Reply !
xchrom Feb 2013 #17
Ghost Dog Feb 2013 #19
xchrom Feb 2013 #8
just1voice Feb 2013 #23
xchrom Feb 2013 #9
xchrom Feb 2013 #10
xchrom Feb 2013 #11
xchrom Feb 2013 #12
xchrom Feb 2013 #13
xchrom Feb 2013 #14
Ghost Dog Feb 2013 #18
just1voice Feb 2013 #22
xchrom Feb 2013 #15
siligut Feb 2013 #20
elleng Feb 2013 #21

Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:58 PM

1. Chris Hedges. Breaking the chains of debt peonage.


he corporate state has made it clear there will be no more Occupy encampments. The corporate state is seeking through the persistent harassment of activists and the passage of draconian laws such as Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act—and we will be in court next Wednesday to fight the Obama administration’s appeal of the Southern District Court of New York’s ruling declaring Section 1021 unconstitutional—to shut down all legitimate dissent. The corporate state is counting, most importantly, on its system of debt peonage to keep citizens—especially the 30 million people who make up the working poor—from joining our revolt.

Workers who are unable to meet their debts, who are victimized by constantly rising interest rates that can climb to as high as 30 percent on credit cards, are far more likely to remain submissive and compliant. Debt peonage is and always has been a form of political control. Native Americans, forced by the U.S. government onto tribal agencies, were required to buy their goods, usually on credit, at agency stores. Coal miners in southern West Virginia and Kentucky were paid in scrip by the coal companies and kept in perpetual debt servitude by the company store. African-Americans in the cotton fields in the South were forced to borrow during the agricultural season from their white landlords for their seed and farm equipment, creating a life of perpetual debt. It soon becomes impossible to escape the mounting interest rates that necessitate new borrowing.

Debt peonage is a familiar form of political control. And today it is used by banks and corporate financiers to enslave not only individuals but also cities, municipalities, states and the federal government. As the economist Michael Hudson points out, the steady rise in interest rates, coupled with declining public revenues, has become a way to extract the last bits of capital from citizens as well as government. Once individuals, or states or federal agencies, cannot pay their bills—and for many Americans this often means medical bills—assets are sold to corporations or seized. Public land, property and infrastructure, along with pension plans, are privatized. Individuals are pushed out of their homes and into financial and personal distress.

Debt peonage is a fundamental tool for control. This debt peonage must be broken if we are going to build a mass movement to paralyze systems of corporate power. And the most effective weapon we have to liberate ourselves as well as the 30 million Americans who make up the working poor is a sustained movement to raise the minimum wage nationally to at least $11 an hour. Most of these 30 million low-wage workers are women and people of color. They and their families struggle at a subsistence level and play one lender off another to survive. By raising their wages we raise not only the quality of their lives but we increase their capacity for personal and political power. We break one of the most important shackles used by the corporate state to prevent organized resistance.

Ralph Nader, whom I spoke with on Thursday, has been pushing activists to mobilize around raising the minimum wage. Nader, who knows more about corporate power and has been fighting it longer than any other American, has singled out, I believe, the key to building a broad-based national movement. There is among these underpaid 30 million workers—and some of them are with us tonight—a mounting despair at being unable to meet even the basic requirements to maintain a family. Nader points out that Walmart’s 1 million workers, like most of the 30 million low-wage workers, are making less per hour, adjusted for inflation, than workers made in 1968, although these Walmart workers do the work required of two Walmart workers 40 years ago.


There are no impediments within the electoral process or the formal structures of power to prevent predatory capitalism. We are all being forced to kneel before the dictates of the marketplace. The human cost, the attendant problems of drug and alcohol abuse, the neglect of children, the early deaths—in Pine Ridge the average life expectancy of a male is 48, the lowest in the Western Hemisphere outside of Haiti—is justified by the need to make greater and greater profit. And these costs are now being felt across the nation. The phrase “the consent of the governed” has become a cruel joke. We use a language to describe our systems of governance that no longer correspond to reality. The disconnect between illusion and reality makes us one of the most self-deluded populations on the planet.

The Weimarization of the American working class, and increasingly the middle class, is by design. It is part of a corporate reconfiguration of the national and global economy into a form of neofeudalism. It is about creating a world of masters and serfs, of empowered oligarchic elites and broken disempowered masses. And it is not only our wealth that is taken from us. It is our liberty. The so-called self-regulating market, as the economist Karl Polanyi wrote in “The Great Transformation,” always ends with mafia capitalism and a mafia political system. This system of self-regulation, Polanyi wrote, always leads to “the demolition of society.”

And this is what is happening—the demolition of our society and the demolition of the ecosystem that sustains the human species. In theological terms these corporate forces, driven by the lust for ceaseless expansion and exploitation, are systems of death. They know no limits. They will not stop on their own. And unless we stop them we are as a nation and finally as a species doomed. Polanyi understood the destructive power of unregulated corporate capitalism unleashed upon human society and the ecosystem. He wrote: “In disposing of a man’s labor power the system would, incidentally, dispose of the physical, psychological, and moral entity ‘man’ attached to the tag.”

Polanyi wrote of a society that surrendered to the dictates of the market. “Robbed of the protective covering of cultural institutions, human beings would perish from the effects of social exposure; they would die as victims of acute social dislocation through vice, perversion, crime, and starvation. Nature would be reduced to its elements, neighborhoods and landscapes defiled, rivers polluted, military safety jeopardized, the power to produce food and raw materials destroyed. Finally, the market administration of purchasing power would periodically liquidate business enterprise, for shortages and surfeits of money would prove as disastrous to business as floods and droughts in primitive society. Undoubtedly, labor, land, and money markets are essential to a market economy. But no society could stand the effects of such a system of crude fictions even for the shortest stretch of time unless its human and natural substance as well as its business organizations was protected against the ravages of this satanic mill.”

(snip) more

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Response to Fuddnik (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 08:27 AM

6. Right analysis ... but the solution....

I am surprised to see Hedges promoting such a tepid "solution." Even $11.00 hr - which is well above any figure I'm seeing in the discussions, for sure - will not relieve the "debt peonage" he describes. 40 hrs per week for 52 weeks a year at that wage = $22,880. That's with no vacation/sick time. And as we all know, high numbers of minimum wage workers do not get 40 hrs a week. That is not going to lift even a single mother with one child out of the rob peter to pay paul syndrome. Not with the cost of rent/utilities/transportation/food being what they are.

Nor does such a campaign challenge power in any meaningful way.

Not, of course, that I "oppose" raising the minimum wage. And one could hope, I suppose, that if low-wage workers actually organized to demand such, the experience might "give them ideas" - and who knows where that could go?

I must say, with sorrow, that he is spot on in his remarks on the AFL-CIO:

Nader is right when he warns that we are not going to be assisted in this effort by established unions. Union leaders are bought off. They are comfortable. They are pulling down at least five times what rank-and-file workers make. Nader says we have to mount protests not only outside the doors of Walmarts and General Electric plants, not only outside congressional offices, but outside the doors of the AFL-CIO. There is no established institution inside or outside government that will help us. They are all broken or complicit.

(emphasis added)

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:34 PM

2. Friends of Fraud By PAUL KRUGMAN



Like many advocates of financial reform, I was a bit disappointed in the bill that finally emerged. Dodd-Frank gave regulators the power to rein in many financial excesses; but it was and is less clear that future regulators will use that power. As history shows, the financial industry’s wealth and influence can all too easily turn those who are supposed to serve as watchdogs into lap dogs instead. There was, however, one piece of the reform that was a shining example of how to do it right: the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a stand-alone agency with its own funding, charged with protecting consumers against financial fraud and abuse. And sure enough, Senate Republicans are going all out in an attempt to kill that bureau.

Why is consumer financial protection necessary? Because fraud and abuse happen.

Don’t say that educated and informed consumers can take care of themselves. For one thing, not all consumers are educated and informed. Edward Gramlich, the Federal Reserve official who warned in vain about the dangers of subprime, famously asked, “Why are the most risky loan products sold to the least sophisticated borrowers?” He went on, “The question answers itself — the least sophisticated borrowers are probably duped into taking these products.” And even well-educated adults can have a hard time understanding the risks and payoffs associated with financial deals — a fact of which shady operators are all too aware. To take an area in which the bureau has already done excellent work, how many of us know what’s actually in our credit-card contracts? Now, you might be tempted to say that while we need protection against financial fraud, there’s no need to create another bureaucracy. Why not leave it up to the regulators we already have? The answer is that existing regulatory agencies are basically concerned with bolstering the banks; as a practical, cultural matter they will always put consumer protection on the back burner — just as they did when they ignored Mr. Gramlich’s warnings about subprime.

So the consumer protection bureau serves a vital function. But as I said, Senate Republicans are trying to kill it.

How can they do that, when the reform is already law and Democrats hold a Senate majority? Here as elsewhere, they’re turning to extortion — threatening to filibuster the appointment of Richard Cordray, the bureau’s acting head, and thereby leave the bureau unable to function. Mr. Cordray, whose work has drawn praise even from the bankers, is clearly not the issue. Instead, it’s an open attempt to use raw obstructionism to overturn the law. What Republicans are demanding, basically, is that the protection bureau lose its independence. They want its actions subjected to a veto by other, bank-centered financial regulators, ensuring that consumers will once again be neglected, and they also want to take away its guaranteed funding, opening it to interest-group pressure. These changes would make the agency more or less worthless — but that, of course, is the point.

How can the G.O.P. be so determined to make America safe for financial fraud, with the 2008 crisis still so fresh in our memory? In part it’s because Republicans are deep in denial about what actually happened to our financial system and economy. On the right, it’s now complete orthodoxy that do-gooder liberals, especially former Representative Barney Frank, somehow caused the financial disaster by forcing helpless bankers to lend to Those People. In reality, this is a nonsense story that has been extensively refuted; I’ve always been struck in particular by the notion that a Congressional Democrat, holding office at a time when Republicans ruled the House with an iron fist, somehow had the mystical power to distort our whole banking system. But it’s a story conservatives much prefer to the awkward reality that their faith in the perfection of free markets was proved false. And as always, you should follow the money. Historically, the financial sector has given a lot of money to both parties, with only a modest Republican lean. In the last election, however, it went all in for Republicans, giving them more than twice as much as it gave to Democrats (and favoring Mitt Romney over the president almost three to one). All this money wasn’t enough to buy an election — but it was, arguably, enough to buy a major political party...

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:44 PM

3. Thanks For Caving On the Filibuster--Now We Can Destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Board



It was very fitting that pretty much immediately after Harry Reid ended the possibility of filibuster reform in the more-sclerotic-than-ever U.S. Senate, a Republican appointee-run court effectively killed the recess appointment. Reid cut a “deal” on filibusters that actually strengthened the 60-vote threshold, by legitimizing what had been widely seen by non-senators as unprecedented abuse of Senate rules. All the deal does is speed up the process of breaking a filibuster with 60 votes, making the act of forcing a 60-vote threshold on all Senate business — something that rapidly became the new normal — even more painless than it was before.

Right after Mitch McConnell was granted unelected co-leadership of the Senate, the D.C. Court of Appeals announced that we’ve been doing this whole recess appointment thing all wrong for the last century or so, and that the Founders only intended for presidents to make recess appointments during “the Recess,” between sessions, and only of positions that became vacant during that recess. This allows Senate Republicans to totally prevent Barack Obama from appointing anyone to the National Labor Relations Board and the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Not just “people Republicans disapprove of,” but anyone at all, because Republicans disapprove of those two agencies carrying out their missions.
Now, naturally, after Reid cut the deal allowing them to do so without consequences, Republicans wasted no time in announcing their intention to prevent Barack Obama from appointing anyone to run the CFPB unless he effectively restructures the agency to not serve its purpose. This is, as a couple of others have noted, effectively “nullification,” and it’s generally frowned upon by fans of functioning republican forms of government. The signs of the total normalization of what would have been considered a shocking violation of political norms just a few years ago are all over the Reuters story on Republican intentions. The story presents it as a typical political fight, one side against the other, both lobbing accusations and impugning the motives of the other. One subheadline reads, helpfully, “POLITICS AT PLAY.” Typical Washington, always with the politics! Why can’t No Labels just get these jokers to get along?

...In other words, 43 Republicans — not a majority of the Senate, at all — have pledged to block the appointment of someone they have no real issue with, because they are demanding the right to change the structure of the agency entirely before they will allow it to function. A small minority in one of America’s two congressional bodies is demanding the right to fundamentally rewrite, on their own terms, a law passed by both houses and signed by the president, because they really dislike it. That’s not normal, “what are you gonna do?” politics. That’s setting an insane precedent. Imagine if 41 Democratic senators announced that they were going to block the appointment of any drug czar until the Office of National Drug Control Policy was “reformed” to make it an agency tasked with supporting the legalization and then cultivation and sale of marijuana. Imagine that they were able to prevent the ONDCP from functioning entirely. (Imagine also that the “drug czar” actually had an important job that mattered and came with actual responsibilities beyond the production of silly propaganda.) There would be, most likely, some outrage from the objective political press. A bit more than we’re hearing now, in this world where “filibuster reform” is considered a far-left bugaboo and the blatant attempt to extralegally kill the CFPB is just “politics.”

The idea of changing Senate rules by simple majority vote is usually referred to as “the nuclear option,” because forcing the Senate to operate as nearly all other legislative bodies in the world do is considered an act of provocation so extreme that it would force the minority to retaliate by any means necessary. But they would actually have to think pretty creatively to find new ways of totally obstructing all Senate business, because right now they are doing a very good job obstructing most of it, as their response to the Democrats’ shamelessly “winning elections” and “attempting to pass legislation and appoint judges and regulators.” While forcing a Senate rules change has a nickname highlighting how incredibly unprecedented it would be, there is not yet a press-friendly term for the Senate minority trying to force legislation to be rewritten to its specifications by blocking an agency from functioning until they get their way, so maybe someone should get on that so people on “Meet the Press” care.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:52 AM

5. It has become pretty obvious that the fillybuster deal was hatched...

So that Kerry could become SoS and a Repug wouldn't replace him in the Senate. (for now)

I guess Reid didn't see the Republicans' crossed fingers behind their backs. (or he didn't care)

Regulatory Capture... It's what's for dinner, for the forseeable future.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:34 AM

4. Europe up.

.At 3:17 AM ETMarkets »
FTSE 100
CAC 40

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:11 AM

7. i'm feeling like i want to conduct the choir

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Response to xchrom (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:14 AM

16. there's no singing in hell


and no crying in baseball

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Response to Demeter (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:29 AM

19. Hope this helps!

Catharsis, from the Greek κάθαρσις Katharsis meaning "purification" or "cleansing" (also literally from the Ancient Greek gerund Ancient Greek: καθαίρειν transliterated as kathairein "to purify, purge," and adjective katharos "pure or clean" ancient and modern Greek: καθαρός, is a sudden emotional breakdown or climax that constitutes overwhelming feelings of great pity, sorrow, laughter, or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal, restoration, and revitalization - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catharsis

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:13 AM

8. Justice prepares civil suit against S&P over grading of financial products before crisis


The Justice Department is preparing to file a civil lawsuit against the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s that will allege the company gave its seal of approval to toxic investments at the heart of the financial crisis, according to the company and people briefed on the case.

The lawsuit would mark the government’s first federal case against one of the country’s big ratings firms, which have been blamed for playing a major role in causing the meltdown on Wall Street. The Justice Department has faced years of criticism from watchdog groups and some on Capitol Hill who have questioned why it has been slow to pursue those responsible for the crisis.

The department has told S&P it intends to focus on the firm’s grading of certain mortgage bonds from 2007, according to the company.

These ratings have drawn scrutiny because agencies issued top grades to securities tied to shoddy residential mortgages, making them appear safe for investors. When the housing bubble burst and homeowners began defaulting on their loans, these financial products became worthless. The resulting losses on Wall Street nearly took down the entire financial system.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:31 PM

23. As usual, a civil suit instead of a criminal suit so nobody goes to jail.


Good ole "Justice" Department.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:15 AM

9. Egypt central bank says foreign reserves drop almost 10 percent in January to $13.6 billion

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:17 AM

10. ECB gave 'extraordinary' support to Irish banks


European Central Bank president Mario Draghi has said the Eurosystem offered "extraordinary" assistance to the Irish banking system in recent years.

Mr Draghi said the body would continue to discuss with Irish authorities "what may be achievable" with respect to the promissory note on the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), the former Anglo Irish Bank.

He was responding to a letter on January 7th from Fianna Fail spokesman on finance Michael McGrath in which he urged some progress on a deal.

Painting a lugubrious picture of the state of the country following efforts to reduce spending and the wider impact of the latest budget on the public, Mr McGrath said: "I detect a growing sense that this resilience is waning."

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:18 AM

11. Developers turn to shadow banks as Chinese property market slows


Ghostly skeletons of large residential estates, half-finished shopping malls, empty apartment buildings with no windows, serviced by dirt tracks full of potholes. Sound familiar?

These images of half-built luxury ghost developments are known to Irish readers, but they are relatively new in China, where the property market has slowed significantly since the government introduced cooling measures to stop the boom turning into a bubble.

In places like Ordos in Inner Mongolia, hundreds of projects have ground to a halt after a building boom fuelled by over-investment went bust, leaving tens of thousands of investors at risk of default.

In the search for options that offer more than the minimal return of a bank deposit book, investors in China have been piling into investment vehicles known as trusts, which promise high annual interest rates and a return of principal for people with more than a million yuan (€120,000) to invest.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:20 AM

12. Trying their best to allow bankers to do their worst


Like many advocates of financial reform, I was a bit disappointed in the Bill that finally emerged. Dodd-Frank gave regulators the power to rein in many financial excesses, but it was and is less clear that future regulators will use that power.

As history shows, the financial industry’s wealth and influence can all too easily turn those who are supposed to serve as watchdogs into lap dogs instead.

There was, however, one piece of the reform that was a shining example of how to do it right: the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a stand-alone agency with its own funding, charged with protecting consumers against financial fraud and abuse. And sure enough, Senate Republicans are going all out in an attempt to kill that bureau.

Why is consumer financial protection necessary? Because fraud and abuse happen.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:23 AM

13. Greece's banks struggle to attract private investors


Greece’s banks have begun lobbying the bodies behind the country’s bailout in a bid to ease the conditions imposed on their recapitalisation and avoid full nationalisation.

Under the terms of Greece’s €172 billion international bailout – backed by the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – €27 billion is to be injected into the big four lenders, with a further €2.5 billion to be supplied by private sector investors. But it is proving difficult to attract that private sector money, given a tight April deadline and equity valuations seen as unrealistic by some analysts.

The big four banks together hold negative equity of about €8 billion. “New investors aren’t willing to pay for yesterday’s losses,” said Nikos Karamouzis, deputy chief executive at Eurobank.

“If you want to attract private capital, you have to re-examine the terms.”

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:26 AM

14. The US Has Been Involved In These Wars For Nearly Half Its Existence [INFOGRAPHIC]


The U.S. has a long history of armed conflict and the Best Liberal Art Colleges released this infographic, breaking down the battles, the cost, and the duration of each. It's a handy and concise look at a long and complex history of armed conflict.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #14)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:57 AM

18. The Linchpin Lie: How Global Collapse Will Be Sold To The Masses

Last edited Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:40 AM - Edit history (1)

... The psychologist Carl Jung notes in his observations of collectivism in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia that most citizens of those nations did not necessarily want the formation of a tyrannical oligarchy, but, they went along with it anyway because they feared for their own comfort and livelihoods. Many a German supported the Third Reich simply because they did not want to lose a cushy job, or a steady paycheck, or they liked that the “trains ran on time”. Socialism is by far the most selfish movement in history, despite the fact that they claim to do what they do “for the greater good of the greater number”.

Rand (The Rand Corporation) also used Rational Choice Theory as a means to remove questions of principle from the debate over social progress. Rational Choice propaganda commonly presents the target audience with a false conundrum. A perfect example would be the hardcore propaganda based television show ‘24’ starring Kiefer Sutherland, in which a government “anti-terrorism” agent is faced with a controlled choice scenario in nearly every episode. This choice almost always ends with the agent being forced to set aside his morals and conscience to torture, kill, and destroy without mercy, or, allow millions of innocents to die if he does not.

Of course, the real world does not work this way. Life is not a chess game. Avenues to resolution of any crisis are limited only by our imagination and intelligence, not to mention the immense number of choices that could be made to defuse a crisis before it develops. Yet, Rand would like you to believe that we (and those in government) are required to become monstrous in order to survive. That we should be willing to forgo conscience and justice now for the promise of peace and tranquility later.

This is the age old strategy of Centralization; to remove all choices within a system, by force or manipulation, until the masses think they have nothing left but the choices the elites give them. It is the bread and butter of elitist institutions like Rand Corporation, and is at the core of the push for globalization.

In my studies on the developing economic disaster (or economic recovery depending on who you talk to) I have come across a particular methodology many times which set off my analyst alarm (or spidey-sense, if you will). This latest methodology, called “Linchpin Theory”, revolves around the work of John Casti, a Ph.D. from USC, “complexity scientist” and “systems theorist”, a Futurist, and most notably, a former employee of Rand Corporation:


Casti introduces his idea of “Linchpin Theory” in his book “X-Events: The Collapse Of Everything”, and what I found most immediately striking about the idea of “Linchpin Events” was how they offered perfect scapegoat scenarios for catastrophes that are engineered by the establishment.

Linchpin Theory argues that overt social, political, and technological “complexity” is to blame for the most destructive events in modern human history, and it is indeed an enticing suggestion for those who are uneducated and unaware of the behind the scenes mechanics of world events. Casti would like you to believe that political and social tides are unguided and chaotic; that all is random, and disaster is a product of “chance” trigger events that occur at the height of a malfunctioning and over-complicated system.

What he fails to mention, and what he should well know being a member of Rand, is that global events do not evolve in a vacuum. There have always been those groups who see themselves as the “select”, and who aspire to mold the future to their personal vision of Utopia. It has been openly admitted in myriad official observations on historical events that such groups have had a direct hand in the advent of particular conflicts.

For instance, Casti would call the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria an “X-event”, or linchpin, leading to the outbreak of WWI, when historical fact recalls that particular crisis was carefully constructed with the specific mind to involve the U.S.

Norman Dodd, former director of the Committee to Investigate Tax Exempt Foundations of the U.S. House of Representatives, testified that the Committee was invited to study the minutes of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as part of the Committee's investigation. The Committee stated:

"The trustees of the Foundation brought up a single question. If it is desirable to alter the life of an entire people, is there any means more efficient than war.... They discussed this question... for a year and came up with an answer: There are no known means more efficient than war, assuming the objective is altering the life of an entire people. That leads them to a question: How do we involve the United States in a war. This was in 1909."

So, long before the advent of Ferdinand’s assassination, plans were being set in motion by globalist interests to draw the U.S. into a large scale conflict in order to “alter the life, or thinking, of the entire culture”. When a group of people set out to direct thinking and opportunity towards a particular outcome, and the end result is a culmination of that outcome, it is obviously not coincidence, and it is definitely not providence. It can only be called subversive design.

In the economic arena, one might say that the collapse of Lehman Bros. was the “linchpin” that triggered the landslide in the derivatives market which is still going on to this day. However, the derivatives market bubble was a carefully constructed house of cards, deliberately created with the help of multiple agencies and institutions. The private Federal Reserve had to artificially lower interest rates and inject trillions upon trillions into the housing market, the international banks had to invest those trillions into mortgages that they KNEW were toxic and likely never to be repaid. The Federal Government had to allow those mortgages to then be chopped up into derivatives and resold on the open market. The ratings agencies had to examine those derivatives and obviously defunct mortgages and then stamp them AAA. The SEC had to ignore the massive fraud being done in broad daylight while sweeping thousands of formal complaints and whistle blowers under the rug.

This was not some “random” event caused by uncontrolled “complexity”. This was engineered complexity with a devious purpose. The creation of the derivatives collapse was done with foreknowledge, at least by some. Goldman Sachs was caught red handed betting against their OWN derivatives instruments! Meaning they knew exactly what was about to happen in the market they helped build! This is called Conspiracy…

One might attribute Casti’s idea to a sincere belief in chaos, and a lack of insight into the nature of globalism as a brand of religion. However, in his first and as far as I can tell only interview with Coast To Coast Radio, Casti promotes catastrophic “X-Events” as a “good thing” for humanity, right in line with the Rand Corporation ideology. Casti, being a futurist and elitist, sees the ideas of the past as obsolete when confronted with the technological advancements of the modern world, and so, describes X-event moments as a kind of evolutionary “kickstart”, knocking us out of our old and barbaric philosophies of living and forcing us, through trial by fire, to adapt to a more streamlined culture. The linchpin event is, to summarize Casti’s position, a culture’s way of “punishing itself” for settling too comfortably into its own heritage and traditions. In other words, WE will supposedly be to blame for the next great apocalypse, not the elites…

/... http://www.alt-market.com/articles/1308-the-linchpin-lie-how-global-collapse-will-be-sold-to-the-masses

Note: When Americans refer to 'socialism' they always appear to refer to dictatorial forms of political collectivism. Bolshevik rather than Menshevik rather than Anarchist; Fascist rather than either of those...

Modern European and Latin American types of socialism, on the other hand, are not dictatorial. They are not dictatorial to the extent that the (at least five) pillars of democracy are in place and function as they should. See eg. http://www.rand.org/publications/randreview/issues/spring2004/pillars.html

- edit: (sorry, that last link was meant to be http://india.5thpillar.org/home.html - but do look at the above).

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Response to Ghost Dog (Reply #18)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:28 PM

22. Yes, it's called a conspiracy, it's also called "too big to prosecute"


Good article, that is exactly how economic crimes are sold to the public, by blaming the public.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:34 AM

15. Tax Games and Redistributing Income Upward by Dean Baker


The corporate profit share of national income is near a post-World War II high. The share of income of going to the richest one percent is almost at its pre-Depression peak.

These would seem like impressive accomplishments but the process of upward redistribution, from Joe Sixpack to Joe Six Houses, is a never-ending struggle. Toward this end, Louisiana Governor and Republican wunderkind Bobby Jindal has just proposed replacing the state's income tax with a sales tax.

Sales taxes will generally be more regressive than income taxes for the simple reason that low- and moderate-income people will spend a larger share of their income than upper-income people. That means that the portion of income that wealthy Louisianans save will escape taxation, imposing a larger burden on low- and middle-income families in any revenue neutral shift.

However saving is only part of the story in this picture. Wealthy Louisianans are likely to spend more time and money outside of the state than less affluent residents. Insofar as wealthy Louisianans spend money at out-of-state vacation homes or Parisian shopping trips, they will be creating a tax gap for the less affluent and less well-traveled to fill.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:43 AM

20. S&P Lawyer: DOJ's Investigation Intensified After U.S. Downgrade -CNBC

S&P Lawyer: DOJ's Investigation Intensified After U.S. Downgrade -CNBC

By Dow Jones Business News, February 05, 2013, 11:22:00 AM EDT

By Joan E. Solsman

The Department of Justice intensified its investigation of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services after the firm downgraded the U.S., the company's lawyer said Tuesday.

The comments from Floyd Abrams, who is representing the McGraw-Hill Cos. ( MHP ) unit, come the morning after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder filed civil charges against the bond-rating company over its ratings of mortgage-related securities that buckled in the housing and financial crisis.

Speaking on CNBC, Mr. Abrams said neither he nor his client knows if the suit is politically motivated. He said he didn't know why the probe intensified, adding that he's sure the government would say the downgrade had nothing to do with it.

A spokesman for the Justice Department couldn't be immediately reached for comment. The department is holding a press conference about the suit Tuesday morning.


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:22 PM

21. US markets up, 1:20 p.m.

Markets »
S.&P. 500

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