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Tue Feb 21, 2012, 06:00 PM

STOCK MARKET WATCH - Wednesday, 22 February 2012


STOCK MARKET WATCH, Wednesday, 22 February 2012


SMW for 21 February 2012

AT THE CLOSING BELL ON 21 February 2012

Dow Jones 12,965.69 +15.82 (0.12%)
S&P 500 1,362.21 +0.98 (0.07%)
Nasdaq 2,948.57 -3.21 (-0.11%)


10 Year 2.06% +0.04 (1.98%)
30 Year 3.21% +0.04 (1.26%)









Market Conditions During Trading Hours






Euro, Yen, Loonie, Silver and Gold
















Handy Links - Government Issues:

LegitGov
Open Government
Earmark Database
USA spending.gov





Financial Sector Officials Convicted since 1/20/09 =
12
2/2/12 David Higgs and Salmaan Siddiqui, Credit Suisse, plead guilty to conspiracy involving valuation of MBS









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 - Wednesday, 22 February 2012 (Original post)
Tansy_Gold Feb 2012 OP
CAPHAVOC Feb 2012 #1
Demeter Feb 2012 #2
Demeter Feb 2012 #3
Demeter Feb 2012 #4
Demeter Feb 2012 #5
girl gone mad Feb 2012 #61
girl gone mad Feb 2012 #62
Demeter Feb 2012 #68
girl gone mad Feb 2012 #71
Demeter Feb 2012 #6
just1voice Feb 2012 #58
Demeter Feb 2012 #7
DemReadingDU Feb 2012 #9
Hotler Feb 2012 #74
AnneD Feb 2012 #46
snot Feb 2012 #54
Demeter Feb 2012 #8
Demeter Feb 2012 #23
Demeter Feb 2012 #24
snot Feb 2012 #55
xchrom Feb 2012 #10
Tansy_Gold Feb 2012 #11
xchrom Feb 2012 #14
Demeter Feb 2012 #16
xchrom Feb 2012 #21
AnneD Feb 2012 #49
Demeter Feb 2012 #51
xchrom Feb 2012 #12
xchrom Feb 2012 #13
Tansy_Gold Feb 2012 #33
Demeter Feb 2012 #35
bread_and_roses Feb 2012 #43
AnneD Feb 2012 #56
Fuddnik Feb 2012 #57
AnneD Feb 2012 #67
xchrom Feb 2012 #36
hamerfan Feb 2012 #65
Tansy_Gold Feb 2012 #69
xchrom Feb 2012 #15
Roland99 Feb 2012 #17
Tansy_Gold Feb 2012 #20
Roland99 Feb 2012 #42
Tansy_Gold Feb 2012 #60
Roland99 Feb 2012 #64
hamerfan Feb 2012 #66
Tansy_Gold Feb 2012 #70
hamerfan Feb 2012 #73
Demeter Feb 2012 #18
Po_d Mainiac Feb 2012 #19
DemReadingDU Feb 2012 #22
Demeter Feb 2012 #25
Demeter Feb 2012 #26
Demeter Feb 2012 #28
xchrom Feb 2012 #27
Demeter Feb 2012 #29
Demeter Feb 2012 #30
Demeter Feb 2012 #39
Demeter Feb 2012 #50
xchrom Feb 2012 #31
Demeter Feb 2012 #32
Demeter Feb 2012 #34
kickysnana Feb 2012 #44
Demeter Feb 2012 #48
Fuddnik Feb 2012 #59
kickysnana Feb 2012 #72
Demeter Feb 2012 #37
girl gone mad Feb 2012 #63
Demeter Feb 2012 #38
Demeter Feb 2012 #40
xchrom Feb 2012 #41
xchrom Feb 2012 #45
xchrom Feb 2012 #47
xchrom Feb 2012 #52
Demeter Feb 2012 #53

Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 21, 2012, 06:11 PM

1. Bull Flag

 

On the oil chart. Someone on CNBC said.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 21, 2012, 09:55 PM

2. U.S. Treasury, Banks Look for TARP Exit Plan By Andrew Dunn

http://www.nationofchange.org/us-treasury-banks-look-tarp-exit-plan-1329842847

The federal government's desire to end the politically unpopular bank bailout program could change how a number of Charlotte-area community banks pay back their share...As the nation heads into a presidential election year, the U.S. Treasury has begun communicating with community banks around the country as it plans an exit from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The government cannot force banks to repay TARP, under the terms of the capital investments brokered at the height of the financial crisis. To extricate itself, the Treasury is considering selling its stakes to third parties or restructuring their terms, said a Treasury official who asked not to be named because the process has not been made public.

Charlotte-area bank executives said they don't expect the initiative to bring dramatic changes. They've already weighed an exit as the investments are set to become more costly to the banks. But depending on how aggressive the government decides to be, the Treasury's moves could mean local banks will be able to put the bailout behind them at a discount. The Treasury could also auction off its TARP investments to private equity firms or push community banks to merge.

In fall 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law the plan to inject $205 billion into more than 700 banks, largely as preferred stock, to help shore up their balance sheets as the financial crisis rocked capital levels and threatened liquidity. Bank of America received $45 billion, which it repaid by the end of 2009. Wells Fargo got $25 billion, paid off about the same time. But as of last month, about $16.8 billion in TARP capital purchase program principal remained to be repaid from about 370 banks, according to the U.S. Treasury. Most of them are community banks. Two dozen North Carolina-based banks had $409 million still on the books.

Despite the outstanding investment, the program has been profitable, according to reports from the U.S. Treasury and the General Accountability Office. Income received from full repayments, dividends and interest, and other payments exceeded the total the government laid out. The GAO estimates the program will earn $13 billion over its lifetime. But the government has been under increasing pressure to end its involvement. The most recent quarterly report from the Special Inspector General for the TARP program pushed for a concrete plan to unwind investments in community banks to remove uncertainty in the market. It said the Treasury's next steps would be critical...In late November, the Treasury sent a letter to all banks still in the TARP program, saying the government had hired Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc. for $4.5 million as a consultant to explore options about the "management and ultimate recovery" of the Treasury's investments, according to the letter. A few weeks later, Houlihan Lokey consultants began calling bank executives around the country, including a number in the Charlotte area, asking about their plans for the TARP investments and whether repayment could come soon...Many community banks around the country still struggle with loan losses, making swift repayment unlikely. A more likely result is that the government would sell its TARP stakes, possibly at auction, said B.T. Atkinson, a partner at corporate law firm Bryan Cave LLP, which represents community banks. Bryan Cave attorneys believe the Treasury could move forward as early as the third quarter, which, not coincidentally, overlaps with November's presidential election....The Treasury does not have a timeline for making a decision, spokesman Matt Anderson said...The Treasury has already restructured or altered a number of TARP investments around the country. Last year, for example, Asheboro-based FNB United was allowed to merge with Bank of Granite, with the government's stake converted to common stock at a 75 percent discount.

TALK ABOUT YOUR CARTE BLANCHE, SWEETHEART DEALS!

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 21, 2012, 10:03 PM

3. Eurozone approves second Greek bailout

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2012/02/201222132429323747.html

Eurozone finance ministers have approved a 130bn euro ($170bn) second bailout package for Greece to resolve the debt-ridden nation's immediate repayment needs.

The deal reached after 13 hours of tortuous talks in Brussels, however, is unlikely to revive Greece's ailing economy.

Al Jazeera's John Psaropoulos, reporting from Greece, said: "The deal involves offering Greece a package of $170bn as originally envisaged in a bailout loan." The deal will bring government debt in Athens down to "120.5 per cent" of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020, a eurozone governmental source told the AFP news agency.

"We're very happy," Lucas Papademos, the Greek prime minister, said after the accord was sealed on Tuesday.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN "WE", GOLDMAN?

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Response to Demeter (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 21, 2012, 10:06 PM

4. Greece Gets Another Reprieve BY KEVIN DRUM

http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/02/greece-gets-another-reprieve

After receiving €110 billion in bailout money two years ago, Greece received another €130 million today. Before it was approved, however, the eurozone finance ministers received a confidential report with some grim news. The Financial Times got hold of a copy:

The 10-page debt sustainability analysis, distributed to eurozone officials last week but obtained by the Financial Times on Monday night, found that even under the most optimistic scenario, the austerity measures being imposed on Athens risk a recession so deep that Greece will not be able to climb out of the debt hole over the course of a new three-year, €170bn bail-out.

It warned that two of the new bail-out’s main principles might be self-defeating. Forcing austerity on Greece could cause debt levels to rise by severely weakening the economy while its €200bn debt restructuring could prevent Greece from ever returning to the financial markets by scaring off future private investors.

....The report made clear why the fight over the new Greek bail-out has been so intense. A German-led group of creditor countries — including the Netherlands and Finland — has expressed extreme reluctance to go through with the deal since they received the report.


It's not clear to me why this report changed anyone's attitude toward Greece. Of course the austerity measures being imposed on Greece are going to send them into an even more wrenching recession. And of course no one in their right mind is going to loan money to Greece for many, many years to come. This can't possibly have come as a surprise to anyone, could it?

If Europe wants Greece to survive as part of the eurozone, its member countries are probably going to have to commit to a nearly open-ended flow of fiscal transfers, just as California is implicitly committed to an open-ended flow of fiscal transfers to Mississippi:

A “tailored downside scenario” in the report suggests...Greece would need about €245bn in bail-out aid, far more than the €170bn under the “baseline” projections eurozone ministers were using in all-night negotiations in Brussels on Monday....Even under a more favourable scenario, Greece could need an additional €50bn by the end of the decade on top of the €136bn in new funds until 2014 being debated by finance ministers on Monday night.


I'm willing to bet that even these scenarios are unduly rosy. A more realistic analysis would probably produce even grimmer news, but that's the price of a fixed-exchange-rate area. If the eurozone's rich countries aren't willing to sign up for this, they probably should have just cut the cord now and thrown Greece to the wolves.

UPDATE: Felix Salmon is blunter than I am: even the "tailored downside," he says, "still looks astonishingly optimistic." His whole piece is worth a read. It explains the deal in pretty lucid terms. SEE NEXT POST

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Response to Demeter (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 21, 2012, 10:14 PM

5. The improbable Greece plan By Felix Salmon

http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/02/21/the-improbable-greece-plan/

Greece is now officially a ward of the international community. It has no real independence when it comes to fiscal policy any more, and if everything goes according to plan, it’s not going to have any independence for many, many years to come. Here, for instance, is a little of the official Eurogroup statement:

We therefore invite the Commission to significantly strengthen its Task Force for Greece, in particular through an enhanced and permanent presence on the ground in Greece… The Eurogroup also welcomes the stronger on site-monitoring capacity by the Commission to work in close and continuous cooperation with the Greek government in order to assist the Troika in assessing the conformity of measures that will be taken by the Greek government, thereby ensuring the timely and full implementation of the programme. The Eurogroup also welcomes Greece’s intention to put in place a mechanism that allows better tracing and monitoring of the official borrowing and internally-generated funds destined to service Greece’s debt by, under monitoring of the troika, paying an amount corresponding to the coming quarter’s debt service directly to a segregated account of Greece’s paying agent.


The problem, of course, is that all the observers and “segregated accounts” in the world can’t turn Greece’s economy around when it’s burdened with an overvalued currency and has no ability to implement any kind of stimulus. Quite the opposite: in order to get this deal done, Greece had to find yet another €325 million in “structural expenditure reductions”, and promise a huge amount of front-loaded austerity to boot. The effect of all this fiscal tightening? Magic growth! A huge amount of heavy lifting, in terms of making the numbers work, is done by the debt sustainability analysis, and specifically the assumptions it makes. Greece is five years into a gruesome recession with the worst effects of austerity yet to hit. But somehow the Eurozone expects that Greece will bounce back to zero real GDP growth in 2013, and positive real GDP growth from 2014 onwards.

CHART AT LINK

Note that the downside, here, still looks astonishingly optimistic: where’s all this economic growth meant to be coming from, in a country suffering from massive wage deflation? And under this pretty upbeat downside scenario, Greece gets nowhere near the required 120% debt-to-GDP level by 2020: instead, it only gets to 159%. And to make things worse for the Eurozone, the report explicitly says that under the terms of this deal, “any new debt will be junior to all existing debt” — in other words, there’s no way at all that Greece is going to be able to borrow on the private markets for the foreseeable future, so long as this plan is in place.

As in all bankruptcies, the person providing new money gets to call the shots. And it’s pretty clear that the Troika is going to have to continue providing new money long through 2020 and beyond. Under the optimistic scenario, Greece’s financing need doesn’t drop below 7% of GDP through 2020. Under the more pessimistic scenario, it’s 8.8%. And here’s the kicker: all of that money is being lent to Greece at very low interest rates of just 210bp over the risk-free rate. Much higher, and Greece’s debt dynamics get even worse. But of course even with well-below-market interest rates, Greece is still never going to pay that money back...The cost of this plan is €130 billion right now, and €170 billion over three years, through the end of 2014; it just continues going up from there, with no end in sight. Remember that total Greek GDP, right now, is only about €220 billion and falling....Oh, and in case you forgot, this whole plan is also contingent on a bunch of things which are outside the Troika’s control, including a successful bond exchange. The terms of the deal, for Greek bondholders, are tough: there’s a nominal haircut of 53.5%, which means that you get 46.5 cents of new debt for every dollar of existing bonds that you hold. The new debt will be a mixture of EFSF obligations and new Greek bonds; the new Greek debt will pay just 3% interest through 2020, and 3.75% until maturity in 2042....MORE




GOOD READING IN COMMENTS, TOO

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Response to Demeter (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 02:53 PM

61. Scandal: Greece To Receive "Negative" Cash From "Second Bailout" As It Funds Insolvent European Bank

Earlier today, we learned the first stunner of the Greek "bailout package", which courtesy of some convoluted transmission mechanisms would result in some, potentially quite many, Greek workers actually paying to retain their jobs: i.e., negative salaries. Now, having looked at the Eurogroup's statement on the Greek bailout, we find another very creative use of "negative" numbers. And by creative we mean absolutely shocking and scandalous. First, as a reminder, even before the current bailout mechanism was in place, Greece barely saw 20% of any actual funding, with the bulk of the money going to European and Greek banks (of which the former ultimately also ended up funding the ECB and thus European banks). Furthermore, we already know that as part of the latest set of conditions of the second Greek bailout, an 'Escrow Account" would be established: this is simply a means for Greek creditors to have a senior claims over any "bailout" cash that is actually disbursed for things such as, you know, a Greek bailout, where the money actually trickles down where it is most needed - the Greek citizens. Here is where it just got surreal. It turns out that not only will Greece not see a single penny from the Second Greek bailout, whose entire Use of Proceeds will be limited to funding debt interest and maturity payments, but the country will actually have to fund said escrow! You read that right: the Greek bailout #2 is nothing but a Greek-funded bailout of Europe's insolvent banks... and the Greek constitution is about to be changed to reflect this!

The smoking gun quote:

The Eurogroup also welcomes Greece's intention to put in place a mechanism that allows better tracing and monitoring of the official borrowing and internally-generated funds destined to service Greece's debt by, under monitoring of the troika, paying an amount corresponding to the coming quarter's debt service directly to a segregated account of Greece's paying agent.


As for the priority of payments - it is more than clear:

Finally, the Eurogroup in this context welcomes the intention of the Greek authorities to introduce over the next two months in the Greek legal framework a provision ensuring that priority is granted to debt servicing payments. This provision will be introduced in the Greek constitution as soon as possible.


So there you have it: the Second Greek bailout is nothing but the first Greek bailout of Europe's banks! And the Greek constitution is about to be changed to reflect that.

read more: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/scandal-greece-receive-negative-cash-second-bailout-it-funds-insolvent-european-banks

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Response to Demeter (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 02:58 PM

62. "...beginning this month some Greeks will have to pay for the privilege of having a job."


http://www.thepressproject.gr/listen.php?id=13457&date=2012-02-22

Up to 64,000 teachers, municipal employees etc to work without salary
Salary cutbacks (called "unified payroll") for contract workers at the public sector set to be finalized today. Cuts to be valid retroactively since november 2011. Expected result: Up to 64,000 people will work without salary this month, or even be asked to return money. Amongst them 21,000 teachers, 13,000 municipal employees and 30,000 civil servants.

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Response to girl gone mad (Reply #62)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 05:15 PM

68. Well now, the world has gone mad

Or at least, Europe has..so you won't be alone any more, ggm (and we are all there with you, of course...)

This is obscenely unbelievable, inconceivable, unadulterated piracy and madness combined.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #68)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 05:43 PM

71. Coming soon to a theater near you..

"In a world gone mad..."

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 21, 2012, 10:17 PM

6. The Gas Wars By Robert Reich

http://www.nationofchange.org/gas-wars-1329834850

Nothing drives voter sentiment like the price of gas – now averaging $3.56 a gallon, up 30 cents from the start of the year. It’s already hit $4 in some places. The last time gas topped $4 was 2008.

And nothing energizes Republicans like rising energy prices. Last week House Speaker John Boehner told Republicans to take advantage of voters’ looming anger over prices at the pump. On Thursday House Republicans passed a bill to expand offshore drilling and force the White House to issue a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The tumult prompted the Interior Department to announce on Friday expanded oil exploration in the Arctic. If prices at the pump continue to rise, expect more gas wars.

In fact, oil prices are rising for three reasons — none of which has to do with offshore drilling or the XL pipeline.
The first, on the supply side, is Iran’s decision to cut oil exports to Britain and France in retaliation for sanctions put in place by the EU and United States. Iran’s threat to do this has been pushing up crude oil prices for weeks....The second, on the demand side, is rising hopes for a global economic recovery – which would mean increased oil consumption. The American economy is showing faint signs of a recovery. Europe’s debt crisis appears to be easing. Greece’s pending bailout deal is calming financial nerves on both sides of the Atlantic, and the Bank of England and European Central Bank are keeping rates low. At the same time, China has decided to boost its money supply to spur growth there.

Neither of these would have much effect were it not for the third reason — overwhelming bets of hedge funds and other money managers that oil prices will rise on the basis of the first two reasons. Speculators have pushed crude oil to $105.28 per barrel, up 35 percent since September. Brent crude, Europe’s benchmark, is now $120.37 a barrel – also worrisome because many East Coast refineries use imported oil.

Funny, I don’t hear Republicans rail against speculators. Could that have anything to do with the fact that hedge funds and money managers are bankrolling the GOP as never before?

But that’s okay. The gas wars may come to a screeching halt before too long, anyway. So many bets are being placed on rising oil prices that the slightest hint the speculators are wrong – almost any sign of expanding supply or declining demand – will set off a sharp drop in oil prices similar to the record one-day fall on May 5 of last year.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 11:44 AM

58. "overwhelming bets of hedge funds" = entire stock market, not just oil

 

I'm sure you are already aware of it but I think we are both acutely aware that one day soon when it all collapses again, like it did in 2008, people will all ask "how did this happen"? Never mind that history, corruption and people like us have been telling people every day that it's going to happen and why.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Tue Feb 21, 2012, 10:19 PM

7. ILLUSION OF CHOICE



“Media has never been more consolidated. 6 media giants now control a staggering 90% of what we read, watch or listen to.”

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Response to Demeter (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 07:04 AM

9. I have detached from all those media giants and their propeties, except


occasionally I do watch 60 Minutes


I rarely even watch the local news on TV. But the other day, I had heard about something, and tuned in to 1 of the 3 local TV stations, and I didn't even recognize the the anchor person. So I flipped around to the other 2 stations, and they also had new anchors. Am I'm wondering, how long had it really been since I watched TV?

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Response to DemReadingDU (Reply #9)

Thu Feb 23, 2012, 11:31 AM

74. C-SPAN, John Stewart, Colbert and Late breaking News here on DU .....

is about all I take in. The only reason I keep cable is for C-SPAN, Comedy Central and motorcycle racing on Speed. Oh! And the music channels for Jazz and Blues without commercials.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:45 AM

46. Weaning yourself off controlled media....

During the Recession in the 80's-I discontinued the news paper and cable for monetary reason.

I did hook up to internet in the early 90's and watched regular tv and listened to radio for news. In the late 90's I moved to the mountians of NM. There was no reception save cable. When given the choice of cable or internet for budgetary reasons, I again chose internet and listened to radio for my news. Year before last I gave up listening to the radio (usually during drive time) for Lent. Funny thing was it turned out not to be a sacrifice at all. I seldom listen anymore. There is a small local station out of Tomball Texas that plays local musicians. I love it because they have a very long, very different play list (no more 32 years of Mrs. Robinson). I listen to our local Pacifica station for a good variety also, but many time my radio is off.

I don't like Googles new non-privacy policy so internet may be greatly restricted. Has all this lack of 'snews' made me an uninformed citizen? Quite the contrary. I can hold an intelligent conversation with anyone and folks that know me think of me as a very informed person. If you ask me about the flap surrounding Whitney Houstons death-I would be hard pressed to tell you, even though I met Bobby Brown when I worked in retail (I was unimpressed and had a poor opinion of him as a person after meeting him). I refuse to get all worked up about Royality on either side of the Atlantic or the goings on of the rich and famous. If I see another vampire anything I think I might commit sepku.

We are much the poorer for this consolidation of news and information. This consolidation along with the loss of personal liberty and rights via NANDA amounts to nothing more than the worst Fascist State....EVER. We are no longer at the precipice but descending down the slippery slope to a police state. Honestly, when the best news you get is from Comedy Central or the Russian Times and Al Jezerra, something is wrong with the media in this country

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Response to Demeter (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 10:21 AM

54. That's been pretty much the case for many years now,

at least w.r.t. traditional media.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 04:05 AM

8. Can There Be “Good” Corporations?

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/9-strategies-to-end-corporate-rule/can-there-be-201cgood201d-corporations

When companies are owned by workers and the community—instead of Wall Street financiers—everything changes...Our economic system is profoundly broken. To anyone paying attention, that much is clear. But what’s less clear is this: Our approach to fixing the economy is broken as well. The whole notion of “fighting corporate power” arises from an underlying belief that there is no alternative to capitalism as we know it. Starting from the insight that capitalism has become virtually a universal economy, we conclude that our best hope is to regulate corporations and work for countervailing powers like unions. But then we’ve lost before we begin. We’ve defined ourselves as marginal and powerless.

There is another approach. It’s bubbling up all around us in the form of economic alternatives like cooperatives, employee-owned firms, social enterprises, and community land trusts...Ownership unites them. That’s the reason that these different models represent change that goes deep. It’s the reason this change is fundamental, enduring, and real. This transformation doesn’t depend on the legislative or presidential whims of a particular hour, but is instead a permanent shift in the underlying architecture of economic power.

The alternatives emerging in our time represent an unsung ownership revolution. This revolution is about broadening economic power from the few to the many and redefining the purpose of economic activity. The aim isn’t to endlessly grow gross domestic product or to create wealth for a financial elite, but to generate the conditions for the flourishing of life...We can call this new economy the generative economy. The word generative is from the Greek ge; it’s the same root form found in the word Gaia and means “the carrying on of life.” The generative economy is one whose fundamental architecture tends to create beneficial rather than harmful outcomes. It has a built-in tendency to be socially fair and ecologically sustainable...

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Response to Demeter (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:06 AM

23. 9 Strategies to End Corporate Rule

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/9-strategies-to-end-corporate-rule/9-strategies-to-end-corporate-rule

Corporate power is behind the politics of climate denial, Wall Street bailouts, union busting, and media consolidation, to name just a few. And policies advocated by the 1 percent are bankrupting the middle class. But real people have power, too. Here are some of their most successful strategies.

1. Amend the constitution to end corporate personhood.

2. Dive into grassroots campaigns. (POLICY, NOT POLITICS)

3. Hold corporations accountable to our laws.

4. Get Past the Propaganda

5. Support independent media and keep the Internet free.

6. Protect the Commons

7. Vote. Protect our democracy.

8. Make your dollars matter.

9. Get creative to raise awareness.

MULTIPLE LINKS TO ARTICLES ON EACH POINT AT ORIGINAL LINK

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Response to Demeter (Reply #23)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:10 AM

24. Petition to Break Up Bank of America Pushes Forward

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Response to Demeter (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 10:27 AM

55. I.m.h.o., we need a thorough review of corporate and other entity law.

Most people don't understand it. Among other things, how necessary, really, is the corporate shield from personal liability for executives' decisions? If Sr. management were more easily held accountable for corp. misconduct, THAT would be a real deterrent -- as opposed to the "corporate death penalty" some activists call for, which wd merely mean the executives would have to continue their bad behavior elsewhere.

I agree that it makes a difference who owns a corp.

But it also matters how big it is, among other factors.

And the "democracy" of shareholder voting is much weaker and more easily hijacked than the governmental democracy we used to have, as well as the transparency, etc.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 07:08 AM

10. oh look what i found....morning

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Response to xchrom (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 07:11 AM

11. Yeah, me, too.



Should be another glorious day here, and I'll be stuck for most of it at the desk with the day job. Oh, well, it could be worse.


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #11)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 07:26 AM

14. mistress tansy

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Response to xchrom (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 07:41 AM

16. Where?

(Blurry-eyed)

I got trained in chairing a precinct yesterday, and reelected to the Condo board in absentia...it was a busy night. I'm told the condo annual meeting legally occurred, finally. And the washer got fixed, so yesterday was a busy day. Today I get to work myself to death from 1PM to 1AM...so pardon me if I go back to sleep a bit.

Sorry for the PTSD, but the washer breaking was the last straw....I still feel a bit shell-shocked, but time and tide wait not.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:05 AM

21. you take care of your self.

congrats being re=elected to the board and -- wow -- precinct chair?!?!
you do keep busy.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:57 AM

49. I stayed out late phone banking.....

trying to get local teachers to answer a ASU survery about the EVASS evaluation system they are doing here. It has national implications so it is important to help teachers win back their rights as educators. Sad thing was, I was the only one there and I am not even a teacher and yet I know how important it is to protect and defend our educational system. I did good though and there should me more volunteers later in the week.

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Response to AnneD (Reply #49)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 10:06 AM

51. SEE the creepy math modeling article

It's very relevant to "education" bidness.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 07:15 AM

12. European Stocks Fall on Worse-Than-Expected PMI Data; TUI Drops

http://sfgate.bdc.bloomberg.wallst.com/SFChronicle/Story?docId=1376-LZS7YS6JIJUO01-5R3O19TNNFISK3SCFG2M0JUV3N

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- European stocks retreated for a second day after a report showed services and manufacturing expansion in the euro area unexpectedly contracted in February. Asian stocks rose and U.S. index futures fell.

Straumann Holding AG, the world’s biggest maker of dental implants, fell the most in more than three years after full-year profit missed analysts’ estimates. TUI AG, Europe’s largest travel company, declined 6 percent as a stakeholder sold a 12.9- million block of shares. PSA Peugeot Citroen, Europe’s second- largest carmaker, surged 17 percent.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.8 percent to 264.71 at 11:17 a.m. in London. The gauge has still rallied 8.3 percent this year amid speculation that the euro area’s sovereign-debt crisis will be contained and as U.S. economic data exceeded forecasts. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.1 percent and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures fell 0.1 percent.

“Given that Europe is still shrouded by the cloud of recession, a weak PMI -- though not rain on the parade -- will surely damp investor sentiment,” said Manish Singh, the London- based head of investment at Crossbridge Capital, which has more than $2 billion under management. “In particular, weak numbers from Germany indicate weak European demand and a weak growth prospect for the eurozone as a whole.”

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 07:24 AM

13. Why The Fast Food Industry Hates The Idea of Raising The Minimum Wage

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2012/02/20/why_the_fast_food_industry_hates_the_idea_of_raising_the_minimum_wage.html

As Laura Clawson observes, unlike other kinds of restaurants fast food outlets actually have to pay the minimum wage which naturally makes them the heart of hostility to increases:

Restaurant workers who make the federal minimum wage for tipped workers are pretty well screwed: That minimum wage is just $2.13 an hour, the theory being that tips will be enough for these workers to get by. When tips don't bring workers up to the full federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, their employers are supposed to make up the difference, but in practice, that's an invitation for bosses to pressure workers to just accept below-minimum wages.



find that a lot of discussions of the appropriate level of the minimum wage tend to be unduly abstracted away from the practicalities. The food service industry is precisely where the "marginal worker" tends to be employed, and I think it's no coincidence that this industry features a gigantic loophole to the generally prevailing rule. To really put competing theories of the minimum wage to the test, you'd have to have a loophole-free generally enforced rule. Instead we have a big loophole for waitresses and at the other end of the labor market a big loophole for interns.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #13)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:53 AM

33. Why Tansy Gold hates the fast food "industry"

Oops, sorry, don't have enough time to list ALL the reasons. . . .


I have yet to figure out why In-n-Out Burger is such a big deal. The BF insisted we go there a few weeks ago, as he thought he was going to introduce me to something new, even though I told him I've been to them before. I repeated that information on the way. And I said I hadn't been impressed with the one up on Bell Road and 83rd (or whatever it is) over by the Peoria Sports Complex or the one in Goodyear. But he had been to the one on Bell Road and was blown away by it, so we had to go to the one on Signal Butte in Mesa. (and yes, I realize most of you have no idea where these locations are, but it's my post.)

What I got was a thin, overcooked, dry piece of meat (? maybe?) on a cheap dry bun with a slice of cheese (? maybe), a cardboard try of the most tasteless fries I have EVER eaten in my life, and a soft freeze chocolate milk shake. Lousy. Absolutely lousy. And with almost no nutritional value at all.

I would almost suspect the chain put some kind of drug in their product, because I can't imagine any other reason why people would flock to the place.

Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.


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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #33)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:10 AM

35. It's because a lot of people cannot cook

either no skill, or no equipment...

and the rest cannot taste. And then, there are those with more money than time or sense, or small children (you remember those days, but we were not trying to be full-time mothers AND fathers then).

It is a visible sign of our non-functional economy and society. One of many.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #35)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:38 AM

43. all too true - an example from yesterday

A coworker was going to a lunch place and taking orders from us - now, this is actually a local establishment, with a good reputation, and it actually does have good (real) burgers, chicken, pork bar-b-que - made on the premises and from good quality ingredients.

I was both hungry and cold so I ordered a sandwich and soup. The sandwich was good - as usual. The soup - omg - obviously from some sort of mix - supposed to be "cream of broccoli" but more accurate would be "corn starch with green bits floating" - gack - totally inedible.

I was so annoyed that I came home and made cream of broccoli soup - about 20 minutes:


saute onions in butter (would have added celery but I was out of it)
steam broccoli
puree broccoli in blender with some milk
add to cooked onions
add some half & half
salt and fresh pepper
heat to simmering
eat with good bread


delicious. absolutely no thickening required - the broccoli thickens it just fine - how hard is that? But everywhere I go soup is thickened with corn starch and no doubt sweetened with corn syrup and is vile - but I watch people lapping it up and saying how good it is? What the hell do they eat that so deadens their taste buds, their sense of texture?
edit for recipe 'cause it was unclear (though any cook would have known what I meant)

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Response to bread_and_roses (Reply #43)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 10:44 AM

56. I make most of our meals at home anymore.....

Sunday is my cooking day. I have the oven, counter top oven, and crock pot going all day long. At the end of the day, I have wonderful dinners and lunches for the entire week. Hubby is so happy-he has gotten to like some of the meals, especially the Tex-Mex dishes. He will bring some Indian dishes that his students make for him to add to the selection. I barely lift a finger during the week, well...I do make the coffee in the morning, but not much more.

We use to eat out often-and we will still go out, but we are very selective anymore because the food is better at home. And we tip very generously because we know the waitstaff makes squat.

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Response to AnneD (Reply #56)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 11:31 AM

57. If your daughter ever calls home and says, "I tried Five Guys", don't get upset!

It's a burger chain.

On a serious note, last Sunday my wife went out to pick up a couple of things at Publix. She brought home a vacuum sealed package of grass-fed ground beef, no hormones, anti-biotics, or other shit. Free range grazed, etc.

Oh my God! I haven't tasted a burger that good in over 20 years. I remember what beef tasted like when I was a kid, and this shit we buy now ain't it! I chalked it up to getting older taste buds, smoking, etc. But, this was the real deal. It's what beef tasted like before they started putting ll this shit in it, and mixing concrete mix (yeah, they really do that) in with their feed.

It was expensive, $7.29 a pound, but worth every bite!

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Response to Fuddnik (Reply #57)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 03:30 PM

67. You would not believe what Monsanto.....

has in store for us in the future. Despite repeated surveys stating the public does not want or like the taste of GMO's, they are hell bent to ram it down our throats and shutting down the small farms and roadside stands as a threat to public safety.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #33)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:11 AM

36. i feel your pain, mistress tansy.

i LOVE a good hamburger -- and you can't get one at an establishment like that.

BTW -- years and years ago -- i used to live in mesa.
during 1 election cycle the good citizens of mesa voted down bus service -- because they didn't want the kind of people who took buses in mesa

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #33)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 03:10 PM

65. In-n-Out fanbois

can be as bad as Apple fanbois.
I was at one, once, several years ago. I don't understand the fascination with them either.

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Response to hamerfan (Reply #65)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 05:34 PM

69. OMFG!

The sig line!!!

I've never been someone else's sig line!

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 07:35 AM

15. Keystone XL Would Raise Gas Prices, Not Lower Them

http://www.thenation.com/blog/166399/keystone-xl-would-raise-gas-prices-not-lower-them

A basic Republican attack on President Obama is shaping up for the 2012 election: that the national debt, the unemployment level and gas prices are all way too high.

Two of these three issues find a home in the Keystone XL pipeline—the boilerplate Republican argument is that the White House not only killed a project that could provide jobs in construction and maintenance, but also exacerbated higher gas prices by denying the markets more oil. Rick Santorum charged in Ohio yesterday that Obama’s “radical environmentalist policies” were threatening the economic recovery and driving up fuel prices. Mitt Romney has been sounding similar notes.

Unfortunately, there’s an all-too-typical problem with the Republican line on Keystone: it’s completely unsupported by the facts. On the jobs front, the Cornell Global Labor Institute estimates the project would create only 2,500 to 4,650 short-term construction jobs—not the “hundreds of thousands” of jobs claimed by House Speaker John Boehner.

Similarly, gas prices would not decrease if Keystone was built—they’d likely go up in many areas of the country. Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and leader of the movement to stop the pipeline, took to The Hill today to debunk this myth:

This is nonsense on many fronts, most of all because the price is oil is fundamentally set on global markets. As the Congressional Research Service pointed out in late January, when there’s trouble in places like the Straits of Hormuz, the price of oil goes up for everyone and Keystone will make no difference, since the oil market is “globally integrated’; it’s not like Exxon offers a home-country discount to American motorists.

But in the case of the Keystone pipeline, it turns out there’s a special twist. At the moment, there’s an oversupply of tarsands crude in the Midwest, which has depressed gas prices there. If the pipeline gets built so that crude can easily be sent overseas, that excess will immediately disappear and gas prices for 15 states across the middle of the country will suddenly rise. Says who? Says the companies trying to build the thing. Transcanada Pipeline’s rationale for investors, and their testimony to Canadian officials, included precisely this point: removing the “oversupply’ and the resulting “price discount” would raise their returns by $2 to $4 billion a year.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 07:42 AM

17. ha! nice toon

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Response to Roland99 (Reply #17)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:05 AM

20. I figured it was appropriate.

None of these bailouts mean a damn thing if the underlying problems aren't fixed, and NO ONE, NOWHERE is offering any solutions.

Redistribution of hoarded wealth is the only answer. "They" don't even want to address the problems because "they" know that's the only answer, but of course the problems don't really affect "them."


When the loopholes become nooses. . . . . . . .

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #20)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:33 AM

42. And Greek 1-yr bonds have hit a yield of 763%!!

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Response to Roland99 (Reply #42)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 02:15 PM

60. I have no clue what that means. n/t

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #60)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 03:01 PM

64. Consider the 1-year US Treasury yield is 0.13%

it means Greece is a pretty damn poor place to invest one's money...it's that risky!

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #20)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 03:25 PM

66. "When the loopholes become nooses. . . . . . . ."

Sig-Worthy!
hamerfan

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Response to hamerfan (Reply #66)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 05:39 PM

70. OMFG! I saw the other one first!





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Response to Tansy_Gold (Reply #70)

Thu Feb 23, 2012, 04:19 AM

73. Ooooh, sparklies!

I likes sparklies even better than ponies. You don't have to feed them or clean up after them.
hamerfan

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 07:59 AM

18. Economic Recovery Without the Pain of De-Leveraging By Bill Bonner

We left Baltimore about 10 days ago. We’ve stopped in Miami…Managua…San Jose and Panama City. Now, we’re on the Rio Plata…in the Palermo Soho section of Buenos Aires.(ARGENTINA)

“Did you see the Dollar Sniffers at the airport?” asked a friend.

“The what?”

“The dogs. The police have trained dogs to be able to detect dollars in your luggage.”

“Why would they do that?”


We’ve heard about the ‘risk off’ trades in Europe and America. Fearful investors forsake their Portuguese bonds and Chinese stocks for the relative safety of US dollars. But here, the safety of the dollar is a more tangible and more immediate concern.

“People are getting nervous again. The inflation rate is increasing. Nobody knows for sure. The government lies. And they threaten to put you in jail if you publish an alternative number.

“So people watch the prices for pizza and hamburgers. There’s a pizza chain that sells the cheapest pizzas in Argentina, called ‘Uggi’. It’s so cheap you have to pay extra if you want a cardboard box. They put their prices right on the front of the store. So you can see immediately how much prices are going up. I think they’re going up at about a 25% rate. More than 3 times faster than the government claims.

“We used to watch the price of a Big Mac combo, too. But the government put pressure on McDonald’s to hold down the price…in exchange for some tax benefit or something.

“The Argentine economy is really very robust. It has to be. People have to find ways around all these stupid laws. They pass a law to prevent you from importing something because they want to ‘protect’ some local industry that the politicians have an interest in. Or they pass a law to prevent you from exporting something because they want to force you to sell it to local people at a low price.

“Those dollar-sniffing dogs, for example, are another way they try to keep people from protecting themselves from the government’s inflation. They don’t want people to convert their pesos into dollars…and then take them out of the country.

“They also make it hard for you to spend money. You have to show where you got the money. Otherwise, the seller is likely to denounce you to the police. So people are careful. They don’t want to buy. They don’t want to spend. What a way to run an economy!

“I’ve got a friend who sells Harley Davidsons. He has customers who want to buy them, but he can’t get them. Because the government is trying to favor some other industry. And then they stopped you from importing tires…so you couldn’t get tires for your car. That’s why you see so many trucks with bald tires. It’s dangerous. But it’s just what you get when you start monkeying with an economy.


Read more: Economic Recovery Without the Pain of De-Leveraging http://dailyreckoning.com/economic-recovery-without-the-pain-of-de-leveraging/#ixzz1n7Bvc1n7

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:04 AM

19. Developing story

Although it will likely go the same route as the inquest into the funds at MFG or the farce that the ‘mortgage fraud' prosecution has become.




The unnamed bank, seeking immunity, told Canada’s Competition Bureau that traders and cash brokers conspired to influence the Yen London interbank offered rate from 2007 to 2010 to profit on interest-rate derivative positions linked to the benchmark. The bureau spelled out the probe in documents it filed with the Ontario Superior Court in May.


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-15/jpmorgan-hsbc-implicated-by-informant-bank-in-canada-libor-case.html

What the article doesn't state, is JPM’s exposure to IR derivatives is estimated to be around $61T....Just a tad more than a few years worth of the world's GDP.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:05 AM

22. Fitch downgrades Greece


2/22/12 Fitch ratings agency downgrades Greece from CCC to C, indicating default 'highly likely'

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Fitch ratings agency says it has downgraded Greece further into junk status, from 'CCC' to 'C' following the announcement of the details of the country's debt swap deal with private creditors.

The agency said Wednesday the downgrade indicated "that default is highly likely in the near term." In June, the agency had said it would consider Greece to be in restricted default if the bond swap deal went ahead.

The bond swap deal with private creditors will see euro107 billion ($141 billion) of Greece's debt held by banks and other private holders of government bonds written off.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/fitch-downgrades-greece-115003623.html

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:15 AM

25. The Definition of Insanity: Deregulating Over and Over and Expecting Different Results

http://www.nationofchange.org/definition-insanity-deregulating-over-and-over-and-expecting-different-results-1329755040

A cynic might argue that business leaders and their friends in Congress weren't expecting different results...In either case, we've become a bipolar nation, 1% manic and 99% depressive. Our affliction is caused by a 30-year experiment in the dismal economics of delusion. Deregulation for corporations and tax cuts for the wealthy have defined conservative policy since the 1970s, when University of Chicago economist Arthur Laffer convinced Dick Cheney and other Republican officials that lowering taxes on the rich would generate more revenue.

Ronald Reagan complied in the 1980s by dramatically reducing the top marginal tax rate. And while declaring government "the problem" he eased a half-century of protective regulations on mortgage lending.

In the Clinton years, Larry Summers and Alan Greenspan and Phil Gramm and others lobbied against regulations on the derivatives that evolved into toxic assets a decade later. A lonely voice of opposition, Commodities Trading Commission head Brooksley Born, was denounced by the powerful Treasury men, who were shocked by her affront to the nation's "financial stability."

The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 removed long-held protections for commercial bank deposits, as the newly liberated financial institutions now coveted the unprecedented profits in high-risk investments. Soon after, the 2000s brought us the Bush tax cuts, which have cost the nation over two trillion dollars, and a further assault on the Securities and Exchange Commission by Goldman Sachs and other financial institutions committed to "self-regulation."

So what's the result of all this? The financial collapse of 2008, of course. But it goes way beyond that. Tax cuts and deregulation led to the worst inequality since the Great Depression, with the top 1% nearly tripling their income while wages leveled off. The richest 10% own 80% of the "unearned income" that gets taxed at rates lower than those for teachers or health care workers. Corporate profits are at a record high, having accounted for 88% of the recovery after the 2008-9 recession...

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! READ IT AND WEEP

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Response to Demeter (Reply #25)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:16 AM

26. Karl Denninger - Warren Pollock Open Discussion VIDEO

http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DNeGtFkNGaA4

TALKING SENSE BEFORE BREAKFAST...I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THAT!

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Response to Demeter (Reply #26)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:18 AM

28. Wells Fargo to buy $11bn energy loan portfolio

Wells Fargo has agreed to buy an energy loan portfolio from BNP Paribas with a historical value of $11bn, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal, which is set to be announced later on Tuesday, would be one of the biggest disposals by a European bank as part of a pattern across the continent of shrinking balance sheets. It is the latest example of Wells, the biggest US bank by market capitalisation, snapping up assets from European institutions...

The largest US bank by market capitalisation has agreed to purchase $9.5bn in loans from the biggest French lender by assets...

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/VKY5JJ/97FF55/VTVRG/KQPTGN/JEGO59/CM/t?a1=2012&a2=2&a3=21

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:17 AM

27. Citigroup ‘Defrauded’ Fannie, Freddie: Whistle-Blower

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-22/citigroup-defrauded-fannie-freddie-whistle-blower-claims.html

Citigroup Inc. (C), which last week admitted breaking Federal Housing Administration rules and paid a fine, also violated regulations for home loans sold to Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE), according to a whistle-blower’s complaint.

The bank “defrauded, falsified information or misled federal government entities” by selling or securing insurance for mortgages with defects such as improper appraisals and paperwork errors and not reporting them as required, Sherry Hunt, a Citigroup quality-assurance vice president, said in her complaint, which was unsealed yesterday. It was filed under the False Claims Act in federal court in Manhattan in August.

For Citigroup, the third-largest U.S. bank by assets, the high defect rates could be costly. It might be forced to buy back substandard mortgages sold to government-controlled Fannie and Freddie, who buy or guarantee most U.S. mortgages.

Under the Feb. 15 settlement with the U.S. on FHA loans, Citigroup will pay $158.3 million. The Justice Department reserved the right to pursue criminal and other charges related to mortgages originated or underwritten by Citigroup and not insured by the FHA.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:32 AM

29. Midwest Farmland Prices Update for the Year 2011

http://bigpictureagriculture.blogspot.com/2012/02/midwest-farmland-prices-update-for-year.html

The Federal Reserve Banks of Kansas City and Chicago have come out with their 4th Quarter 2011 farmland price/credit conditions reports...2011 was another stellar year in farmland price gains. It is reported that more absentee and elderly landowners were motivated to sell given these very high prices. Credit conditions remain healthy with cash from high commodity prices being used to make many of the necessary farm expense purchases. The Chicago District reported the highest average gain in farmland prices since 1976, up a 19% inflation adjusted average for the year.

They attributed the rise to commodity gains, as follows, according to the USDA:

Corn, soybean, and wheat prices averaged 57 percent, 26 percent, and 45 percent, respectively, higher in 2011 than in 2010. Milk, hog, and beef cattle prices rose 23 percent, 21 percent, and 21 percent, respectively, although producers faced costlier feed as well. Net farm income in 2011 was up 24% over the previous year. For 2012, the USDA is predicting an 8.2% reduction in net farm income.



The three states across these two regions showing the largest gains for the year were Nebraska (up 37.8%), Iowa (up 28%), and Indiana (up 27%). Farmers continue to be the main buyers of farmland in these two districts.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:35 AM

30. John O’Brien: Mortgage Settlement Fails to Address Banking Criminal Enterprise

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/02/john-obrien-mortgage-settlement-fails-to-address-banking-criminal-enterprise.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

Yves here. The release by San Francisco county assessor-recorder Phil Ting of a study of document irregularities in foreclosures has put a spotlight on the failure of Federal banking regulators and state officials to do anything beyond cursory examinations of servicers’ bad practices. If a country official with limited resources can show that there are widespread abuses, what is the excuse of state and Federal officials for their failure to understand the depth and severity of these problems?

As Dave Dayen has pointed out, it was two county registers of deeds, Jeff Thigpen in Guiford County, North Carolina, and John O’Brien of South Essex County, Massachusettes, who were the first to look at their own records to see how extensive the frauds were. O’Brien has called his office a “crime scene” and refused to register any more fraudulent deeds. He also performed a study of his own, and the results were released in June 2011. As Dayen reported, the study found widespread failures and apparent fraud, just like the later San Francisco exam:

Register John O’Brien revealed the results of an independent audit of his registry. The audit, which is released as a legal affidavit was performed by McDonnell Property Analytics, examined assignments of mortgage recorded in the Essex Southern District Registry of Deeds issued to and from JPMorgan Chase Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, and Bank of America during 2010. In total, 565 assignments related to 473 unique mortgages were analyzed.

McDonnell’s Report includes the following key findings:
• Only 16% of assignments of mortgage are valid
• 75% of assignments of mortgage are invalid.
• 9% of assignments of mortgage are questionable
• 27% of the invalid assignments are fraudulent, 35% are “robo-signed” and 10% violate the Massachusetts Mortgage Fraud Statute.
• The identity of financial institutions that are current owners of the mortgages could only be determined for 287 out of 473 (60%)
• There are 683 missing assignments for the 287 traced mortgages, representing approximately $180,000 in lost recording fees per 1,000 mortgages whose current ownership can be traced.


Below, John O’Brien gives us his views on the mortgage settlement....SEE LINK

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Response to Demeter (Reply #39)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 10:03 AM

50. Foreclosure process is ‘utterly broken’

http://lansner.ocregister.com/2012/02/19/foreclosure-process-is-utterly-broken/158790/#more-158790

A recent study of San Francisco home foreclosures found widespread irregularities in almost all the home seizures scrutinized. The report, commissioned by San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, was prepared by Aequitas Compliance Solutions Inc. of Newport Beach.

Company partner Lou Pizante conducted the study. He explained its findings …



Us: What did your report show?

Lou: We reviewed about 16% of all foreclosure sales that occurred in San Francisco from 2009 through 2011. The audit shows that 99% of the sampled foreclosures contain at least one irregularity and 84% appear to contain one or more clear violations of law.

Us: What were the key problems identified in your report?

Lou: We looked at six general subject areas, including assignments (which relate to chain of title), notices of default and trustee sale and suspicious activity (like robo-signing). The report, which you can download from the Aequitas website, explains these things in laymen terms. Within each subject area, we looked at a variety of issues.

Two-thirds of the loans had four or more exceptions and more three-quarters of the loans had violations across three or more of the six subject areas. In other words, this was not a case of most of the loans having one irregularity. Most of the loans had many irregularities across different stages of the foreclosure process.

We also compared the MERS database to public records. MERS was created by the mortgage industry as, essentially, an alternative to the public land records system. It is an electronic registry for tracking ownership interests and servicing of mortgage loans. We found that in 58% of the cases the beneficial owner of loan as entered on the trustee’s deed upon sale conflicted with the owner of the loan according to the MERS database...

BUT THERE'S SO MUCH MORE...AT LINK

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:41 AM

31. Obama Administration Readies Plan to Drop Corporate Tax Rate

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-22/obama-to-ask-congress-to-lower-corporate-tax-rate-to-28-remove-loopholes.html

The Obama administration will propose today reducing the U.S. corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 35 percent along with removing tax breaks for companies to help offset lost revenue, an administration official said.

The plan would eliminate dozens of tax breaks and reshape the current manufacturing deduction to reduce the tax rate on manufacturing to 25 percent, according to the official, who outlined the proposal on condition of anonymity because it hadn’t been released. The restructured tax code would still include incentives for research and development and renewable energy.

President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner have said corporate taxation is an issue that could provide an area for agreement with congressional Republicans and business groups.

“There is, I hope, more room for common ground on this, and we need to use this opportunity now to start to lay the foundation for the fundamental change ahead,” Geithner told the House Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 15.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 08:42 AM

32. Obama Offers to Cut Corporate Tax Rate to 28% (DEAR GOD)

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:06 AM

34. NOT from the Onion

here at the condo association, we are having problems with our mail delivery.

Evidently, the post office carriers do not like going house to house (we don't have centralized mailboxes, because it wasn't the fashion when the place was built, and frankly, there's no place to retrofit such, nor should we have to. Grandfathering has its purpose, after all...)

We had a carrier get out of sequence, deliver a whole street to one address off (each address clearly labeled with brand new, highly visible numbers, within spitting distance of the mail slots...and then request the staff to open all the units so she could retrieve and redeliver!

Now, we have a carrier who came to the office and asked: which units are vacant. When told there are exactly 2, he THEN went peering into windows, and decided for himself that nobody lived there, and sent all the mail back to the senders! Which we found out when the annual meeting mailings were returned a week after they were mailed...

There's got to be at least two felonies per address...and lots of people not getting their bills and checks...and there were a lot of addresses.

The world has gone mad.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #34)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:38 AM

44. Things happen they usually get resolved.

When we first moved into this low income senior building in 1996 about 75% were original tenants who came in 1980. That made for a whole lot of over 85's here. Some were grumpy, some were a bit loopy and almost all thought they were right because of seniority. People would start gathering about 12:30pm for the mail that arrived about an hour later. Somebody who lived in the front of the building would start a telephone tree so there were a lot of people standing around while the mail was being sorted. The regular mail person took it in stride. Substitutes felt they were in hell.

One summer day our regular mail man was on vacation for a week and the substitute arranged to meet another mail carrier in our parking lot about 11:30am to go to lunch. There were a few people who didn't handle change well and that mail truck parked in our driveway with no mailman inside incensed three people, two gals and a guy then confronted the mailman when he arrived. Words ensued. The supervisor was called and our building manager had to apologize to the mail carrier (evidently they are our keepers) or we would have to get our mail at the post office until further notice. Now that incensed a whole lot of folks here because there was no swearing or threats of violence and the people involved were about 2% of the population here and nobody sent them. So some complaints were escalated to the Postmaster General. Nothing more happened. Our regular mailman came back and all was well. Someone said that the supervisor was retiring the next month and I guess that was good enough for the folks who had nothing better to do than stage a riot over a premature mail truck in our parking lot.

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Response to kickysnana (Reply #44)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:56 AM

48. Our mail situation is entirely unprovoked by the recipients

and the Post Office is taking steps to deal with such presumptuous behavior on the part of one of its employees...

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Response to kickysnana (Reply #44)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 11:51 AM

59. When my Dad was here at the independent living facility a couple of years ago.

It was like you said. They all gathered around at the regular time waiting for the mail. Then, one day it came three hours later. With the regular mailman.

He tried explaining that the Post Office changed his route, and there was nothing he could do about it. I thought there was going to be a riot.

Shit happens. I still have the same mailman I've had for 9 years. You could set your watch by him. Mail at 10:15 every day. Then they changed his route. Now, he comes at 3:00 pm.

It's no wonder they "go postal". A bunch of letter carriers used to come into our bar in Cleveland, and they'd spend half their time complaining about "clipboards" following them around, monitering and recording every step they made, in an effort to speed them up.

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Response to Fuddnik (Reply #59)

Thu Feb 23, 2012, 03:15 AM

72. At the same time these same seniors are normally generous, kind and sweet.

They do however get a little obsessive about mail and I don't know what got into the three of them that day. That was excessive even for them.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:15 AM

37. Creepy model watch FROM Cathy O'Neil, mathbabe

http://mathbabe.org/2012/02/21/creepy-model-watch/

THE INTERSECTION OF ABSTRACT MATH AND ECONOMICS AND POLICY....IT'S REALLY CREEPY! LOTS OF SUPPORTING LINKS AND A GOOD READ

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Response to Demeter (Reply #37)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 03:00 PM

63. She's great.

Love her writing.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:18 AM

38. Legal Fees Mount at Fannie and Freddie

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/business/legal-fees-for-fannie-and-freddie-near-50-million.html?_r=1

Taxpayers have advanced almost $50 million in legal payments to defend former executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the three years since the government rescued the giant mortgage companies, a regulatory analysis has found.

In that time, $37 million has gone to three former Fannie Mae executives accused of securities fraud, according to the analysis by the inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees both companies. Acting as their conservator, the agency is charged with protecting taxpayers from further losses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Those losses now stand at $183 billion.

Although the legal costs for the former executives are a small fraction of the companies’ mortgage losses, it is imperative that the housing agency move to limit these fees, said Steve A. Linick, inspector general of the agency.

“F.H.F.A. and Fannie Mae believe that their options are limited in paying current legal fees for former officers and directors,” Mr. Linick said in a statement. But he called for greater oversight. The legal costs are the responsibility of taxpayers because of contracts struck by the companies before they collapsed. Those agreements, which are typical in corporate America, state that legal fees incurred by executives defending against lawsuits will be advanced by the companies. If a court or jury rules that officials breached their duties or acted in bad faith, the officials will have to repay the advances...

WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS?

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:23 AM

40. Has America Lost its Drive? Part 2

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:33 AM

41. China manufacturing index edges higher: HSBC

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/china-manufacturing-index-edges-higher-hsbc-2012-02-21?dist=beforebell

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — A closely watched gauge of Chinese factory activity rose to a four-month high in February but remained at levels that indicate modest contraction, while underlying data showed a weakening in new export orders.

The initial “flash” estimate for HSBC’s February manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 49.7 on a 100-point scale, and up from a final reading of 48.8 the previous month, the banking group said Wednesday.

Still, the result remained just below the 50 level which divides overall expansion and contraction.

HSBC economist Hongbin Qu said the slight uptick in the headline number may be related to factory restarts after the Lunar New Year holiday, adding that there was little to cheer in the report overall.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:45 AM

45. How Post Office Closings Could Increase Economic Inequality

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/02/21/429062/post-office-closings-economic-inequality/

Due to its ongoing financial woes, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has contemplated suspending Saturday mail service, as well as closing offices across the country. But a Reuters analysis shows that those office closing could increase economic inequality, hitting area that are already on the wrong end of economic disparity:

Some of America’s poorest communities – many of them with spotty broadband Internet coverage – stand to suffer most if the struggling agency moves ahead with plans to shutter thousands of post offices later this year, a Reuters analysis found. Nearly 80 percent of the 3,830 post offices under consideration are in sparsely populated rural areas where poverty rates are higher than the national average, demographic data analyzed by Reuters shows.

The Postal Service is not even exploring the economic effect that its office closings will have. And the closing under review would hardly save the USPS any money. In fact, “closing all of the post offices under consideration would save about $295 million a year — about four-tenths of 1 percent of the Postal Service’s annual expenses of $70 billion.” “That’s not even a drop in the bucket. The bucket won’t ripple,” said former Postmaster General William Henderson.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that the Post Office’s financial crisis is largely fictional, a relic of Congress’ decisions rather than any actual problems at USPS. As we’ve laid out before, “almost all of the postal service’s losses over the last four years can be traced back to a single, artificial restriction forced onto the Post Office by the Republican-led Congress in 2006,” which requires USPS to pre-fund pensions for employees that it hasn’t even hired yet. This is a requirement with which no other company has to grapple.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 09:54 AM

47. Births fall by 2.5% in second quarter {ireland}

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0222/breaking35.html

The number of babies born in the second quarter of last year fell by 2.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2010.

Figures published by the Central Statistics Office today show there were 18,381 births registered in the second three months of 2011. But this was still 20 per cent higher than in 2002, when 15,247 babies were registered.

Based on the latest vital statistics, the birth rate is 16.4 babies per 1,000 of the population. The rate for the corresponding quarter of 2010 was 16.9 per cent, and in 2002 it was 15.6 per 1,000.

Of the 18,381 births in the second quarter, 6,013 were registered as outside marriage. Of these, 3,396 were to unmarried parents with the same address, or 18 per cent of all births.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 10:08 AM

52. State to sell parts of Bord Gáis and ESB to raise €3bn {ireland}

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0222/breaking14.html

The sale of Bord Gáis’s energy business will form the main part of the Government’s €3 billion disposal of State assets and companies over the next two years.

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin this morning announced the list of the assets that the Government has identified for disposal, in line with its agreement with the EU-IMF troika.

Bord Gáis’s energy business will be put up for sale as part of a process that could see a new player emerge on the Irish energy market. Bord Gáis’s gas transmission and distribution systems and the two gas interconnectors will remain in State ownership.

In a major reverse, Mr Howlin also announced that the Government’s previous plan to sell off a substantial part of the ESB will not now go ahead. A report commissioned by Government flagged major regulation, legal and practical difficulties. He said this morning that some of the ESB’s “non-strategic power generation capacity” will also be sold.

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Response to Tansy_Gold (Original post)

Wed Feb 22, 2012, 10:12 AM

53. So many emails, so little time

I must be off (no snide comments, please). Have a great day! Make me envious!

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