Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 01:55 AM
Number of posts: 8,069
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 01:55 AM
Number of posts: 8,069
Found this overview of Libor investigations and thought it might be helpful in understanding what is occurring. It's fairly concise with links to additional information.
Beyond Barclays: Laying out the Libor Investigations
Last week, the British bank Barclays was slapped with $450 million in fines and penalties for manipulating information used to set a critical interest rate.
Settlements filed by government regulators in the U.S. and the U.K. show this manipulation happened in two ways: first, Barclays’ traders attempted to steer rates up or down in order to benefit trades they had made to profit off of those rates. Separately, the filings show that during the financial crisis, Barclays tried to counter reports that it had financial troubles by changing the interest rate it reported.
In his testimony, Diamond stuck by the line that everybody was doing it. And indeed, the revelation that banks might have tried to keep their rates artificially low during the crisis isn’t altogether new—in 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported that banks were submitting much lower rate estimates than other market measures would have suggested. In 2008, the British Bankers’ Association said it had received suggestions that banks were exhibiting “herd” behavior in setting low rates.
The Washington Post notes that a manipulated Libor doesn’t just have repercussions for investors and borrowers, but also for regulatory efforts; by keeping rates low during the financial crisis, the banks were trying to quell concerns about the health of the banking system and “stave off calls for additional regulation.”
More at article, including a list and links to the investigations of additional banks being investigated.
Posted by suffragette | Sun Jul 8, 2012, 02:03 PM (8 replies)
Libor-rigging went on until 2010, claims Canadian watchdog
An investigation in Canada alleges that interest-rate rigging by staff working for British banks and financial institutions continued until at least June 2010, more than a year after Barclays' derivatives traders were found to have colluded in such practices.
An affidavit filed in Ontario's superior court by the criminal matters branch of Canada's competition bureau alleges that traders working for the British banks HSBC and RBS, as well as the broker Icap, conspired to fix rates relating to Japanese yen trades for personal gain. Traders from Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Citibank Canada are also said to have taken part. All contest the claims.
The competition bureau is being aided in its investigation by Swiss bank UBS, which has turned whistleblower and agreed to hand over key documents, emails and transcripts that are expected to shine new light on the nature of the alleged collusion between staff at the banks.
According to the affidavit, UBS has "provided the bureau with information that, during the material time, the participant banks, at times facilitated by the cash brokers, entered into agreements to submit artificially high or artificially low London interbank offered rate (Libor) submissions in order to impact the yen libor interest rates published by the British Bankers Association".
Deutsche Bank suspends two over Libor -report
Two Deutsche Bank employees have been suspended after it used external auditors to examine whether staff were involved in manipulating interbank lending rates, German magazine Der Spiegel reported, citing no sources.
A spokesman for Deutsche Bank on Sunday declined to comment on the article, referring to its quarterly report, which said it has received subpoenas and requests for information from U.S. and European authorities in connection with setting interbank rates.
On Friday, people familiar with the matter told Reuters that Germany's markets regulator has launched a special probe into Deutsche Bank over suspected manipulation of interbank lending rates.
Investigators in the United States, Europe and Japan are examining more than a dozen big banks over suspected rigging of the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor).
Hmmm, looks like Ackerman (the former CEO of Deutsche Bank) tried to settle (buy off) as many potential illegal and scandalous endeavors as he could before leaving but the LIBOR investigations shows there were even more that took place.
Deutsche Bank Settles Lawsuit with the US
With just a couple of weeks to go before the era of CEO Josef Ackermann comes to an end at Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest financial institution is cleaning house. On Thursday, the bank reached a $202 million (€156 million) agreement with the US Department of Justice to settle charges that Deutsche had engaged in fraud.
The deal puts an end to a civil lawsuit alleging that Deutsche Bank subsidiary MortgageIT breached federal housing regulations from 2007 to 2009. The subsidiary made hefty profits during that period, partially due to the resale of risky mortgages. The Thursday deal included an admission by Deutsche Bank that it was in a position to know about the regulation violations.
The government lawsuit argued that bad mortgages made by MortgageIT cost the Department of Housing and Urban Development some $386 million to cover insurance claims made by the Federal Housing Administration. The costs stem from some 1,400 housing loans made by MortgageIT that have defaulted. More may be on the way.
Deutsche Bank bought MortgageIT for $430 million in 2007, on the eve of the bursting of the US real estate bubble. The Department of Justice accused Deutsche Bank of knowing at the time of the risky and illegal practices engaged in by MortgageIT, practices which, US officials said, only became worse following Deutsche's takeover of the company. According to the Financial Times Deutschland, Ackermann once called the purchase of MortgageIT the "biggest mistake of my time as CEO."
Many of the same banks are currently under investigation for energy price manipulation as well:
Posted by suffragette | Sun Jul 8, 2012, 01:36 PM (0 replies)
"Most New Orleans schools are in ruins," Friedman observed, "as are the homes of the children who have attended them. The children are now scattered all over the country. This is a tragedy. It is also an opportunity."
That comes from the OP-ED he wrote for the WSJ just 3 months after Katrina. The full article is, of course, behind a pay wall.
Sourcewatch has a page on Friedman's voucher pushing foundation:
And his influence has been global and the destruction from that influence has been global as well.
Good article here on that:
I think it's no coincidence that the children are viewed as dollar figures through this lens (the number of vouchers the private schools will receive), then placed in settings that teach certain skills and behaviors (though these are not the skills the schools highlight).
There is teaching and learning going on there, including:
Adherence to fundamentalist thought that promulgates not questioning authority, being uncritical, and valuing doctrine, obedience and exclusivity.
Restriction or complete non-access to materials that would counter or call any of the above into question.
Conditioning to systems and environments that emulate corporate models (the isolated cubicles being a prime example of that)
Scary stuff altogether and the astounding ignorance of proponents such as the politician in your OP just makes it even scarier.
Posted by suffragette | Sat Jul 7, 2012, 12:20 PM (1 replies)
particularly the need to actually read and have the guidance of a competent teacher in analyzing primary sources such as the Constitution and historical writings such as those from people like Jefferson.
Instead, here's an example of what the children there will be subjected to:
The school willing to accept the most voucher students -- 314 -- is New Living Word in Ruston, which has a top-ranked basketball team but no library. Students spend most of the day watching TVs in bare-bones classrooms. Each lesson consists of an instructional DVD that intersperses Biblical verses with subjects such chemistry or composition.
The Upperroom Bible Church Academy in New Orleans, a bunker-like building with no windows or playground, also has plenty of slots open. It seeks to bring in 214 voucher students, worth up to $1.8 million in state funding.
At Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier hopes to secure extra space to enroll 135 voucher students, though she now has room for just a few dozen. Her first- through eighth-grade students sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text that explains "what God made" on each of the six days of creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution.
"We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children," Carrier said.
This continues the privatization of siphoning more money from public education which Naomi Klein described so well in The Shock Doctrine:
Friedman's radical idea was that instead of spending a portion of the billions of dollars in reconstruction money on rebuilding and improving New Orleans' existing public school system, the government should provide families with vouchers, which they could spend at private institutions.
In sharp contrast to the glacial pace with which the levees were repaired and the electricity grid brought back online, the auctioning-off of New Orleans' school system took place with military speed and precision. Within 19 months, with most of the city's poor residents still in exile, New Orleans' public school system had been almost completely replaced by privately run charter schools.
The Friedmanite American Enterprise Institute enthused that "Katrina accomplished in a day ... what Louisiana school reformers couldn't do after years of trying". Public school teachers, meanwhile, were calling Friedman's plan "an educational land grab". I call these orchestrated raids on the public sphere in the wake of catastrophic events, combined with the treatment of disasters as exciting market opportunities, "disaster capitalism".
Privatising the school system of a mid-size American city may seem a modest preoccupation for the man hailed as the most influential economist of the past half century. Yet his determination to exploit the crisis in New Orleans to advance a fundamentalist version of capitalism was also an oddly fitting farewell. For more than three decades, Friedman and his powerful followers had been perfecting this very strategy: waiting for a major crisis, then selling off pieces of the state to private players while citizens were still reeling from the shock.
Posted by suffragette | Fri Jul 6, 2012, 10:52 AM (1 replies)
Apparently, they've learned enough so they don't replicate Enron's manipulation, but instead have been manipulating the pricing in a new and different way.
FERC probes JPMorgan over electricity charges
Published 04:54 p.m., Tuesday, July 3, 2012
FERC has issued 15 notices of alleged violations since January 2011 for companies including Barclays PLC, BP PLC, Deutsche Bank AG and Constellation, according to information posted on the agency website. Seven of the cases have been settled, according to the agency.
The regulator is examining efforts by J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corp., which is based in Houston, to extract excessive payments or above-market prices from California Independent System Operator Inc. and Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc., Thomas Olson, a lawyer in the FERC investigating division, said in a court document. The probe focuses on winning inflated "make-whole" payments, he said.
"Any such improper payments to generators are ultimately borne by the households, businesses and government entities that are the end consumers of electricity," Olson said.
The price-manipulation allegations against JPMorgan's energy-trading unit appear to differ from charges against Enron Corp.'s power traders during the California energy crisis of 2000 and 2001, John Olson, managing partner of Pool Capital Partners LLC in Houston and former energy analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co., said. Enron was accused of driving up prices by persuading operators to shut down, he said.
More details here:
FERC takes aim at Barclays over power market manipulation
Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:31pm BST
The notice also suggested a heightened focus on so-called
"loss-leader" trading in which a firm may intentionally seek to
sell a physical commodity at a loss in order to reap a much
larger profit on related derivative positions.
The Barclays traders traded day-ahead fixed-price physical
electricity at the Mid-Columbia, Palo Verde, South Path 15 and
North Path 15 to benefit Barclays' IntercontinentalExchange
(ICE) fixed-for-floating financial swap positions in
those markets, FERC said.
After the Constellation settlement, the FERC commissioners
told Reuters the agency was adding staff with more analytical
skills and energy market experience to allow the enforcement
division to delve deeper into trading data and make it tougher
for trading firms to manipulate natural gas and power markets.
In the Barclays case, the FERC staff alleged the bank
assembled substantial physical positions in the opposite
direction of Barclays' fixed-for-floating financial swap
positions and that Barclays flattened those physical positions
in the next-day fixed-price physical markets to move the ICE
daily index settlement up if buying and down if selling.
At what point do we take another direction. The title of this editorial nails it imho:
Let's end this rotten culture that only rewards rogues
The Barclays rate-rigging scandal has once again exposed a world where men and women with little skill and no moral compass can become very rich very fast
Posted by suffragette | Wed Jul 4, 2012, 03:18 PM (4 replies)
Apparently they were in the 'too big to fail' club that needed huge amounts of tax money from the U.S. public so they could continue their financial wizardry. Though in the case of the TARP bailout, it was an indirect payment through AIG. I would venture that would have meant that not even the small regulatory measures imposed on the primary recipients of TARP, such as AIG, applied to them. And note, that AIG was not forthcoming about these TARP payouts to other banks, but only released the info after Congressional demands they do so.
By EAMON JAVERS | 3/15/09 7:40 PM EDT
Updated: 3/16/09 6:24 PM EDT
The documents AIG released account for some of the more than $180 billion in aid that AIG has received, and they detailed for the first time which financial firms are benefitting from the federal handout.
In all, AIG disclosed payments of $105.3 billion between September and December 2008. And some of the biggest recipients were European banks. Societe Generale, based in France, was the top foreign recipient at $11.9 billion, Deutsche Bank of Germany got $11.8 billion and Barclays, based in England, was paid $8.5 billion.
Here in the U.S., Goldman Sachs received $12.9 billion. Edward Liddy, the government-installed CEO of AIG, sat on the board of directors of Goldman Sachs until he joined AIG.
He took the position while President George W. Bush's Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson — who until joining the administration had served as Goldman's chairman and CEO — arranged the insurance company's initial government bailout.
16 March 2009
Deutsche Bank and Société Société Générale were the largest recipients with $12 billion each while Barclays received $8.5 billion.
Barclays refused to comment on when it received funds from AIG, but postings from AIG indicate funds went to Barclays by the end of 2008.
responsible for Barclays being able to refuse help from the British taxpayer.
Barclays has been furiously holding on to its independence, even tapping Middle Eastern investors and selling a third of the bank to the sheikhs rather than go the route of Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds-Halifax Bank of Scotland, which have ended up being part-nationalised.
Banking analysts said the widespread nature of the payouts indicate the main reason the US Treasury moved to save AIG: if the US had not bailed it out, a string of the world's biggest banks might have collapsed.
In an article about Varley and Diamond taking 'lower" bonuses in 2010, Varley also admitted receiving "indirect state support" so who knows how much the UK citizens also contributed to Barclay's balance sheet, salaries and bonuses.
John Varley, chief executive, will take only his £1.1m salary, while Bob Diamond, president and head of the investment bank, will earn just £250,000. Their last annual bonuses, in 2007, were £2m and £18m respectively. Mr Diamond has already earned $26m (£16.5m) from the sale of fund management arm Barclays Global Investors (BGI) last year.
Barclays is at the centre of the storm over bonuses because it is aggressively growing its investment bank, Barclays Capital. Sparking union anger, it confirmed that its 23,000 investment bankers would take home £191,000 each from a total pot of £4.4bn. They have been awarded another £1.2bn, or £52,000 each, in shares deferred over three years.
"Paying huge bonuses when people are still losing their jobs and business cannot get the loans they need because of a crash made in the finance sector goes against every concept of fairness," TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said. "It is not good enough for Barclays to say they did not receive direct aid. Policies designed to help banks rebuild their balance sheets have been used to pay bonuses."
In what was a watershed moment, Mr Varley conceded for the first time that Barclays has been the beneficiary of indirect state support, but he maintained he is at the mercy of markets over pay. "I am not denying that we have all benefited," he said, referring to Government liquidity and funding schemes put in place to ease the financial crisis.
That also raises important questions to me about how reliable/manipulated the numbers for the financial institutions stability/recovery are. How much of the numbers reported are actually money that was funneled to these institutions directly or indirectly from a variety of government (citizen's taxes) money at the same time the citizens of these countries faced loss of jobs, bankruptcies, cuts to social and retirement funds, whether under the official label of austerity or not?
Posted by suffragette | Wed Jul 4, 2012, 02:19 PM (1 replies)
That's the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority
Counterterrorism Patrol to Take Place at Regional Transit Facilities
Monday, January 30, 2012 12:15 PM
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) working within the Department of Homeland Security, will be conducting counterterrorism patrols at area transit facilities in the coming year. These patrols are NOT related to any specific incident or threat. The patrols may include agents talking to passengers, patrolling parking facilities and stepping on buses.
Agents anticipate conducting these patrols at MVTA transit facilities as well as other regional transit facilities.
Their Summer 2012 PDF notes teams have already been at these locations. See page 4:
From MVTA website: http://www.mvta.com/summer_2012_newsletter.html
Direct link: http://www.mvta.com/uploads/summer_3.pdf
Periodic Counterterrorism Patrols Under Way at Transit Facilities
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) working within the Department of Homeland Security, is conducting peri-odic counterterrorism patrols at area transit facilities in the coming year. MVTA’s Burnsville and Apple Valley Transit Stations have had teams on site during the morning or afternoon peak periods. Other regional transit facilities will also have the patrols.These patrols are NOT related to any specific incident or threat. The patrols may include agents talking to passengers, patrolling parking facilities and stepping on buses.
This is a transit authority in your own state specifying that TSA is patrolling bus transit centers.
Posted by suffragette | Sun Jun 17, 2012, 12:41 AM (0 replies)
My post #62 has links about TSA VIPR and Bus Safe.
From the Whitehouse, defining the role of TSA in regard to surface transportation. Some salient points from the PDF. I added the bold:
The Transportation Security Administration is the SSA for the security
of the land and air modes of the Transportation Systems Sector.
page 9, includes intercity buses specifically
Surface Transportation Modes
Mass transit, commuter and long-distance
passenger rail, freight rail, commercial
vehicles (including intercity buses), and
pipelines, and related infrastructure
(including roads and highways), that are
within the territory of the United States.
Executive Order 13416
The strategy guiding surface transportation security should focus on the following:
Using intelligence to identify potential threats
Employing programs and procedures that allow for better identification and interdiction
of threats prior to their arrival in the United States
Engaging system operators in intelligence sharing, security planning, and operations
Ensuring that key transportation workers are vetted
Increasing frontline worker and public security awareness
Creating a more stringent, less opportunistic environment for terrorist attack planning
(e.g., non-intrusive inspection devices, canine teams, random bag checks, VIPRs, and
Changing operations to reduce vulnerabilities and potential consequences and to thwart
attempts to circumvent security measures
Hardening critical infrastructure (e.g., intrusion detection, facility hardening, smart
surveillance, and common operating picture development)
Posted by suffragette | Sat Jun 16, 2012, 02:19 PM (0 replies)
Here's some info on VIPR and on additional expansion of DHS, TSA and Border Patrol funding and roles:
TSA rail, subway spot-checks raise privacy issues
By Thom Patterson, CNN
updated 10:05 AM EST, Sat January 28, 2012
TSA officials like to point out that the acronym stands for Transportation Security Administration, not the Airport Security Administration. And that's where VIPR comes in.
Born after 2004's Madrid railway bombings, VIPR suffered some embarrassing coordination struggles, transit officials say.
The program has 15 teams and is expanding to get access to 12 new teams to spot-check thousands of transportation depots across the nation.
VIPR teams conducted 3,895 operations in "surface modes" nationwide in 2010, according to the Department of Homeland Security (PDF).
Much more at above link.
Much info and many links at the wiki page. Includes info on budget increases:
FY2009: $30 million, 10 VIPR teams
FY2010: increase of $50 million, for 15 surface transport VIPR teams
FY2012: $109 million
10 aviation teams
15 surface transport teams
12 new multi-modal team
They're asking for another increase for 2013:
Fund 37 Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams, including 12 multi-modal Teams. VIPR teams are composed of personnel with expertise in inspection, behavior detection, security screening, and law enforcement for random, unpredictable deployments throughout the transportation sector to prevent potential terrorist and criminal acts.
EPIC has many resources noting the increase and privacy abuses. The paragraphs below include embedded links with more info on EPIC's site:
2013 Federal Budget Limits Body Scanners, But Expands Domestic Surveillance: According to White House budget documents and the Congressional Testimony of Secretary Napolitano, DHS will not purchase any new airport body scanners in 2013. However, the agency will expand a wide range of programs for monitoring and tracking individuals within the United States. This includes the development of biometric identification techniques for programs such as Secure Communities. DHS will also seek funding for "Einstein 3," a network intrusion detection program that enables surveillance of private networks. EPIC has urged the DHS to comply with the requirements of the federal Privacy Act, and is currently pursuing several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits against the agency. For more information see, EPIC - Body Scanners and Radiation Risks, EPIC - E-Verify, EPIC - Secure Communities, EPIC - Fusion Centers, EPIC - Drones, EPIC - Cybersecurity, EPIC - Secure Flight. (Feb. 20, 2012)
Documents Reveal New Details About DHS Development of Mobile Body Scanners: EPIC has obtained more than one hundred fifty pages of documents detailing the Department of Homeland Security’s development of mobile body scanners and other crowd surveillance technology. The documents were obtained as a result of a Freedom Information Act lawsuit brought by EPIC against the federal agency. According to the documents obtained by EPIC, vehicles equipped with mobile body scanners are designed to scan crowds and pedestrians on the street and can see through bags, clothing, and even other vehicles. The documents also reveal that the mobile backscatter machines cannot be American National Standards Institute “certified people scanners” because of the high level of radiation output and because subjects would not know they have been scanned. For more information see EPIC: Whole Body Imaging Technology and EPIC: EPIC v. DHS (Suspension of the Body Scanner Program). (Aug. 31, 2011)
Here's a post from me with links about TSA budget and Border Patrol budget increases and expansion that I posted to a thread about TSA bus-riding agents:
Additional links about TSA "Bus Safe" in Houston:
METRO's counter-terror intitiave draws criticism
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- One week after METRO rolled out what it called an unprecedented approach to safety, there is criticism of just what happened. It was a big operation with what critics have called questionable results.
You paid for 81 cops to saturate Houston bus stops and routes last Friday. Most were from METRO, but some were from the federal Transportation Security Administration, as well as HPD.
METRO called it a synchronized, counter-terrorism exercise, and the first ever in Houston welcoming the federal TSA to Houston bus stops.
METRO faces public backlash over counter-terror intitiave
On April 13, the METRO Police Department invited TSA to be a part of its bus-safe exercise. METRO said then and repeated for days afterwards there would be random searches of bus and train passengers' bags.
A friend of Broze took pictures of the bus-safe exercise that he says show TSA agents and METRO police asking riders where they're going as they get off the bus and how often they ride that route.
"METRO and TSA were going onto the buses and questioning people about their normal routes and their normal behavior, and it just kind of creates an atmosphere of fear," Broze said.
There's much more if you search DU2.
Posted by suffragette | Sat Jun 16, 2012, 01:03 PM (1 replies)
Last week, the American International Group reported a whopping $19.8 billion profit for its fourth quarter. It was a quite a feat for a company that was on its death bed just a little over three years ago, so sick that it needed a huge taxpayer bailout.
But if you dug into the numbers, it quickly became clear that $17.7 billion of that profit was pure fantasy — a tax benefit, er, gift, from the United States government. The company made only $1.6 billion during the quarter from actual operations. Yet A.I.G. not only received a tax benefit, it is unlikely to pay a cent of taxes this year, nor by some estimates, for at least a decade.
The tax benefit is notable for more than simply its size. It is the result of a rule that the Treasury unilaterally bent for A.I.G. and several other hobbled companies in 2008 that has largely been overlooked.
This rule-twisting could deprive the government of tens of billions of dollars, assuming the firm remains profitable. The tax dodge — and let’s be honest, that’s what it is — also will most likely help goose the bonuses of A.I.G.’s employees, some of whom helped create many of the problems that led to its role in the financial crisis.
But, hey have to find a way to keep the enormous salaries, bonuses and tax breaks flowing to the people who created the mess in the 1st place.
Also, the best way to "take the burden off of the youth" would be for people to be able to retire earlier, thus freeing up jobs for the youth, who now face increasingly high unemployment rates because of the austerity push by Benmoshe and his colleagues. And they would then be contributing to pension funds.
No coincidence that many of AIG's bailout pay outs went to the European banks whose high risk bets with AIG and others fed the crisis and who all sing in the same chorus demanding ever more austerity. And even as austerity is a clear failure when viewing the nations and majority of citizens it is crushing, it's clear the calls for it to continue are coming from the corrupt 1% who draw ever larger profits and benefits at the public's expense.
Posted by suffragette | Tue Jun 5, 2012, 09:56 AM (0 replies)