:rolleyes Derivative <---> Methan :rolleyes :ironie
Posted On: Wednesday, April 16, 2008, 12:49:00 PM EST
Credibility of Index For Calculating Derivatives Questioned
Author: David Duval
After reading the article below (pay particular attention to boldfaced comment) one could easily get the impression that the entire derivatives business is rotten to the core.
Banks That Misquote Money-Market Rates to Be Banned (Update1)
By Ben Livesey
April 16 (Bloomberg) -- The British Bankers' Association said it will ban any member deliberately misquoting lending rates at daily money-market operations amid concern that some contributors are providing misleading quotes.
The global credit squeeze has raised concern lenders have been manipulating the so-called fixing process to prevent their borrowing costs from escalating, the Bank for International Settlements said in March. Participants have complained to the BBA, the Wall Street Journal said today, citing a person familiar with the matter. The BBA holds its annual board meeting today.
``It's very important to us that we preserve the integrity of the figures,'' said Lesley McLeod, a BBA spokeswoman in London. ``It's something we have been looking at. If we find that people have been putting in figures which don't reflect accurately their financial figures, the ultimate sanction is to throw them out of the pond.''
The BBA asks 16 member banks every morning to say how much it would cost them to borrow from each other for 15 different periods in currencies including dollars, euros and pounds. It then calculates averages, known as the London interbank offered rates, or Libor, which are used as benchmarks for companies, lenders and investment banks around the world.
The BBA represents lenders such as HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's largest bank by market value, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Barclays Plc.
``Libor will survive, although its credibility is severely weakened,'' Paul Calello, Credit Suisse Group's head of investment banking, said in a speech at the International Swaps and Derivatives Association annual conference in Vienna today. ``Continuing to base an enormous amount of derivative contracts on an index with credibility problems is a serious issue we must address.''
Prices soaring as biggest grain exporters halt foreign sales
Submitted by cpowell on Wed, 2008-04-16 04:22. Section: Daily Dispatches By Javier Blas, Isabel Gorst, and Lindsay Whipp
Financial Times, London
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The global food crisis intensified on Tuesday as Kazakhstan, one of the world's biggest wheat exporters, halted foreign sales and rice prices shot to a record high after Indonesia stopped its farmers from selling the grain abroad.
In another sign of turmoil, a big food company in Japan, Nihon Shokuhin Kako, said high corn prices had forced it to buy cheaper genetically modified :mad corn for the first time, breaking a social, though not legal, taboo and signalling that opposition to GM foods could weaken :mad in the face of record food prices.
Meanwhile, fresh wheat export curbs in Kazakhstan, the world's fifth-largest exporter, and the rice bans in Indonesia, threaten to trigger bans in other food exporting countries, which will now face much higher demand from importing countries.
Hussein Allidina at Morgan Stanley in New York said pressure for export bans was likely to increase elsewhere as developing countries suffering high inflation tried to combat rising local prices by cutting back on exports of agriculture commodities.
Indonesia -- which joins Vietnam, Egypt, China, Cambodia, and India in banning foreign sales -- was expected to export the grain this year due to a bumper crop. Corn futures prices in Chicago last week hit a record $6.16 a bushel, up 30 per cent in the past three months.
Indonesia's export ban boosted the price of rice futures in Chicago to a all-time high of $22.17 per 100 pounds, up 63 per cent since January. Wheat prices moved higher to $9.11 a bushel and traders warned prices could rise further as the Kazakhstan ban together with restrictions in Russia, Ukraine, and Argentina have closed a third of the global wheat market.
April 16 - Gold $945.10 up $17.80 - Silver $18.31 up 54 cents
Gold And Silver Roar/PPT Guns Market
For purposes of action, nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will… Henri Frederic Ameil
Another remarkable day and more astounding than ever. I left this morning for Washington before the U.S. economic news hit the tape. For the second day in a row gold was up nearly 10 in the pre-market going. Oil was firmer with gold in the tank.
After the news surfaced (by the end of the day), oil rose further and the dollar tanked even more. Crude oil closed up $1.14 per barrel to $114.94. The dollar sank .60 to 71.43. The euro rose 1.5 to 159.43.
Yes, both gold and silver had very good days, but when you compare their prices to oil, the dollar, and the CRB, it was woeful … and by design, courtesy of The Gold Cartel. There is no other explanation why gold is nearly $90 off its highs, compared to what the price of oil and the dollar are doing, and to their respective highs and lows.
May crude oil (headed towards the moon)
June dollar (broke down after an extensive sideways action)
June euro (broke through considerable resistance to make an all-time high close)
June gold (took out good resistance at $940, but noticeably lags oil and the euro, which is just why The Gold Cartel did what they did with their takedown)
The Gold Cartel has gone out of its way to make our "GATA Goes To Washington" conference even more essential and timely than ever.
Points of note:
*The financial market/economic situation in the US remains DIRE. Inflation is rampant, yet the deflationary forces of a disappearing housing market have the Fed in a box (see U.S. economic news below). The Fed needs to raise rates, like the ECB, to combat inflation, but if it does, our economy could go into a further tailspin … and the stock market could disintegrate.
*The dollar has completely broken down again, as US market fundamentals deteriorate, making General Paulson look sillier by the day with his talk of US commitment to a strong dollar. The man spews forth pabulum and it is embarrassing.
JUST IN … as I was saying…
O'Neill Says U.S. `Strong Dollar' Policy Is `Vacuous Notion'
April 16 (Bloomberg) -- Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said the ``strong dollar' policy that he and every other Treasury chief since 1995 endorsed is ``a vacuous notion.'
``It implies in it that somehow we have the ability to manage the relationship between the value of the U.S. dollar and other currencies around the world,' O'Neill, now a special adviser to Blackstone Group LP, today said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
O'Neill roiled currency markets when he was in office from 2001 to 2002, at one point with comments in an interview with a German newspaper that the U.S. pursued a policy of a strong economy, rather than currency. The current Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, has repeatedly stated that he is a ``very strong' supporter of the ``strong dollar' policy.
``When I was Secretary of the Treasury I was not supposed to say anything but `strong dollar, strong dollar,' O'Neill said today. ``I argued then and would argue now that the idea of a strong dollar policy is a vacuous notion.'
The U.S. currency today fell to a record low against the euro, and has declined 15 percent against its European counterpart in the past year.
``The markets actually have control over those relationships. When people say strong dollar, if they don't mean that `we believe intervention can work and we're prepared to intervene,' then `strong dollar' is ridiculous.'
O'Neill, President George W. Bush's first Treasury secretary, said during his tenure he repeated the mantra originated by Clinton Treasury chief Robert Rubin that a ``strong' dollar is in the best interests of the U.S.
Every secretary since Rubin has repeated the phrase, regardless of whether the dollar was rising or falling.
*The housing news today is a disaster, yet US interest rates are on the move up. The yield on the 2 yr T note is 70 basis points up from its low. The yield of the 10 yr T note is back up to 3.7%. These moves put the Fed in even more of a predicament.
PIMCO's Gross-commodity price rise becoming fixed
NEW YORK, April 16 (Reuters) - Record oil and other surging commodity prices are affixing to the U.S. economy and pushing up long-term inflation, the manager of the world's biggest bond fund said on Wednesday.
Bill Gross, chief investment officer of the Pacific Investment Management Co, or PIMCO, said on CNBC television, "Commodity prices are...becoming structuralized in terms of increases."
*Contrary to what the Planet Wall Street crowd pontificates, the credit situation is far from being behind us. In addition to the Libor rate being on the move up in England, credit spreads are rising rapidly, in nervous market conditions…
US SWAPS-2Y spread widest in 5 weeks on Libor concerns
NEW YORK, April 16 (Reuters) - The spread on two-year U.S. interest rate swaps ballooned on Wednesday to their widest level in about five weeks on concerns about the daily settings on interbank lending rates in London.
Two-year swap spread, which grows with risk aversion, widened to 100.25 basis points, the widest since March 10, from 91.50 basis points late Tuesday…
Both gold and silver look very good technically and are gearing up for dynamic moves higher in the months ahead … as the reasons to own both are becoming abundantly clearer to the average investor.
The gold open interest went up 3190 contracts to 422,699. The silver open interest rose 1175 contracts to 149,199.
Comments about excessive gold market exuberance from the likes of dingbat gold industry organization GFMS are absurd … and that is being kind. The gold open interest is some 170,000 contracts off its high. The silver OI is about 25% off its high. This tells us that the real exuberance levels for both precious metals are VERY LOW, not high … which is confirmed by the lack of interest in the smaller gold/silver companies. GFMS and the World Gold Council are both pitifully retarded and disingenuous (I am being kind again).
There is room for enormous gold/silver exuberance to take those markets way past their old highs … as rejuvenated specs pile back into both markets.
The CRB is back at its all-time high, closing up 3.40 to 418.76.
More gold goodies:
Indian ex-duty premiums: AM $4.44, PM $5.53, with world gold at $925.75 and $934.80. Ample for legal imports. The stock market added 0.56%, but the rupee was static (despite the dollar decline), closing at $1 = R39.96 (versus R39.9625). In an extensive discussion of Indian demand this morning, UBS confirms the impression that there has been some improvement lately: "Using indexed information, if India buys 100 units of gold on a very busy day we saw only 5-20 units/day of buying between September 2007 and early March 2008. Since the sell-off, this has picked up to 20-70 units/day with an average of about 35/day. This is not 'strong' and certainly not 'very strong' but a lot better than we have seen for the previous six months. We have seen better demand out of Europe too… It appears the world’s largest bullion importer is adapting to $900+ gold. Gold started rising today on the European opening, broke the well-advertised low $930s barrier well before the NY open, and after the open surged to the mid $940s, where it has found another layer of dogged resistance. Credit is due to The Gartman Letter for its intuition (or information) that an upwards effort was coming.
CARTEL CAPITULATION WATCH
Perhaps the scariest market of all is the DOW. This afternoon a female CNBC reporter was muttering, "Why is the market up so much?" And Rick Santelli was muttering about the "counterintuitive" market action again.
As mentioned yesterday, the Bush Administration and the PPT (along with the Counterparty Risk Management Group) are gunning the DOW in a desperate attempt to shore up confidence in the US.
But good grief ... and because:
*Joe and Jane American know their net worth is declining, and in some cases, substantially so because the value of their home is going south, with the likelihood of further drops almost assured.
*Meanwhile, food and energy prices keep going up and up … also with no end in sight. Planet Wall Street can pooh pooh the importance of this consumer nightmare, but you can’t fool Main Street.
*The dollar is disappearing and Wall Street bulls continue to act (even cheer) as if this is meaningless. It is leading to a coming DISASTER.
Yet, the DOW goes bonkers today on some mediocre earnings reports (Intel), which were not even close to the bad ones (like a GE). The DOW soared 257 to 12,619 and is back near the top of its trading range again. The DOG rocketed 64 points to 2350.
Clearly, the PPT is going all out to negate the effect of the growing horror show out there. "Everything is fine."
Maybe today the PPT con works, but rising interest rates and a sinking dollar are a double whammy for the market. Seems to me what we have is another 1987 coming ... a similar scenario anyway.
There are some on Planet Wall Street, and some even in our camp, who see the market going much higher as the world realizes just how extensive the US is monetizing everything. Could be, but can't imagine it lasting very long.
Who ever said that OTC derivatives were financial WMDs?
Robert Newman - Video - A History of Oil
Liars, Wall Street & Your Gold
Jim Willie CB is the editor of the "Hat Trick Letter"
Apr 16, 2008
Use this link to subscribe to the paid research reports, which include coverage of several smallcap companies positioned to rise during the ongoing panicky attempt to sustain an unsustainable system burdened by numerous imbalances aggravated by global village forces......
Few seem to remember that Wall Street is not a non-profit community driven by altruism or any sense of service. They would gladly cheat you out of your entire life savings if their actions were legal, or at least not prosecuted. In the last two to three years, the lies, deception, misdirection, false reporting, corruption, and grand fraud will be the topic of historical accounts for decades. When returning on my flights from another successful Cambridge House gold conference, this in Calgary Alberta, many thoughts came to mind, jotted down while gazing at the natural beauty made up from cloud blankets with a sun guarding its lot. The sun and clouds care not at all about economic landscapes underneath, even if in turmoil. Whenever travels take me across national borders, nationalism, idealism, culture, and dreams come to mind. It seems pursuit of truth, clarity, and integrity has become negotiable, one and all in the United States. Its people are being stripped of so much. Perhaps this layout will be helpful. Routinely such matters are covered in the Hat Trick Letter reports. Gold & silver continue to do well to protect individuals and their wealth. Banks are no longer safe, an astonishing conclusion. Bonds are not safe, and neither are money market funds!!!.......
......US BANKS HAVE SEEN THE WORST NEWS
This is not even close to being true, addressed in a previous recent article. Housing prices are accelerating down, driven by some degree of capitulation on price. The high level of inventory continues to be aggravated by more home foreclosures. Anecdotal evidence supports this, as February prices were a quantum level lower. Hired home processors working on the behalf of bankers and lenders simply gave up. They want to move inventory, period. Again, the point must be repeated until it happens. The Exploding ARMs, the prime adjustable rate mortgages with negative amortization option features, they will begin failing this summer as they reset. When the rising loan limit is hit, the monthly payment doubles or triples! The phenomenon of walking away from mortgages has worsened lately. US banks will suffer wave after wave of losses. The new US Federal Reserve lending facilities are a certain help, but not a cure. The banks are suffering from colossal strain in negative capital core, a situation growing worse by the month. Their capital has melted down completely. Their status will eventually become worse than Japan's from 1990.......
........BEAR STEARNS WAS BAILED OUT, HUH?
If so, they why are they dead? Why are half of their employees losing jobs? Why are their employees losing life savings? Why was its office building set for a fire sale? No, Bear Stearns was raided, its assets taken by its main creditor, JPMorgan. This was a clear case of JPMorgan being bailed out by the USFed, in order for its credit derivatives not to blow up. JPM cut off Bear Stearns on credit, and killed them with the blessing of the USFed and credit extended by the USFed. They averted a blowup of JPM that would have been an order of magnitude more disastrous than the LongTerm Capital Mgmt fiasco of 1998. In fact, the story is worse. By endorsing the raid, the USFed has given a green light for any bank or investment bank to raid any competitor or client that does NOT have access to USFed lending facilities. Some call it Fed Lending Arbitrage. We are therefore witnessing an ugly extension to the Mussolini Fascist Business Model toward a consolidation phase of mega bankers. If a competitor or client threatens a big banking institution, conspire with the USFed, deny it credit, raid its assets, and kill them. This is street fighting in three pieced suits.......
...GOLDMAN SACHS & THEIR 2008 GOLD CALL
In November 2007, when gold was between 710 and 730, Goldman Sachs released a research paper that gold would endure the 2008 year marked by the gold price being flat or down. The report brought laughter to my desk. My immediate thought was that GSax had put a big long position on gold, expecting a big price upward move. In fact, in the previous few months, GSax had covered their entire short gold position on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM). That is about as bullish a change as possible. Yet the US press announced the GSax negative gold opinion without much minimal research. Gold promptly shot over 800 in early January, and then jetted over 1000. It is consolidating in the lower 900 levels lately. How was that GSax call after all? Not only lousy, but motivated to deceive in my opinion. GSux has a long history of such intentionally deceptive but useful calls. They are not a non-profit firm. They are never held liable for lies. They are agents for the Dept of Treasury. They are accused of front running many USGovt sanctioned market rescues ordered by the Working Group for Financial Markets (aka the Plunge Protection Team). They are above the law......:bad
....es lohnt den ganzen Artikel zu lesen :supi
Bill Fleckenstein & Chris Waltzek
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Bear Stearns Buy-Out... 100% Fraud
Bear Stearns Buy-Out... 100% Fraud
Bank robbed by insiders, loss covered by taxpayers
by John Olagues
Editor's Note: John Olagues is the owner and principal consultant for Truth IN Options and a recognized authority on listed and employee stock options. After graduating from Tulane University in 1974 John applied his B.A. in mathematics and his competitive spirit to the real world of stock options. In 1976, John became a member of the Pacific Stock Exchange in San Francisco trading and managing options positions in scores of different stocks. John with a partner created Options Research, the first service to provide theoretical options values to market-makers and to the general public. In 1980, he became a member of the CBOE, where he personally traded more options in more diverse situations than any other trader.
In this article John makes the case that the Bear Stearns collapse was artificially created so that insiders could take large short positions in Bear Stearns stock prior and so that J.P. Morgan would in effect be paid $55 Billion of US tax payer money to shore up themselves and to buy Bear Stearns.
Massive buying of puts and shorting stock in Bear Stearns
On March 10, 2008, the closing price of Bear Stearns was 70. The stock had traded at 70 eight weeks prior. On or prior to March 10, 2008 requests were made to the Options Exchanges to open new April series of puts with exercise prices of 20, and 22.5, and a new March series with an exercise price of 25.
Their requests were accommodated and new series were opened March 11, 2008.
Since there was very little subsequent trading in the call series with exercise prices of 20, 22.5 or 25, it is certain that the requests were made with the intention of buying substantial amounts of the puts. There was, in fact, massive volumes of puts purchased in those series which opened on March 11, 2008.
For example, between March 11-14 inclusive, there was 20,000 contracts traded in the April 20s, 3700 contracts traded in the April 22.5s, and 8000 contracts traded in the April 25s. In the March 25s there were 79,000 contracts traded between March 11-14, 2008.
Question: Why did the options exchanges not open the far out of the money puts for trading the first time that BSC hit 70, when the Aprils and Marchs had far more time to expiration. Certainly if the requesters were legitimate hedgers or speculators, buying the March and April with two and three months to expiration was more appealing.
Answer: The insiders were not ready to collapse the stock and did not request the exchanges to open the new series then.
Second Request and Accommodation
On or prior to March 13, 2008, an additional request was made of the Options Exchanges to open more March and April put series with very low exercise prices even if that meant those March put options would have just five days of trading to expiration. The exchanges accommodated their requests, knowing that the intentions of the requesters was to buy puts. They indeed bought massive amounts of puts. For example the March 20 puts traded nearly 50,000 contracts (i.e. contracts to sell 5 million shares at 20). The March 15s traded 9600, the March 10s traded 13,000 and the March 5s traded 6300 all on March 14 (the first day of trading of the new March series).
The introduction of those far-out-of-the-money put series in the April and March months immediately before the crash, provided a vehicle whereby extreme leverage was available to the insiders. In other words if you had $100,000 and you knew that Morgan would buy Bear Stearns at two dollars, you could make five to 10 times more on the $100,000 by using the $100,000 to buy the newly introduced March puts. This is so because the soon to expire far out-of-the-money puts were far cheaper than the July or October out of the money puts. And that is why the inside traders requested the exchanges to introduce the far out of the moneys just days before the crash.
But this scenario has enormous implications. It means that the deal was already arranged on March 10 or before. That contradicts the scenario that is promoted by SEC Chairman Cox, Fed Chairman Bernanke, Bear CEO Schwartz, Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan (who sits on the Board of directors for the New York Federal Reserve Bank) and others that false rumors undermined the confidence in Bear Stearns making the company crash, notwithstanding their adequate liquidity days before. I would say that the deal was arranged months before but the final terms and times were not determined until maybe March 7 or 8, 2008.
On March 14, the April 17.5s, the 15s, the 12.5s and the 10s traded 15,000 contracts combined. Each put gives the right to sell 100 shares. So for example, these 15,000 April puts gave the purchaser(s) the right to sell 1.5 million shares at prices between 10 and 17.5. Those purchasers expected to make profits on 1.5 million shares because they knew the deal was coming at $2.00.
That is the only plausible explanation for anyone in his right mind to buy puts with five days of life remaining with strike prices far below the market price. So there were requests, during the period of March 10 to 13, to the exchanges to open the March and April series for buying massive amounts of extremely out-of-the-money puts, which were accommodated by the Options Exchanges. Did the Exchanges aid and abet the insider trading scheme? We are not able to have a clear opinion on that.
Media Statements of adequate liquidity
Reuters, however, on March 10, 2008 was citing Bear Stearns sources that there was no liquidity crisis and that there was no truth to the speculation of liquidity problems. And none other than the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 11, 2008 was stating that "we have a good deal of comfort with the capital cushion that these firms have."
We even had the "mad" Jim Cramer proclaiming on March 11, 2008 that all is well with Bear Stearns and that the viewers should hold on to their Bear Stearns.
And on March 12, 2008, Alan Schwartz CEO of Bear Stearns was telling David Faber of CNBC that there was no problem with liquidity and that "We don't see any pressure on our liquidity, let alone a liquidity crisis."
The fact that the requests were made on March 10 or earlier that those new series be opened and those requests were accommodated together with the subsequent massive open positions in those newly opened series is conclusive proof that there were some who knew about the collapse in advance, while Reuters, Cox, Schwartz and Cramer were telling the public that there was no liquidity problem.
This was no case of a sudden development on the 13 or 14th, where things changed dramatically making it such that they needed a bail-out immediately. The collapse was anticipated and prepared for, even while the CEO of Bear Stearns and the SEC Chairman of the SEC were making claims of stability.
What was the reason that Cramer, Cox and Schwartz were all promoting Bear Stearns immediately before its collapse. That will be speculated upon for years to come.
Cramer has admitted that "truth" was not his friend and that he manipulated stocks to influence investors behavior. Was this one of his acts? But no apologies from Cramer as he claims now that he was referring to keeping money in Bear Stearns Bank not in Bear Stearn's stock.
Compelling Evidence of Insider Trading
To prove the case of illegal insider trading, all the Feds have to do is ask a few questions of the persons who bought puts on Bear Stearns or shorted stock during the week before March 17, 2008 and before. All the records are easily available.
If they bought puts or shorted stock, just ask them why. What information did they have access to which the CEO and the SEC did not have? Where did they get the info? Why are Cramer, Cox, Paulson, Faber, and Schwartz not subject to a bit of prosecutorial pressure to get to the bottom of this?
Maybe the buyers of puts and short sellers of stock just didn't believe Reuters, Cox, Schwartz, Cramer, and Faber and went massively short anyway buying puts that required a 70% drop in a week. Maybe they had better information than Schwartz or Cox. If they did then that's a felony, with the profits made subject to forfeiture.
April 4, 2008 Congressional Hearings on the Bear Stearns Bail-out. I watched both sessions and drew the following conclusions.
In the first session there were the following witnesses. Bernanke of the Federal Reserve Board, Cox from the SEC, Geithner representing the New York Reserve Bank and an incidental player Mr. Steel from the Treasury. The only Senators that seem to be willing to attack these bankers were Bunning, Tester, Menedez and Reed. All the rest were useless and very respectful.
All witnesses did their best to keep their stories consistent but they did slip up a bit. They all agree that the bail-out was necessary without any proof that it was.
They all agreed that what caused the cash liquidity to dry up within one day was the rumor mongers. Apparently it is claimed that some people have the ability to start false rumors about Bear Stearns' and other banks liquidity, which then starts a "run on the bank." These rumor mongers allegedly were able to influence companies like Goldman Sachs to terminate doing business with Bear Stearns, notwithstanding that Goldman et al. believed that Bear Stearns balance sheet was in good shape. (Goldman between March 11-14 warned their average customers that Bear Stearns stock was "hard to borrow" for shorting due to the fact that other customers had used up all of the stock available for borrowing for short sales) .
That idea that rumors caused a "run on the bank" at Bear Stearns is 100% ridiculous. Perhaps that's the reason why every witness were so guarded and hesitant and looked so mighty strained in answering questions.
Loans to J.P. Morgan total $55 Billion from the Fed
The Private New York Fed lent $25 Billion to Bear Stearns and another $30 billion to J.P. Morgan. So the bail out cost was $55 billion not the $30 billion that is promoted. This was revealed at second session of the Senate hearings in a James Dimon response to a question from Senator Reed.
Who gets the $55 billion? J.P. Morgan got the money on a loan pledging Bear Stearns assets valued at $55 billion; $29 Billion is non-recourse to Morgan.
Effectively the Fed got collateral appraised by Bear Stearns at $55 Billion for a loan to J.P. Morgan of $55 Billion.
If the value of the secondary facility of $30 Billion ($29 Billion of which is non-recourse) is worth only $15 Billion when all is said and done, then J.P. Morgan has to pay back only $1 Billion of the $30 Billion and keeps the $14 Billion the the Fed loses. If the $25 Billion primary facility is worth only $15 Billion when all is said and done, J.P. Morgan has to pay $10 Billion of the $25 Billion received. If J.P Morgan can not pay, then the Fed loses the $10 Billion.
If after all is said and done the $25 Billion primary assets are sold for more that $25 Billion, the difference goes to J.P. Morgan regardless of the outcome on the secondary facility of $30 Billion. No matter how you cut it, J.P. Morgan wins. If the $55 Billion assets turn out to be worth only $20 billion when all is said and done, J.P. Morgan owes $1 Billion on the $30 Billion and the difference between $25 Billion and the value received on the primary facility.
The Fed would have been far better to just buy the assets at Bear's and J.P.Morgan's valuation. Now best the Fed can do is get their money back with interest and the worse they can do is lose about $25 -$40 billion.
John Olagues - Truth IN Options
Apr 17 $$$ Bear Stearns Buy-Out... 100% Fraud OptionsForEmployees
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Wirtschaftswunder: Der Schattenbanker
Was haben die UBS, John McCain und die Finanzkrise gemeinsam? Die Dienste des Phil Gramm.
18.04.2008 von Alain Zucker
Als Phil Gramm 1996 US-Präsident werden wollte und in den Vorwahlen scheiterte, schrieben die Journalisten, dass ihn sogar seine Freunde nicht mochten. Der langjährige republikanische Senator aus Texas galt als gnadenlos analytischer Kämpfer für den freien Markt, der einst in einer Debatte zur Altersvorsorge über achtzigjährige Rentner gesagt hatte: «Die meisten Leute haben nicht das Glück, achtzig zu werden. Es fällt mir deshalb schwer, mit ihnen Mitleid zu haben.»
Ende 2002 verliess Gramm den US-Senat und wurde Vizepräsident bei der UBS :rolleyes in New York. Doch in den vergangenen Wochen ist der Investmentbanker unter Feuer geraten als einer der Hauptverantwortlichen für die Finanzkrise. «Ich würde sagen, abgesehen von Alan Greenspan hat niemand mehr dafür getan, dass die Krise möglich wurde, als Mr. Gramm», meint der Ökonom und «New York Times»-Kolumnist Paul Krugman.
Die Vorwürfe gegen Phil Gramm gehen zurück auf seine Rolle im Senat Ende der Neunzigerjahre, als der Texaner der politische Vollstrecker von Wall Streets Deregulierungsambitionen war. 1999 brachte er eine, unter anderem nach ihm benannte Vorlage durch, welche die gesetzlichen Barrieren zwischen normalen Geschäftsbanken und Wertschriftenbrokern niederriss. In der darauf folgenden Fusionswelle kaufte die UBS den Vermögensverwalter Paine Webber und etablierte sich als integrierter Brand für Bankgeschäfte.
Seinen umstrittensten Coup landete Gramm Ende 2000, kurz bevor Bill Clinton aus dem Weissen Haus auszog. Der Kongress galt kurz vor Bushs Amtsantritt als lahme Ente und fieberte Weihnachten entgegen, als der damalige Vorsitzende des Banken-Senatskomitees in letzter Minute einer Finanzvorlage 262 Seiten beifügte. Jener damals wenig beachtete Gesetzeszusatz beeinflusste die Weltwirtschaft entscheidend. Der Commodity Futures Modernization Act verhinderte, dass ein grosser Teil des Handels mit Derivaten und anderen exotischen Finanzinstrumenten unter staatliche Aufsicht fiel.
«Ich glaube, niemand verstand damals die Bedeutung dieses Gesetzes», sagt Michael Greenberger, damals einer der leitenden Finanzaufseher in Washington und heute Professor an der Universität von Maryland. Der traditionelle Handel mit Wertschriften wird wie alle herkömmlichen Bankgeschäfte vom Staat eng reguliert. Doch auch dank dem von Gramm mitorchestrierten Freipass für Derivate operieren Investmentbanken und Hedge Funds zusätzlich in einem Parallelsystem ohne staatliche Kontrolle.
Dieses Schattenbanking, dessen Geschäftsvolumen sich in den vergangenen Jahren vervielfacht hat, diente der Finanzindustrie in erster Linie zur Absicherung von Risiken; Risiken, die sie durch den Kauf und Verkauf komplizierter Finanzinstrumente auf die ganze Branche verteilten. Im Schwang waren etwa Credit Default Swaps, mit denen man sich eine Versicherung gegen zahlungsunfähige Schuldner kaufen konnte.
Seit dem Ausbruch der Finanzkrise sind diese Derivate zu heissen Kartoffeln geworden. Auch weil sie abseits von jeglicher staatlicher Aufsicht gehandelt wurden, haben die Profis gekauft, ohne die Verpflichtungen dahinter richtig zu verstehen. Im fallenden Markt fragen sie sich heute, was sie wert sind, und niemand weiss, wer wie viel davon in den Büchern hat. Das ist Gift für das Vertrauen zwischen Banken, Hedge Funds und allen anderen Finanzinvestoren. Der frühere Finanzminister Paul O’Neill beschreibt die Lage so: «Wenn Sie zehn Flaschen Wasser haben und eine davon ist vergiftet, aber Sie wissen nicht welche, würden Sie wahrscheinlich auch keine trinken.»
Gegen vierzig Milliarden Dollar hat die UBS in diesem Marktumfeld bisher abgeschrieben. Folgt man den Argumenten des Ex-Börsenaufsehers Greenberger, hätte die Krise ohne die politische Vorarbeit ihres Kadermitarbeiters und Ex-Senators Gramm nie ein solches Ausmass angenommen. Auch nach seinem Wechsel zur UBS pickelte er an Vorschriften aus Washington. Er war zwar gemäss Aussagen aus der Bank hauptsächlich als Investmentbanker tätig – aber Einträge im Lobbyistenregister zeigen, dass er 2005 und 2006 beim US-Finanzministerium und bei der Notenbank zum Thema Banking und Hypotheken vorsprach.
Man würde denken, dass es Gramm, der auf eine Interviewanfrage nicht reagierte, nicht unbedingt zurück ins Scheinwerferlicht der Politik ziehen würde. Doch nun ist der UBS-Mann Kovorsitzender für die Kampagne des republikanischen Präsidentschaftskandidaten John McCain und einer seiner wichtigsten Wirtschaftsberater. McCain hat schon erwähnt, dass er wenig von einer Re-Regulierung der Wall Street hält und angedeutet, wen er sich als Finanzminister vorstellen könnte: :kotz Phil Gramm, Schattenbanker.
...zu den jetzigen Bank-Earnings in USA (CNBC)
"You announce bad news - and the market loves it"
Ein neues Buch zeigt, wie die CIA im Kalten Krieg Diktator Mobutu 32 Jahre lang an der Macht hielt. Beunruhigende Parallelen zum heutigen Krieg gegen den Terror tun sich auf.
«Seitdem Lumumba tot ist, hört er auf, eine Person zu sein. Er wird zu ganz Afrika.» Jean-Paul Sartre
Es war Ende September 1960 in Léopoldville, der heutigen kongolesischen Hauptstadt Kinshasa. Als Larry Devlin, der junge CIA-Missionschef, aus der amerikanischen Botschaft trat, stand im Strassencafé gegenüber ein Mann auf, näherte sich diskret, flüsterte: «Joe aus Paris.» Devlin erhielt an jenem Tag ein Sortiment von tödlichen Giften, eines davon in Form einer mit Polio infizierten Tube Zahnpasta. Und einen Befehl von ganz oben: Präsident Eisenhower wünschte die sofortige Liquidierung des kongolesischen Ministerpräsidenten Patrice Lumumba.
Damals spaltete der Kalte Krieg die Welt, und die USA wollten den Aufstieg eines «afrikanischen Fidel Castro» verhindern, um jeden Preis. Wäre der Kongo in den Einflussbereich der Sowjetunion geraten, so hätte diese von dort aus ganz Zentralafrika infiltrieren und die Nato auf deren südlichster Flanke schwächen können. Und mit dem Kongo hätte sich Kremlherr Chruschtschow auch das Monopol der Kobaltproduktion unter den Nagel gerissen. Kobalt wird beim Bau von Waffen und Raketen verwendet – für das sowjetische Rüstungs- und Weltraumprogramm wäre das Monopol von unschätzbarem Wert gewesen.
Die Belgier hatten den Kongo – «dieses wunderbare Stück des afrikanischen Kuchens», wie König Leopold II. sein persönliches Riesenreich im Herzen des schwarzen Kontinents genannt hatte – damals gerade in die Unabhängigkeit entlassen. Widerwillig, aber mit der Hoffnung, das Land aus der Ferne weiterhin lenken zu können. Sie hatten dafür vorgesorgt, hatten das Heranwachsen einer kongolesischen Elite bewusst verhindert: 1960 gab es landesweit nicht mehr als 20 Kongolesen mit Universitätsabschluss, keinen einzigen afrikanischen Offizier in der Armee und im Staatsdienst nur eine Handvoll Afrikaner in leitenden Positionen. Aber Patrice Lumumba, der charismatische Ministerpräsident der ersten kongolesischen Regierung, machte einen Strich durch diese Rechnung. Der glühende Nationalist lehnte die Dominanz der ehemaligen Kolonialmacht ab, wollte aus dem Kongo, diesem Riesenmosaik von Völkern, Kulturen und Sprachen, eine selbstbestimmte Nation machen. Dazu, fürchtete der Westen, würde er sich mit der Sowjetunion verbünden.
Um das zu verhindern, war der kalte Krieger Larry Devlin zu vielem bereit. Er rekrutierte Agenten, intrigierte, infiltrierte, erpresste und bezahlte Schmiergelder, er kaufte Politiker und Medien. Aber töten ging ihm zu weit. Das hielt er für moralisch falsch, zu riskant und damit möglicherweise kontraproduktiv, wie er vor kurzem in seinen Memoiren schrieb. Es gab genügend andere Wege, um Lumumba, den Devlin zwar nicht für einen Kommunisten hielt, wohl aber für unberechenbar und damit gefährlich, aus dem Weg zu schaffen. Einer davon war es, seine Rivalen aufzubauen. Den 29-jährigen Armeechef Mobutu zum Beispiel, nach Ansicht des damaligen US-Botschafters in Leopoldville «ein gemässigter und wirklich kompetenter Mann». Am 14. September 1960, kaum elf Wochen nach der Unabhängigkeit des Kongo, putschte sich Mobutu mit Hilfe der USA an die Macht.
«Nicht schlechter als andere»
Lumumba wurde schliesslich – ohne Beihilfe der CIA, dafür mit belgischer Komplizenschaft – von politischen Rivalen ermordet. Mobutu hingegen konnte sich dank der tatkräftigen Unterstützung der USA 32 Jahre lang an der Macht halten. Ein rücksichtsloser Kleptokrat, Oberhaupt eines räuberischen Staates, der Widerstand brutal unterdrückte, die Rohstoffe des Landes verschleuderte, dabei – laut Transparency International – ein persönliches Vermögen von rund fünf Milliarden Dollar anhäufte und sich mit einem grotesken Personenkult huldigen liess: «Vor mir die Sintflut, nach mir die Sintflut», pflegte Mobutu ungerührt zu sagen. Doch selbst im Rückblick hat CIA-Mann Devlin an der amerikanischen Kongo-Politik jener Jahre nichts auszusetzen.
Mobutu habe dem Kongo vielleicht nicht unbedingt gut getan, doch er sei der richtige Mann im richtigen Moment gewesen und alles in allem «nicht schlechter als die meisten anderen afrikanischen Leader auch», schreibt Devlin.
Heute ist an Stelle des Kalten Krieges der Krieg gegen den Terror getreten. Und auch hier heiligt der Zweck manchmal unheilige Mittel. Er sehe eine beunruhigende Parallele zwischen den beiden Epochen, erklärt der US-Historiker John Prados, der ein Werk über die «Geheimkriege» der CIA verfasst hat. Seit die al-Qaida ihren Einfluss über Somalia auf den schwarzen Kontinent auszudehnen versucht und Afrika seiner immensen Öl- und Gasreserven wegen für die USA strategisch wieder wichtig geworden ist, gerät es erneut zwischen die Fronten. Das sei insofern bedenklich, als sich Staaten mit Demokratiedefiziten nur allzu willig für diesen Kampf einspannen liessen, schreibt Lauren Hutton, Forscherin am südafrikanischen Institut für Sicherheitsstudien. Und meist fehlten in Afrika die demokratischen Leitplanken, die sich im Westen Machtmissbräuchen und Rechtsverletzungen entgegenhalten lassen.
Dass der Terrordiskurs für viele afrikanische Länder hauptsächlich eine Ressource darstelle, denkt auch der deutsche Politikwissenschaftler Jan Bachmann. Wer sich auf der Seite der USA gegen das Böse stellt, erhält – Beispiel Uganda oder Äthiopien – grosszügige Militärhilfe. Auch die amerikanischen Entwicklungsbehörde USAID hat ihre Unterstützungskriterien längst dem Krieg gegen den Terror angepasst. Im Namen dieses Krieges können autoritär regierte Staaten ausserdem international anerkannte Menschenrechtsnormen aufweichen und die politische Opposition ruhig stellen. In Kenya beispielsweise haben Menschenrechtsorganisationen gegen die Verabschiedung eines Antiterrorgesetzes protestiert, welches die Meinungs- und Versammlungsfreiheit beschneiden und die muslimische Bevölkerung Behördenschikanen aussetzen würde.
Pope Benedict apologizes for Priest sex scandal, orders church wide replacement of light switches in seminaries and rectories.
...apologize - apologize und die Welt ist wieder in Ordnung :gomad
Veröffentlicht von Folker Hellmeyer am 21.04.2008 um 9:06 UhrEine Welle des Optimismus überkommt den internationalen Finanzmarkt …
Der Euro eröffnet heute bei 1.5825, nachdem am Freitag im europäischen Handel Tiefstkurse bei 1.5712 markiert wurden. Der USD konnte sich gegenüber dem JPY nachhaltig befestigen und notiert aktuell bei 103.85. Die „Carry-Trades“ legten im Zuge freundlicher Aktienmärkte markant zu.
EUR-JPY stellt sich aktuell auf 164,25 und EUR-CHF oszilliert bei 1.6090. Freitag standen keine Daten zur Veröffentlichung an. Ein enttäuschender Quartalsbericht der Citigroup,
Diese Verhaltensweisen ergaben sich bereits mehrfach in den letzten neun Monaten der andauernden Finanzkrise. Regelmäßig stellte sich heraus, dass der Optimismus vollständig unbegründet war. Offensichtlich ergeben sich aus diesen bisherigen Erfahrungen keine Lernkurven bei den Akteuren am Finanzmarkt, die in einem vertretbaren und sinnvollen Verhältnis zu dem Bergriff angemessener Risikoaversion passen. Es kam zu folgenden Entwicklungen:
Dem Finanzmarkt scheint nicht in erforderlichem Maße bewusst zu sein, dass die gegenwärtige "Stabilität" massivsten und vor wenigen Monaten noch unvorstellbaren Interventionen am Markt und im ordnungspolitischen Rahmen geschuldet sind. Der „freie Markt“ mag jede Intervention mit Haussen feiern. Am Ende feiert er damit seine eigene Entmündigung, da jede Intervention schlussendlich eine Entmündigung ist.
Hier stellt sich implizit die Frage, nach dem Charakter der Finanzmarktakteure. Wie ernst nehmen wir das Konzept freier Märkte und den Begriff Selbstverantwortung? ………………………………. Wer Antworten geben will, darf uns hier gerne mit Vorschlägen konfrontieren. Wir sind gespannt auf Ihr Feedback und werden unter Umständen ohne Namensnennung einige Vorschläge in diesem Format unkommentiert veröffentlichen.
Kommen wir zu weiteren Interventionen an den internationalen Finanzmärkten, nun in Großbritannien:
Am Wochenende gab der britische Finanzminister Darling bekannt, dass die Zentralbank den Geschäftsbanken anbieten werde, in der Größenordnung von 50 Mrd. GBP Regierungsanleihen gegen hypothekenbesicherte Anleihen zu tauschen. "What a darling he is …!"
Nach Ansicht des britischen Finanzministers Darling handelt es sich dabei nicht um einen "Bailout". Gut, dann erwarten unter Umständen auch Millionen von britischen und global tätigen Anlegern, dass sie ihre derzeit wertlosen MBS Papiere der BoE andienen können, und dafür Liquidität zur Verfügung gestellt bekommen. Das ist ja nach Ansicht von Herrn Darling kein "Bailout", sondern offensichtlich eine übliche Transaktion. Warum sollten nur Banken davon profitieren?
"Bailouts" mögen notwendig sein, um Funktionsfähigkeit zu erhalten. Dann müsse sie aber auch als solche Maßnahmen ehrlich und offen thematisiert werden. Marktverdummung ist auch immer eine Form von Respektlosigkeit!
Zusammenfassend ergibt sich ein Szenario, das in der Parität EUR-USD eine neutrale Haltung favorisiert. Ein Unterschreiten der Unterstützung bei 1.5700 - 30 eröffnet nachhaltigeren Abwärtsspielraum. Erst ein Überwinden der bisherigen Höchstmarke bei 1.5983 dreht den Bias des Euros erneut auf positiv.
© Folker Hellmeyer
Chefanalyst der Bremer Landesbank
Monday April 21, 2008
Darling hints bank bailout could surpass £50bn
Chancellor pledges to 'take further action' to restore stability after the Bank of England details its cash boost plan
Its a multiplier bet on the back of the half-baked rescue plan for Northern Rock, itself pushed into the long grass far enough to ensure that a different government will be picking up the tab on our behalf. No jackpot here, the only win is to get out of a hole whilst risking increasing its size.
Bad lending decisions are not solved by making further ones. The moral hazard remains. Does anyone seriously consider that the Governor, in moving his position so drastically, has not been leaned on by the Government?
Our central bank has now itself entered the sub-prime market. We may expect the pound to recognise this fact. Should it rise, then the markets will be putting appearances before reality.
Steve Buckel, Braunau-am-Inn, Austria
Greg , Kilburn - People have used their houses as an ATM machine. If prices drop too much the whole country will be in debt and with no discernible pension provision for the majority coming up where would that leave a government grubbing around for middle class votes?
judy, Liverpool, England
I watched the South Yorkshire mining and steel-making industry exported with little help from the British government or the EU
The motor manufacturing, ship building and light engineering industries similarly was sacrificed on the altar of market forces.
What a total disgrace this government has become.
....na grossartig :bad und wieder einmal ist der Steuerzahler gefragt :bad:schwitz eben nicht gefragt :gomad hmmmm
No mersey, Darling ...
" What a total disgrace this government has become "
Liverpool ist nicht umsonst Synonym des industriellen
Niedergangs auf der Insel – bin sehr gespannt, was das
Royal British Pound zu den bedenkenswerten Massnahmen
ihres Finanzexperten im Palace verursacht.
1:1 l' Euro, um dann gemeinsam gegen den Eisberg zu
Noch hält die Pivot-Linie des rostigen Dampfers.
EDITORIAL: Make Love, not War
MAGAZINE: Vogue Italia September 2007
MODELS: Agyness Deyn, Missy Rayder, Caroline Trentini, Raquel Zimmermann,
Julia Stegner, Daniel Pimentel, Blaine Cook, CHad Dunn, Chad White, Isaac Haldeman,
Nathan Nesbitt, Oraine Barrett, Rodrigo Calazans, Travone Hill
PHOTOGRAPHER: Steven Meisel
In the September issue of Italian vogue, fashion photographer Steven Meisel (the man behind Madonna’s controversial Sex book) stirs up controversy with his glamorized imagery of the war in Iraq. His ‘Make Love Not War’ series (mostly) depicts sweaty, dirty soldiers in the middle of a war-zone interacting with models in a very “heated fashion” Apparently, claims are being made by ‘Women In Media and News’ suggesting this series of photographs are pornographic and evoke sexualizations of horrific situations, also saying that violence is erotic. Am quiet certain everyone would agree by this “surface” reading, but is that the point of the message? What do they mean to you? Check out the rest.
Seems like these stories about pirates just get ignored.... but things are heating up...
...wobei was Gordon Brown schreibt, scheint mir vernünftig :cool
...die Chinesen verankern sich immer mehr in Afrika :rolleyes
Page last updated at 09:48 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 10:48 UK
US military recruits more ex-cons
The US Army and Marine Corps recruited significantly more people with criminal records last year than in 2006, amid pressure to meet combat needs.
Statistics released by a congressional committee show 861 people were granted waivers to enlist, up from 457 in 2007.
The crimes included assault, sex crimes, manslaughter and burglary.
The Army says waivers are only granted after careful review and are in response to the challenges of recruiting in a changing society.
The number of people granted waivers are just a small fraction of the more than 180,000 people who entered active duty in the armed forces during the fiscal year that ended in September 2007.
But the perceived lowering of standards is causing concern in some quarters.
We're growing the army fast, and there are some waivers... It hasn't alarmed us yet
Lt Gen James Thurman
Deputy chief of staff for operations
"The significant increase in the recruitment of persons with criminal records is a result of the strain put on the military by the Iraq war," said Democratic Representative Henry Waxman.
Mr Waxman chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that released the figures drawn up by the US Department of Defense.
These show that:
Waivers were also granted to three people convicted of manslaughter, nine guilty of sex crimes, and nine convicted of making terror threats, including bomb threats.
In addition, the Army and Marine Corps granted 27,671 "conduct waivers" covering what are regarded as serious misdemeanours , up from 25,098 in 2006.
Pentagon officials say that the need to recruit troops for continuing operations abroad, low unemployment at home, and declining interest in serving pose a challenge.
"We're digging deeper into the barrel than we were before," an official told the Washington Post.
The Army also argues that its ranks reflect the society they are drawn from.
Only three in 10 Americans of military age meet the army's medical, moral, aptitude, or administrative requirements, army officials point out.
"We're growing the army fast, and there are some waivers - we know that," said Army Lt Gen James Thurman, deputy chief of staff for operations.
"It hasn't alarmed us yet." :rolleyes
"It hasn't alarmed us yet." ....vielleicht aber andere Menschen :mad
......wow this is just like religion, we put our faith in a person(s). I am not saying I do not follow any guru, I just don't. I think we want to hear what we want to hear, If we are gold bugs and a guru tells you gold will go through the roof its what you like to hear, if Jim said the gold run is over and expects it to drop 20-30% what would you think of him now? would you sell?
here is 2 gurus you should be really listen to, well at least one
YouTube - Jim Cramer's "Green Week"...
...das war als abschreckendes Beispiel gemeint auf ---> Dennis Gartman `Abandoning Ship' on Higher Gold Price
EARTH DAY 2008 am 22. April 2008
Earth Day und Earth Week: Weltweite Aktionen zum Schutz unserer Umwelt Der Earth Day findet alljährlich am 22. April weltweit in über 150 Ländern statt. Das Earth Day-Motto, "Global denken, lokal handeln", soll deutlich machen, dass es hier nicht nur um das heutige Wohlbefinden der Menschen geht. Gesunde Erde heißt gesunde Umwelt und lebenswerter Ort für die Zukunft. Dies bedeutet eine Verwirklichung der Visionen des UN-Erdgipfels in Rio 1992 in den Städten und Gemeinden, am Wohnort.
SEC refuses to say why Bear enquiry dropped: report
2 hours, 29 minutes ago
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Regulatory officials turned down a congressional request to reveal why they aborted an inquiry into whether Bear Stearns Cos (BSC.N) improperly valued complex debt securities, hurting investors in the process, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission cited :rolleyes confidentiality :rolleyes for its decision, the report said.
Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, sent the SEC a letter on April 2 asking for details on why the regulatory body dropped its investigation into the Wall Street firm, the Journal said.
The report added that SEC Chairman Christopher Cox replied in an April 16 letter, saying: "The Commission does not disclose the existence or nonexistence of an investigation or information generated in any investigation unless made a matter of public record in proceedings brought before the Commission or the courts."
Bear Stearns agreed last month to be bought by JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) for $10 a share in an all-stock transaction to save it from bankruptcy.
The SEC and Bear Stearns were not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman) - http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080423..._bearstearns_dc
....es wird also im Vertrauen beschissen :gruebel :rolleyes :dumm
As Food Prices Become The World's Greatest Economic Problem, There Is No Solution
April 23, 2008
The food crisis got worse yesterday just as it seems to get worse as each week passes. CostCo (COST) is having to limit fulfilling huge orders for items like flour. According to Reuters "with global tensions over food supplies mounting, prices of world staples rice and corn surged on Tuesday amid strong demand and concerns over slow planting of the new U.S. corn crop."
Not only is the problem of rising food costs increasing inflation; it is cutting away at the world's ability to feed the poor.
At recent G-7 finance minister meetings and the IMF gathering, food prices were identified, by many measures, as being a larger issue for the global economy than the credit crisis which is doing so much damage to financial market liquidity.
According to The Wall Street Journal "Surging commodity prices have pushed up global food prices 83% in the past three years -- putting huge stress on some of the world's poorest nations." Food inflation rates in China are nearly 20%.
Feeding the starving sits way higher on the set of priorities for food supply than inflation does, but solving the two problems is related in almost all ways, and, it defies resolution in almost every way.
There are, at least, possible solutions to the rising price of oil. OPEC may see that its actions are gutting the GDP growth of many nations and decide that its is their own best interest not to see the global financial ecosystem come apart at the seams. The US could let out some of the petrol in the strategic oil reserves. The action, by itself, might push down speculation in oil and bring crude down by several dollars.
The credit issues plaguing banks and seizing up the capital markets has the potential, at least, of being resolved over the next year by central banks pumping money into the system.
Food supply and demand has no central system for driving a resolution, no central banks or oil cartel.
Many of the world's leaders believe the US is at fault for much of the food shortage. They reason that selling crops for biofuels is a profitable but cruel use of a commodity which is in short supply. There is some truth in the finger pointing, but it is not the whole truth.
Crop yields in large agricultural economies like the US, Canada, and Russia is at an all-time peak, Better land management, fertilizer, and seed have seen to that. But, the sad fact is that the number of the world's poor and under-nourished grows with the global population increase and war pushes more and more people off of producing land and into huge refuge camps which grow no crops by have an unusually immediate need for food.
With food production worldwide running at levels which are unlikely to rise and the number of people who need food for survival moving up, there is no ready solution to bringing down the inflation rate of agricultural commodities.
Unless and until the central banks are willing to underwrite the cost of food by purchasing commodities and selling them below market nothing will happen. :kotz They have taken bad paper from banks in exchange for good cash. Some counties, like China, already underwrite the cost of fuel to keep their economies growing.
Bring down food prices involves buying up the fruits of the global farming system and "loaning" it to many of the world's nations. But, who has a check-book that large?
Douglas A. McIntyre - http://www.247wallst.com/
:kotz Central Banks - den Betrügern und Zockern noch mehr Geld in den Ar*** schieben - dafür die Ärmsten verrecken lassen :gomad:gomad:gomad
One-fifth of corn and almost one sixth of the U.S. grain harvest overall goes toward ethanol production, according to the institute’s report. And while the world’s production of grain will grow by about 20 million tons this year, 70 percent of the increase could be used to generate ethanol for U.S. automobiles, Brown says. :dumm
Week of July 22, 2006 Vol. 170, No. 4
Demand for Ethanol May Drive Up Food Prices
Harvests of corn and other crops are likely to be drawn into a tug of war between people's need for food and their need for fuel, agricultural economists say.
Corn is the most cost-efficient and popular raw material used in the United States to make ethanol. That's important because the fuel has gotten increasingly competitive with gasoline as oil prices have risen.
FUEL VS. FOOD. Cars such as this one, which burns fuel that's 85 percent corn-derived ethanol and just 15 percent gasoline, could compete with people for the 280 million tons of corn harvested annually in the United States."The lines between the food economy and the energy economy [are] becoming blurred," says agricultural economist Lester R. Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. Last week, his organization issued an economic analysis on the subject.
Department of Energy
The analysis found an emerging "competition between the 800 million people who own automobiles and the 2 billion low-income people, many of whom already spend over half their income on food," Brown says. Furthermore, he says, "taxpayers may be subsidizing a rise in their own food prices."
To encourage the use of alternative fuels, U.S. law subsidizes ethanol production at 51 cents per gallon and production of other so-called biofuels at up to $1 per gallon. Those incentives tempt farmers to sell crops to biofuel distilleries or, if they instead sell to food manufacturers, to demand higher prices than they otherwise would.
One-fifth of corn and almost one sixth of the U.S. grain harvest overall goes toward ethanol production, according to the institute's report. And while the world's production of grain will grow by about 20 million tons this year, 70 percent of the increase could be used to generate ethanol for U.S. automobiles, Brown says.
Combustion vs. consumption
"Ethanol plants [are] being built, and they're starting to pull more corn their way," comments agricultural economist Chad E. Hart of Iowa State University in Ames. "We're seeing already higher projected prices than normal for the 2007 crop."
Predicting that the growth of the ethanol industry could drive up food prices as early as next year, Hart notes that corn futures are trading at about $3 per bushel, or about 50 cents higher than usual.
With demand for corn rising, production is also likely to increase, Hart says. Higher corn prices will lure farmers to devote more acres to cultivating corn and fewer to other crops. That, he says, will encourage "an across-the-board increase in crop prices"—as well as in the price of animal feed derived from such crops.
"If corn price goes up, you'll probably feel it more in the cost of your steak than the cost of your cornflakes," Hart says.
Processing, packaging, and distribution costs account for more than 90 percent of the commercial price of cornflakes, bread, and other grain-based products. "Most of the cost of [products such as] bread is not in the cost of the raw materials," Hart says.
By contrast, the cost of feed for animals and other expenses incurred on livestock farms account for about half of the commercial price of meat and eggs, and nearly a third of the cost of cheese. Therefore, Hart says, higher corn prices aren't likely to translate into penny-for-penny increases in food costs.
In addition, Hart says, byproducts of ethanol production from corn, such as corn-gluten meal, can be used to feed livestock. That way, not all the corn used to make fuel is diverted from the food supply.
"So the price impact on livestock products will likely be relatively small in comparison to the change in corn prices," he says.
A technological shift away from corn-based ethanol toward ethanol made from non-crop plants could eventually reverse the anticipated rise in crop costs, Hart says.
A scientific study published last week finds that making ethanol from corn generates less new energy than does manufacturing certain other kinds of biofuel, such as biodiesel made from soybeans (see Farm-Fuel Feedback: Soybeans have advantages over corn).
But if ethanol remains the primary alternative fuel in the United States, a possible replacement for corn could be cellulose from other plants. A weedy plant called switchgrass, for instance, is a productive source of that material, and the plant can be grown in abundance on land unsuitable for crops.
Of a mostly switchgrass-based ethanol industry, Hart says: "While it's technically feasible, it's not commercially viable at this time. For the U.S., corn is the best model going right now."
For the U.S.- because for the rest of the world we couldn't care less :bad
Politik - International
Indien spricht USA das Recht ab, über Irans Atomwaffen zu urteilen
18:05 | 23/ 04/ 2008
NEU DELHI, 23. April (RIA Novosti). Die USA sollen sich laut dem indischen Außenminister Pranab Mukherjee nicht das Recht anmaßen, zu urteilen, ob Iran Atomwaffen herstellt oder nicht.
Am Montag hatte das US State Department Indien aufgerufen, den iranischen Präsidenten Mahmud Ahmadinedschad, der am 29. April nach Neu Delhi kommt, unter Druck zu setzen und zum Verzicht auf das Atomprogramm zu bewegen.
"Wir haben den USA empfohlen, die Verantwortung nicht auf sich zu nehmen und nicht zu entscheiden, ob Iran Atomwaffen herstellt oder nicht", sagte Mukherjee am Mittwoch. Nach seinen Worten ist allein die Internationale Atomenergie-Organisation (IAEO) berechtigt, darüber zu entscheiden.
Der indische Kommunist Sitaram Yechury von der regierenden Koalition forderte die Regierung zu einer Reaktion auf den Appell des amerikanischen Außenministeriums auf. "Die Regierung muss den amerikanischen Botschafter zitieren und ihm klar machen, dass sich Indien den imperialen Hochmut von Seiten des selbsternannten Weltpolizisten verbittet", sagte er vor Journalisten.
Davor hatte ein Sprecher des Indischen Außenministeriums bereits erklärt, weder Indien noch Iran bräuchten US-Anweisungen zu ihren bilateralen Beziehungen.
Bundeswehrverband fordert Aufstockung in Afghanistan
Dienstag, 22. April 2008, 19:36 Uhr
Berlin (Reuters) - Der Bundeswehrverband fordert noch vor der Sommerpause eine massive Aufstockung der deutschen Truppen in Afghanistan......
....Scharfe Kritik übte Gertz an der Ausrüstung. Im Norden Afghanistans auf einen Hubschrauber des Typs CH-53 zu warten, gleiche nach dem Bericht eines Kommandeurs vor Ort einem Glücksspiel. Es gebe Tage, an denen kein einziger der sechs deutschen Helikopter einsatzfähig sei. Die minengeschützten Schützenpanzer des Typs "Marder", die für die Eingreiftruppe vorgesehen sind, seien den Beanspruchungen schon beim Training im Inland nicht gewachsen - und damit in Afghanistan wohl nicht zu gebrauchen. Auch die gepanzerten Truppentransporter des Typs "Dingo" seien nicht für das hohe Gewicht der Panzerung ausgelegt und zeigten Ausfallerscheinungen......
© Reuters 2008 Alle Rechte vorbehalten.
Manipulations in time of War and Hunger
Posted: April 23 2008
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The Fed pumps out reserve notes, elitist politics position to control, no new petro refineries since the 70s wtf? GM food and bio fuel scams, food price rise is an orchestrated scam based on currency manipulation, news from the Plunge Protection Team, disinformation in WSJ, no victory in Iraq, so blame Iran.......
........The "Big Cull" is now underway as all the speculation, fraud, excess and profligacy of Wall Street and millions of unscrupulous borrowers get shoved up our derrieres in the form of hyperinflation and higher taxes. When the various GSE's, where all the old (and now new) toxic waste is being buried, finally go under, it will be like the China Syndrome, a meltdown to hell. The Fed's general collateral will be used up by then, which will lead to direct monetization of treasuries and rampant inflation. As well, the defaulted debts that are absorbed by the FHA, FHLB, Fannie and Freddie will result in much higher IRS bills as the hapless taxpayers are forced to bail out the cataclysmically decimated system. When, we ask, are the citizens of this country going to have their fill of this bailout tripe? Make sure that every single incumbent other than Ron Paul is voted out of office or we will all be pauperized.
We characterized this situation as the "Big Cull" because that is exactly what is in store for the smaller companies in America, Canada, Mexico, Western Europe and Japan. They will be culled out. Note how only the large insider-banks are being bailed by the Fed, a private central bank which is owned by some of the very companies they are bailing out. Talk about a conflict of interest! Note also how mostly the various transnational conglomerates have any real earnings to speak of due to free trade, globalization, off-shoring, outsourcing, slave labor and a weaker dollar, and even some of these gargantuan concerns are in trouble. The Fed is only giving money to big elitist insider companies, who are hoarding the cash out of fear, yes, but also they will be selectively withholding their largess from any who do not belong to the "Big Game." When hyperinflation from an out-of-control money supply finally hits home fully, consumer spending drops off a cliff and corporate earnings go negative, the Fed will be forced to turn to higher rates to save what is left of the dollar or face being run out of the country which by then will start to resemble Zimbabwe, and the whole system will crash and be purged in the upcoming "Very Large Depression" or, if you prefer, the "Much Greater Depression." Select insiders will be bailed out at taxpayer expense, while those insiders and non-insiders that fail will be merged with, or auctioned off at pennies on the dollar to, the surviving insiders. The elitists have already made plans on which companies will survive and which will fail so they can place their bets accordingly. The final number of businesses and financial corporations which fail in the upcoming economic devastation could well number in the tens of thousands worldwide. Few companies will be able to survive the coming catastrophe without help from their governments and/or from the Fed or the other main central banks like the BOE, ECB and BOJ. Even the Fed itself may be discarded and replaced with a far more malevolent cartel vehicle which is put in charge of everything financial as has been suggested by our "beloved" Treasury Secretary, :bad Hanky Panky Paulson :bad on loan from Goldman Sachs. It is all about driving out the competition so the Illuminati can reign supreme.
The President's Working Group on Financial Markets was created by Executive Order 12631, signed on March 18, 1988 by President Ronald Reagan in the aftermath of the Stock Market Crash of 1987. Eleven years later, in 1999, the Glass-Steagall Act (GSA), which for many decades had prohibited a bank holding company from owning any non-banking financial companies, such as investment banks and brokerage houses, was repealed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) that was signed into law by President Slick Willie Clinton. The GSA had been in effect since 1933 and was passed due to abuses, which were found to be a substantial contributing factor to the Great Depression. This wise piece of legislation had kept us out of trouble for over six decades. Both Executive Order 12631 and the GLBA will go down in history as the most ill-advised and most abused financial orders, laws and regulations ever devised, perhaps in the history of our country. The Executive Order currently gives the PPT the right to enter any markets to create stability in the face of a crisis, but instead they use this power on a 24/7 basis to hide from the public all the damage that has been intentionally or unintentionally done to our economy by various Illuminist schemes, including the abuse of the GLBA which allowed banks to pawn off fraudulently rated toxic waste, which quite often the banks themselves or their subsidiaries had created, on their clients and to hold it for those clients in offshore accounts called SIV's. There are many other versions of toxic waste out there that are waiting to implode, all of which were enabled by the unwise authorization of these incestuous relationships in the GLBA. Asset-backed securities are going to be the next shoe to drop as the cash flows from car loans, credit card accounts, mortgages and such esoteric things as aircraft lease payments, which secure these derivative instruments, are interrupted by rampaging, ever-accelerating defaults on the underlying debt as the economy drops off into a hyperinflationary recession. The PPT hides while the GLBA destroys. That's how it works.
These moronic acts by former Presidents and Congresses are what allowed the psychopathic creation of hundreds of trillions in derivatives by way of "financial engineering" in order to absorb the rampant money being supplied by the Fed to fuel financial sector profits in order to cover up the damage being done to the economy by free trade, globalization, off-shoring, outsourcing and illegal immigration. The money was pumped in through the primary dealers via the repo pool and was loaned out to other foreign and domestic banks and to client dupes like hedge funds, insurance companies, pension funds and other institutional investors in order to purchase the toxic waste, often with maniacal degrees of leverage. The sales proceeds were then re-loaned to the mortgage companies so they could fund more fraudulent mortgages which could then be securitized into more toxic waste for resale, thus rolling the money over and over, with the Fed's periodic money injections allowing them to expand the amount of loan money available overall to keep the bubble going. All caution was thrown to the wind to bring in even the unqualified so that the fees and commissions would keep rolling in.
Note that as of 2006, the financial sector contributed about 8% to our GDP, when in 1947, it was 2.5%. That is because the financial sector no longer greases the skids for a healthy economy that produces real goods and services, but has become an industry unto itself, peddling toxic waste instead of funding the production of real goods and services. It has become a self-perpetuating, gargantuan producer of poppycock and phony bologna, and has become the portal through which the Fed pumps in titanic amounts of money and credit to produce profits in the financial sector that help to offset the damage to US GDP which has been done by the latest incarnation of the British mercantilist system that has beggared our middle class. This continual pumping of money and credit to cover the damage to our GDP has inexorably moved us toward a weaker dollar and hyperinflation. The profits generated by this "puff the fluff" smoke and mirrors operation accounts for much of our so-called GDP growth, and also explains the wild growth in derivatives worldwide from about 80 trillion in notional principal in 1999 to today's 600 trillion plus, with the credit default swaps portion of that total, now about 62 trillion, doubling every three years or so over the past decade. We feel that Real GDP has been negative on average for almost two decades if you make adjustments for actual, as opposed to official, inflation and especially when you factor in the bogus contribution to GDP that has been made by our quickly deteriorating financial system, some 8% instead of what used to be about 4% before we started down this path toward insanity. A good portion of the fees and commissions that comprise the financial sector's contribution to GDP over the past decade have been generated by the fraudulent sale of worthless dot.com stocks and toxic waste OTC derivatives. We ask what value has been added to our economy and what production has occurred when you sell worthless stocks or repackage existing loans that have been made to unqualified buyers, that are supported by inflated appraisals and that have been given fraudulent ratings? Where is the value added to the economy when substantial portions of what is produced is either worthless or worth far less than what is paid for it from the very outset. It's almost akin to the sale of new automobiles where a car's value loses multiple thousands of dollars as they are driven off the dealer's lot by their new owners. At least with a new car the price is determined by the actual cost of the inputs and an established market value, instead of being valued by reference to artificially low rates of interest along with fraudulent, dreamed-up qualifications and appraisals and arbitrary, often imaginary, market values set by theoretical mathematical models. We feel that much of the filthy lucre that has been produced by the financial sector over the past decade is nothing more than profits earned on Ponzi-scheme money that is rolled over repeatedly. How can such profits possibly be attributed to our GDP with any intellectual honesty?
Note how gold and silver are being held down by sales and leasing as they consolidate for the next move up, while oil is allowed to fly. As soon as gold and silver start to rally, watch how quickly oil drops. Large specs should be ready for this move which means nothing because it will be totally contrived. The fundamentals will be just as strong as ever no matter what they do to oil because inflation and balance sheet destruction are both baked into the cake as our real estate markets and economy drop into the tank. All those high oil prices are going to take their toll down the line in lower profits or higher inflation, just wait and see. Also note that any new war adventures will most likely occur after both gold and oil have finished their spring rallies and are at much lower levels for purposes of consolidating what will be their most recent gains. A hard but pointless pounding from the cartel can be expected for precious metals and commodities ahead of any new war adventure that is planned. Kosovo, Iran, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip are all possibilities, and these possibilities will keep oil, precious metals and their related shares well bid while the various general stock markets get hammered by the imploding recessionary economy. If a war does start, get ready for some wild action!
Note that Ron Paul took 16% of the vote in Pennsylvania's Republican Primary, beating Huckabee's 11%. Yet we hear nothing about this in the media. In fact, we don't even hear it mentioned that Ron Paul is still a candidate. Our media and our entire elective process are a disgrace. We are governed by a two party dictatorship. If any of the miscreants offered by the Illuminati are elected, we're leaving the country. Oh, that's right, we already left! And you might want to consider doing so also.......
........Commodities are rising due to American debt, massive monetary increases and now lower interest rates. It is now not only the US due to the credit crisis, the Fed, Wall Street and the money central banks created, but it is also other nations for the past four years that have also increased monetary aggregates by 14%. Again, it is just not interest rates. Isn’t it an inevitable consequence of massive monetary aggregate expansion worldwide that we’d get inflation and speculation? And, lower interest rates are a part of it. Global reserves have increased $2.5 trillion, or 85%, in just the past two years. The dollar is now dysfunctional and the entire world monetary and financial system is out of balance. Again inflation and speculation have to be an obvious conclusion to profligacy. We can expect nothing less in a world of fiat currencies. Once the gold backing was removed from the dollar on 8/15/71 it was all-downhill from there and until we return to gold backed currencies the results will be the same – ultimately disastrous. There is no gold reserve system to restrain monetary expansions. There is no control and no discipline. The result has been an historic inflation in dollar financial claims, which has destroyed the global monetary system and now it’s dismantling financial and economic stability. The destabilizing price movements and myriad inflationary effects are poised to worsen. Once the foreign buyers of dollar denominated assets have had enough the huge dollar reserves will hit our shores and inundate the system.
The Fed and all central banks are on the run and the credit crisis worsens. Trillions of dollars and euros, etc. are being fed into the system in order to just keep it afloat. The world financial system is being nationalized country by country.
There is certainly no end in sight of this monetary expansion. The mortgage market is being nationalized via Freddie Mae, Fannie Mac and the FHA. The same has been happening in banking as major investment banking firms too big to fail have been expanding assets by 14% to 27% over the past 38 weeks, almost all of that increase coming from the Fed as bank credit expanded 12.6%. During that period there was a $184 billion, 29%, increase in foreign custody holdings for foreign central banks at the Fed. All of these capital injections have for the moment stymied the systemic de-leveraging, but that is for now. The inflationary implications are enormous and the solution to the problem is not at hand and we do not think there is one.
The outlook for our economy and financial situation looks dreadful. There has been no solution in nine months and it looks worse than it did in August. The Fed and ECB have stopped the bleeding for now but there is no solution in sight. There is nothing ordinary regarding the credit breakdown. Usually such corrections track economic developments, but not this time. This time it is different. The US government has assumed all the risk, which is a precedent in cost and scope for the American taxpayer. The tide has been stemmed for now but not for long. As Feldstein says you cannot cut interest rates forever nor can government guarantees continue. Market manipulation by our government cannot continue forever. It will eventually lose its effectiveness. Besides there is nothing government or the Fed can do. This collapse has to run its course. The unbalance and maladjustment is simply too great. Risk is being moved from one place to another. From the markets to government, which is no solution, unless they want the dollar at 20 on the USDX. While all this proceeds so will inflation in an over- liquefied global system that is no longer able to handle such a flood of aggregates. We are in uncharted waters especially if you throw in derivatives. All we can say is the world has lots of problems.........
full story: http://www.theinternationalforecast...2&articleid=243
24. April 2008, 18:40 – Von Christoph Neidhart
Asiaten hungern wegen hohem Reispreis
Dass der Reis immer teurer wird, hat viele Gründe. Vor allem aber treiben Investoren den Preis in die Höhe – und spielen so mit der Grundversorgung von vier Milliarden Menschen in Asien.
.....Weltweit wurden 2007 650 Millionen Tonnen Reis geerntet, etwas mehr als Weizen, 90 Prozent davon in Asien. Indes ist die Reisproduktion in den letzten Jahren langsamer gewachsen als die Weltbevölkerung, die Lagerbestände sind derzeit auf einem langjährigen Minimum. Von den Reis-produzierenden Ländern haben viele, Indien zum Beispiel, ihre Exporte gedrosselt. Die Philippinen, eines der wichtigsten Importländer, können ihren Bedarf kaum decken. In einigen Ländern, etwa in Bangladesh, ist es bereits zu Reis-Unruhen gekommen.......
......Dass der Reispreis so rapide ansteigt, hat viele Gründe: Die Produktion hat in den letzten Jahren, auch weil Agrarland verloren geht, nicht Schritt gehalten mit der Nachfrage; in den USA stellen Reisfarmer auf den Mais-Anbau für Agrotreibstoffe um; der Ölpreis wirkt sich aus, Dünger und der Betrieb von Maschinen werden teurer. Vor allem aber treibt die Spekulation den Reispreis in die Höhe. Und damit Millionen Menschen in den Hunger. Wenn die Industriestaaten jetzt Geld einschiessen, damit die ärmsten Länder Reis kaufen können, belohnen sie die Spekulanten. Wenn sie kein Geld zur Verfügung stellen, überlassen sie Millionen Menschen dem Hunger. Die Reisbörse in Osaka hat vor 250 Jahren den Futures-Handel eingeführt, um die Versorgung der Städte zu sichern. Der Kauf für eine spätere Lieferung sollte eine Preis-Kontinuität sichern und das spekulative Horten verhindern. Derzeit geschieht das Gegenteil: Nach der Internet- und der Hypotheken-Blase treiben so genannte Investoren ihr Spiel mit der Grundversorgung jener vier Milliarden Menschen, die in Asien leben.
ganzer Artikel: http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/dyn/new...and/864468.html
....Börse hat schon lange nichts mehr mit Angebot und Nachfrage zu tun sondern wie kann ich mit fast null Einsatz dem andern das letzte Hemd ausziehen :mad
19. it's all about the "rebate and switch" checks
03. IRS will begin mailing rebate checks May 9, Bush says
9:19 AM ET, Apr 25, 2008
04. Treasury will direct-deposit some tax rebates Monday: Bush
9:19 AM ET, Apr 25, 2008
von einem AmiBoard:
Todays news are sign of a DEPRESSION. Consumer sentiment numbers are at 25 YRS low, munis are about to collapse creating chaos in cities, and... DJ is up! I mean. What do we need? Tanks on Wall Street? Nuclear war? this market is NONSENSE. Corruption is growing fast guys, this is gona be uggly.
Paying cash? That'll cost extra
Posted: Friday, April 25 at 05:00 am CT by Bob Sullivan
Rhonda Payne went to an AT&T Wireless store in Calhoun, Ga., recently to pay her phone bill in cash. She'd been hit by ID theft and was forced to close her checking account, so she was worried she wouldn’t be able to mail a check on time. But when she arrived at the store, she was in for a surprise.
Paying in person, she was told, costs extra -- $2 extra.
Payne objected to the "administrative charge" that was added to her bill but got no sympathy. Instead, she said, she was told she should consider herself lucky because the fee was about to go up to $5.
"I was told that it was a courtesy to take cash,” she said. “I said, ‘Are you kidding me?'”
It’s no joke. Beginning earlier this year, AT&T Wireless began to charge customers who pay their bills in their stores.
"It is a way of saving money ... it helps us keep our costs lower," said AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel. "We want our associates to spend their time helping customers as they are thinking about their wireless plans or looking at phones."
There are multiple ways for consumers to pay their bills for free, he added -- in the mail, by electronic payment and on the Web. (Big Brother is watching :bad) There are even kiosks in stores where bill payments can be dropped off for free. But having a sales clerk take the payment costs extra.
"If someone really wants to pay using the service of a representative, we think it's appropriate to assess this fee," Siegel said.
The fee might remind some of the "talk-to-a-teller" fee introduced by First National Bank of Chicago in 1995.
Siegel said such fees are routine in other industries, too, citing credit cards as an example.
In fact, most credit card issuers do charge a similar fee, called "pay-to-pay." Consumers who call up banks to pay their credit card bills -- often at the last minute to avoid interest charges or late fees – often are assessed "pay-to-pay" fees ranging from $5 to $15. The practice has recently drawn scrutiny in Congress, and a credit card reform bill introduced by Sen. Carl Levin , D-Mich., would ban the practice.
Hurts the poor most
Consumer advocate Ed Mierzwinski, director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, said he's concerned about AT&T's new fee for another reason: It hits poor people hardest because they are most likely to pay in stores.
"It's targeted at people who don't have bank accounts,” he said. “...It's punitive and largely indefensible.
"It's just unfair to me and I'm shocked by it. People that have less money have to pay more to pay their bills. … It hurts people that really don't have a choice."
Studies show that 10 million to 12 million Americans don't have bank accounts and have to pay their bills in cash, he said. Some are undocumented workers; others are consumers who have bounced too many checks in the past and are ineligible for checking accounts. Sometimes called the "unbanked," consumers who live in this cash economy are finding it harder and harder to maintain basic services, Mierzwinski said.
"I think (AT&T’s fee) is going to lead to more companies charging more to people who want to pay with cash," he said.
Siegel denied that AT&T was targeting cash customers and said his company offers pay-as-you-go pre-paid phones that are better suited for consumers who want to pay in cash.
Payne has complained to state regulators and to the Federal Communications Commission, but hasn't received a refund -- or an explanation that satisfies her.
"This fee charged by AT&T is ripping off poor people," she said. "I've told everybody I know about this."
....nicht nur werden wieder einmal die Ärmsten getroffen - auch wird so bald jeder Penny überwacht und kontrolliert :bad
merci an Zockerzicki :verbeug
Whistleblowers unterwegs ...
Bis später ...
Bemerkung an die Saubermänner - vielleicht nochmals die Doppelmoral überdenken :Prost und jetzt wirklich
siehe posting #2353
The Great Depression of the 2010s
Economics is not rocket science. Neither is power
Darryl Robert Schoon
May 6, 2008
Depressions are monetary phenomena caused by central bank issuance of excessive credit. In 1913, the newly created US central bank, the Federal Reserve, began issuing credit-based money in the US. Within ten years, the central bank flow of credit ignited the 1920s US stock market bubble; and shortly thereafter, following the collapse of the bubble in 1929, the world entered its first Great Depression in 1933.
Investment banks are the undoing of central banking. While all banks, central, commercial and investment, view credit as the opportunity to exploit society's growth and productivity, investment bank exploitation of growth and productivity exposes society to extreme risks - for investment banks use society's savings to make their volatile and speculative bets.
The speculative risks undertaken by investment banks is done by leveraging the savings of society; and, when investment bank bets are sufficiently large enough and the bets go bad - as they inevitably do as the luck of investment bankers is due more to their proximity to credit than to their ability to foresee the future - it is society that will bear the brunt of the pain in the loss of its savings.
Inevitably, investment bankers cannot resist the temptations of excessive credit and, like the buyers of teaser-rate home mortgages, they will always overreach themselves - an overreaching that will have disastrous consequences for the society whose savings they bet.
The leveraged overreaching by investment banks in the 1920s caused the Great Depression of the 1930s and their more recent overreaching in this decade, the 2000s, is about to cause another Great Depression in the next, the 2010s.
It is the proximity of investment banks to the pools of savings that allows investment banks to profit. By their access to society's savings, investment banks use society's wealth as the foundation of their highly leveraged bets in financial markets; and in so doing, they have now placed all of us in harms way.
GOVERNMENT - THE DEVICE BY WHICH THE FEW CONTROL THE MANY
The collapse of financial markets in the first Great Depression led to the US Congress to enact laws that would hopefully insure that such a collapse would never again happen. To that end, in 1933 the Glass-Steagall Act was passed by Congress and signed into law.
Acknowledging the role that investment banks had played in the Great Depression, the passage of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1933 separated investment banking and commercial banking to insure that investment bank speculation would not again destabilize commercial banks as it did during the Great Depression leading to the loss of America's savings.
What bankers hath joined together let no man put asunderHowever, in 1999, the US Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act and America was once again vulnerable to the highly leveraged shenanigans of Wall Street. This time, however, it was not only the US but the entire world whose futures were to be bet and lost by Wall Street gamblers.
The globalization of financial markets had spread the dangers of US investment banking to banks, insurance companies, and pension funds around the world. Now, the savings of Europe and Asia as well as the US were to be impacted by the wagers of Wall Street who in the 2000s literally bet the house on the possibility that subprime CDOs were actually worth their AAA ratings.
Glass-Steagall, the law enacted in1933 to prevent another Great Depression was repealed at the behest of bankers. While it is true that at certain times the US government will act in the best interest of society, usually (and usually in the guise of so doing) the US government is the pawn of the special interests that benefit from the trough of government largesse and regulation. The repealing of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 was therefore a reversion to the mean.
We are today in the initial stages of another collapse that will lead to another Great Depression. The safeguards put in place to prevent such from happening were not only disassembled in 1999; but, now in 2008, the US government has moved even closer to exposing its citizenry and indeed the world to the speculative carnage and folly of investment banking excess.
THE RULE OF LAW IS A WONDROUS THING - ESPECIALLY IF YOU WRITE THEM.
Bloomberg.com April 8, 2008
"As credit markets seized up, the Fed gave the 20 primary dealers in U.S. government bonds the same access to discount-window loans that had previously been reserved for banks. The central bank now auctions as much as $100 billion to lenders a month, and has cut the cost on direct loans to just a quarter-point above the overnight rate on loans between banks."
The US Federal Reserve is now underwriting, i.e. subsidizing, the commercial activities of global private investment banks. The 20 primary dealers in US government bonds include the world's largest investment banks - BNP Paribas Securities Corp. (French), Barclays Capital Inc (British), Banc of America Securities LLC (USA), UBS Securities LLC (Swiss), Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein Securities LLC (German), Daiwa Securities US Inc. (Japan) etc.
In truth, these investment banks are global entities and have no actual nationality no matter what jurisdiction in which they are legally domiciled. As such, they also have no allegiance except to their own self-interests.
Why is the US government allocating public resources for the benefit of private international investment banks?
US resources are subsidizing international investment banks through the Federal Reserve Bank, a quasi private entity which was given governmental powers in 1913 (some allege in violation of the US Constitution). That a quasi private bank is bailing out private banks with public monies does make sense. What doesn't make sense is why the public allows it.
There is much discussion as to the justification and reasons for US, UK, European, and Japanese central banks bailing out private banks with public money. Issues such as moral hazard are now being raised in questioning the right and consequence of so doing.
In truth, such issues are irrelevant. Not that they are in themselves not important, but issues such as moral hazard will have no effect whatsoever on what is going to happen.
Intent is the underlying motive that explains what is about to occur. The intent of private bankers is not public stability, nor growth, nor productivity - it is the pursuit of private profit via the use of public credit and debt.
Today, most governments, especially the US and UK, are controlled by private bankers - which is why government policy continues and will continue to favor the interests of private bankers over the public good.
THE MELTDOWN OF MAMMON
I am sure that in some quarters of the Catholic Church objections were raised (perhaps even on theological grounds) about the torture used by the Church during the Spanish Inquisition; just as today, there have been objections raised by some in the US in regards to the use of torture in its "war on terror".
Objections are always tolerated by those in power as long as the objections do not rise to the level of action. The objection to central bank credit and influence in our monetary affairs is therefore rhetorical. The influence of private bankers and central banking in our monetary affairs will not change until their influence has run its course - which is now about to happen.
The present epoch of central banking will perhaps be known as the period when bankers roamed the earth. Just as during the Jurassic Age, when dinosaurs roamed freely eating whatever and whomever they encountered, bankers did much the same in the present epoch that is now about to end - profiting by the productivity of society and the public and private debts incurred as a result of bankers' induced credit-based spending.
Bankers achieved their immense power during this era by exploiting flaws in human nature and systemic flaws in the economic system they constructed for their own benefit. But as with all flaws, human or economic, the consequences of so doing are exposed over time. That time has now arrived.
Money is not credit, nor is money created de jure by circulating paper coupons imprinted with a government stamp stating the coupons are now legal tender to be used in the settlement of debts.
The idea that central bank coupons/paper money, sic debt, can be used to settle another debt is astounding. That we have been led to accept it is so is even more astounding. Throughout history, every experiment with paper "money" as a settlement of debt has failed. Our experiment with paper money towards that end will be no different.
The recent correction in the price of gold and silver is just that, a correction in an otherwise direct repudiation of the on-going attempt by governments and bankers to substitute paper coupons for real money.
A paper yen, a paper euro, a paper dollar, when no longer backed and convertible to gold or silver is but a paper coupon masquerading as money - a coupon with an expiration date in invisible ink.
In truth, the bankers' real gambit is not their bet that paper money can be substituted for gold and silver or that subprime mortgages can be passed off as AAA securities. Their real gambit is that central bank issuance of debt as money and their control of governments will never be discovered by the public.
HUBRIS FOLLY AND DISASTER
The world of credit and debt and all it has created has been made possible by bankers and their debt based system of money and central banking. Its cost, however, will be born by future generations who were not present when the debts were incurred.
Those who utter in pious simplicity those wonderful words, "our children are our future", have no idea what they have done to those very children and their future by spending today what future generations will have to earn tomorrow.
Here, in the US, an entire generation has grown up on the suspect promises of easy credit and paper money. That generation is now beginning to suspect that something is wrong, that the price of their gas, food and healthcare is rapidly rising and their dream of home ownership is a trap from which bankruptcy is increasingly their only escape.
Still, this generation has no idea of how terribly wrong it actually is and why it has happened; and their ignorance of such will give them little comfort during the Great Depression that lies directly ahead.
The chickens are coming home to roost; and they closer they come, the more they are looking like vultures.
Note: I will be speaking at Professor Antal E. Fekete's Session IV of Gold Standard University Live (GSUL) July 3-6, 2008 in Szombathely, Hungary. If you are interested in monetary matters and gold, the opportunity to hear Professor Fekete should not be missed. A perusal of Professor Fekete's topics may convince you to attend (see http://www.professorfekete.com/gsul.asp).Professor Fekete, in my opinion, is a giant in a time of small men.
Darryl Robert Schoon
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