Posts tagged Wall Street
Posts tagged Wall Street
News that a trader in the JP Morgan’s London offices racked up $2 billion in losses, has put Wall Street in a tizzy. (May 11)
The Obama administration has declared that the “War on Terror” is officially over, but this move only signifies a change in public terminology, not official U.S. policy.
Many of the war on terror’s secret objectives will be pursued regardless of the new public language that will be deployed by U.S. officials to sell the idea of perpetual warfare to the American people and the rest of the world.
One of the main objectives of the falsely advertised “War on Terror,” was to allow U.S. government agencies and international banks to reap the profits from the global drug trade while appearing noble and lawful. Despite the brand change, the war on terror will still be waged in order to preserve the global drug economy. The continuation of covert CIA and military operations in the heroin fields of Afghanistan is a certainty.
As many experts on reality have noted, a sharp rise in heroin cultivation in Afghanistan occurred when America and NATO invaded the country illegally in 2001. U.S. officials, intelligence officers, and soldiers have been trafficking drugs out of Afghanistan under the radar for the last decade. Journalist Patrick Henningsenreported earlier this month that both the Army and the DEA are trafficking drugs into the United States.
The global trafficking of drugs by the U.S. government is not done to keep the government budget afloat and finance the banks. It is pure corruption. As Catherine Austin Fitts wrote in 2001, “New technology blesses us with the potential tools we can use to radically increase productivity in a way that can “jump the curve” on our narco dollar addiction.”
In the past decade, the National Security State’s crimes such as drug trafficking and arms dealing were committed under the cover of War on Terror, but this label is being dropped in favour of more sophisticated and nuanced language.
The Obama administration is trying to maintain the corrupt status quo by adopting a new vocabulary to cover-up the criminal activities and policies of the U.S. security state and Wall Street/Federal Reserve Banksters.
So, contrary to the claims of the Obama propaganda machine, the evil transnational and secret financial-intelligence-political-security-media Empire has been strengthened and stimulated anew under the Obama administration.
In the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, the Obama administration is trying all kinds of tricks to regain popular credibility which it had lost because of its defense of the Wall Street bandits and Bush-era torturers. Whether provoking a race war, falsely declaring the end of U.S. wars abroad, or exploiting the grievances of the poor, the aim is the same: re-elect the puppet Obama.
Side Note: I understand the source for this article is, how do I say it - “unreliable” so when you read it, try to ignore the obvious bias and just stick with the key points i.e. there is an “office of financial research” that is getting it’s funding from the Federal Reserve and through taxes - and it’s key job? ”The agency’s official mission is to collect financial data and funnel it to another Dodd-Frank creation: the Financial Stability Oversight Council. These agencies were designed with the idea of preventing another systemic shock of Lehman Brothers magnitude.” The problem: This ‘regulatory’ agency has pretty much unlimited power and funds - and can demand anything it wants from companies. They have complete arbitrary power to do what they like - yeah; I can see where there would be concerns about the OFR.
By James Rosen
It is the most powerful federal agency you’ve never heard of — and lawmakers from both parties on Thursday vowed to keep abreast of its astonishing growth and rein it in, if necessary.
The Office of Financial Research, or OFR, was created by the Dodd-Frank financial services overhaul that President Obama signed into law in July 2010. Technically housed under the Treasury Department, the agency has until now received its funding not from the Congress, but directly from the Federal Reserve.
Starting in July, the OFR Fiscal Year 2013 budget, estimated at $158 million, will be funded entirely through assessments — also known as taxes — on bank-holding firms with consolidated assets worth at least $50 billion.
But as became clear at Thursday’s hearing by the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, a close reading of the law the president signed provides no limit on the growth of OFR’s budget, nor on the taxes the agency can impose on big banks to fund it.
“We’ll call you on it,” said Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., warning what would happen if he and his colleagues see the agency growing too large.
Yet the Congress’ prospects for doing that are at present limited, as it holds no power of the purse over OFR. Detractors call it “the CIA of financial regulators,” and conjure “Orwellian” visions of “an omniscient Soviet-style central risk manager.”
The agency’s official mission is to collect financial data and funnel it to another Dodd-Frank creation: the Financial Stability Oversight Council. These agencies were designed with the idea of preventing another systemic shock of Lehman Brothers magnitude.
Toward that end, OFR was invested with virtually unlimited subpoena power. It can compel just about any company in America to turn over to the federal government sensitive internal data, even proprietary information.
“We’re only going to be collecting the data that we absolutely need, to fulfill our mission,” testified Michele Shannon, the new agency’s chief operating officer. “We’re trying to fill data gaps. We’re not going to be collecting for collection’s sake. We’re going to be making sure that only those people who absolutely need to have access to sensitive data have that access.”
But Republicans on the panel remained skeptical about the potential for abuses of power.
“You’re able to tax corporations without any oversight by the U.S. Congress,” said Rep. Steve Pearce, R-New Mex. “Our Constitution is pretty clear, and so if we’re a little scratchy on our side, just understand it’s because you’re conducting things that we feel like are completely unconstitutional.”
Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., questioned both the need for OFR to exist and its ability to protect adequately the sensitive data it will collect through its subpoena power.
“Your agency…seems to think it can outsmart Wall Street, if they have enough extra people and enough software, that they can see where the next problem is going to be,” Posey said at Thursday’s hearing. “But everyone with half a brain in this country saw the last problem way before it burst. We knew there was a subprime crisis; it was just a matter of how long it would be before it burst.”
Posey also noted that the computer systems of some national defense agencies have been hacked. “I wonder whether or not you’ll be able to have a safer process than some of them did,” he said.
One of the panel’s most liberal members, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., normally alarmed by unbridled expansions of subpoena power, defended OFR, citing the experience of the Great Recession. “I hope that all my colleagues agree that having, consolidating, and understanding this complex financial data would be key to preventing another systemic risk,” she said.
Side Note: I’m going to start writing more of my own blog-posts - soon - which was the original intent of this blog, until I began to “Facebook-it” by posting all these news stories and commentaries. At any rate, all posts that are exclusively written by me will be tagged “essay”, “golden platform”, “original”. I do have a few that are tagged like that, and from this point forward, I hope to make posts written by me more of the ‘norm’ here on The Golden Platform.
The heaviest weekly loss (down 2%) in the S&P 500 since mid-December and largest two-week drop since the rally began in November was dominated by losses in financials (and energy). Themajor financials most notably have been crushed from the start of April (MS -13%, Citi/BofA -11%, GS -8.5% since the European close on 4/2). Credit broadly underperformed on the day (after ripping to pre-NFP levels yesterday) but HYG (the high-yield bond ETF) outperformed surprisingly but this appears to be related to an equity-credit (SPY-HYG) convergence trade as HYG looks very rich now once again to its NAV. The dismal close in ES (S&P futures) on significantly heavier volume and block size. VIX pushed back above 19.5% and we worry that the violent swings that we saw in credit and equity markets this week are very reminiscent of the beginning of the chaos mid-Summer last year - and perhaps rightfully so given the European situation that is escalating. FX markets were much more active today with EURUSD breaking back under 1.31 and AUD leaking lower after gapping down on China GDP news last night. Interestingly the USD ended basically unchanged from last week’s close while Gold managed to hold onto its gains for the week (+1.5% at $1655) despite drops in Silver and Copper also today (Silver and Gold retracing the spike highs from yesterday). Copper kept sliding -4.7% on the week. Treasuries slipped lower in yieldfrom late last night exaggerated by China’s news with the entire complex notably lower (5-9bps on the week) in yield and flatter as the long-end outperformed. Stocks pulled back towards CONTEXT with broad risk assets at the close today though it remains rich to Treasuries and credit on a medium-term basis.
Washington - Financial speculators are gambling on oil the same way they gambled on the housing market a few years ago — a frightening prospect for the fragile economy, a Democratic congressional committee was told Wednesday.
"It is similar to the gambling Wall Street did on whether or not people would pay their subprime (below-market rate) mortgages in the mortgage meltdown," said Michael Greenberger, a law professor at the University of Maryland and a former federal regulator of financial markets. "Now they are betting on the upward direction of the price of oil."
The housing industry collapse helped trigger the deep recession that began in late 2007 and whose effects are still felt today.
The economy is slowly recovering, Greenberger said, but it could come to a halt unless oil prices come down. Gene Guilford, president of the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association, told lawmakers that the recent oil price run-up has cost consumers an additional $10 billion a month since mid-December.
The House of Representatives’ Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which consists of party leaders, called the hearing to spotlight Democratic efforts to promote lower oil and gasoline prices. No Republicans were present.
Today’s routine $4-and-higher prices for a gallon of gasoline have nothing to do with conventional supply-and-demand forces, Greenberger said. He formerly directed regulation of market trading in futures contracts and derivatives for the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.
"It is excessive speculation, which is a fancy word for saying that gamblers wearing Wall Street suits have taken these markets over," he said.
Financial speculators such as investment banks and hedge funds account for at least 65 percent of purchases of contracts for future oil deliveries, more than twice their traditional share, while buyers who intend to actually take delivery of the oil and use it, such as airlines, make up only about one-third of demand. The speculators bid up contract prices, sending oil and gasoline prices higher and reaping them huge profits. The bidding is stoked by fear of possible violence in oil-producing countries, notably Iran.
Congress has tried to pressure the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to put limits on how many contracts anyone can buy, but financial interests have stymied CFTC efforts in federal court.
Greenberger suggested several remedies, including a strong Justice Department probe. He said the threat of a serious investigation can be enough to intimidate speculators.
"If there is a real investigation, just the appearance of it will cause these cockroaches to scatter," he said, "because the light will be turned on."
The Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that U.S. crude oil inventories “are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.” Total motor gasoline inventories also remain in the upper limit of the average range. Both were as of March 30. That means supplies are plentiful; there’s no shortage pressure driving prices up.
The EIA, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, also said that total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged about 18.2 million barrels per day, down by 4.7 percent compared with the similar period last year. Similarly, over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged nearly 8.6 million barrels per day, down by 3.8 percent from the same period last year.
That inventories are up and products supplied are down suggests that producers are stockpiling supplies on concern that prices could go even higher, when they could earn a premium, even as demand for oil and its derivative products such as gasoline is actually down. Inventories are often built up ahead of the summer driving season.
The benchmark U.S. oil price fell Wednesday to $101.47 in New York, its lowest level since mid-February, but still well above where analysts believe it should be with supplies up and demand down.