* WALL STREET’S CITY BID-RIGGING RACKET, WHERE’S THE INVESTIGATION?
By Richard RJ Escow, Economy in Crisis
A recent court case proves what many of us have long suspected: Big banks have been ripping off this nation’s towns and cities for years in an old-fashioned racketeering scam. We ran some numbers to see how much this criminality might have cost the American people. The answer? Billions.
That’s billions that might have been used to educate our children, pave our roads, and protect us from crime, disease, and fire. Will somebody take this investigation as high in these organizations as it needs to go, pursuing the truth wherever it may lead? […]
* QUELLE SURPRISE! BARCLAYS SETTLEMENT ON MASSIVE INTEREST RATE PRICE FIXING ILLUSTRATES BANK CRIME PAYS WELL
By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism
It’s become oh-so-predictible that banks get at most “cost of doing business” punishments that they almost seem not worth noting. But that’s precisely why it’s important to keep tabs on them, to let the complicit authorities and the perps know that the public is not fooled, even it is not in a position to do anything about it…yet…
Even though the Libor/Euribor price-fixing scandal hasn’t gotten much attention in the US, this is a really big deal. Admittedly, it did not crash the economy the way toxic RMBS and CDOs did. Instead, it was a massive price manipulation, the sort of victimless-looking crime where stealing a few basis points over a monster volume of transactions has a huge aggregate impact. This scheme went on for a full five years, with 20+ banks fingered, meaning everyone who was anyone was in on the game. As Ben Walsh put it:
The importance of Libor and, to a lesser extent, Euribor, is hard to overstate. They are used to value of hundreds of trillions of dollars of financial instruments. Or as Matt Levine puts it, they “set the rates on pretty much all the loans and swaps in the world … CFTC order mentions $350 trillion of [over-the-counter] swaps, $10 trillion of loans, and $437 trillion of CME eurodollar contracts indexed to Libor alone”. […]
* JPMORGAN TRADING LOSS MAY REACH $9 BILLION
By Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Susanne Craig, NYTimes
[…] the sharply higher loss totals will feed a debate over how strictly large financial institutions should be regulated and whether some of the behemoth banks are capitalizing on their status as too big to fail to make risky trades.
JPMorgan plans to disclose part of the total losses on the soured bet on July 13, when it reports second-quarter earnings. Despite the loss, the bank has said it will be solidly profitable for the quarter — no small achievement given that nervous markets and weak economies have sapped Wall Street’s main businesses. To put the size of the loss in perspective, JPMorgan logged a first-quarter profit of $5.4 billion.
More than profits are at stake. The growing fallout from the bank’s bad bet threatens to undercut the credibility of Mr. Dimon, who has been fighting major regulatory changes that could curtail the kind of risk-taking that led to the trading losses. The bank chief was considered a deft manager of risk after steering JPMorgan through the financial crisis in far better shape than its rivals.
“Essentially, JPMorgan has been operating a hedge fund with federal insured deposits within a bank,” said Mark Williams, a professor of finance at Boston University, who also served as a Federal Reserve bank examiner. […]
* WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE ANGRY ABOUT
In a 25 minute speech, Senator Bernie Sanders took to the Senate floor and challenged Congress to break free of its billionaire masters and work for the American people.
* CAN THE WORLD SURVIVE WASHINGTON’S HUBRIS?
By Paul Craig Roberts
[…] It has proved to be more difficult for Washington to interfere in China’s internal affairs, although discord has been sowed in some provinces. Several years from now, the Chinese economy is expected to exceed in size the US economy, with an Asian power displacing a Western one as the world’s most powerful economy.
Washington is deeply disturbed by this prospect. In the thrall and under the control of Wall Street and other special interest business groups, Washington is unable to rescue the US economy from its decline. The short-run gambling profits of Wall Street, the war profits of the military/security complex, and the profits from offshoring the production of goods and services for US markets have far more representation in Washington than the wellbeing of US citizens. As the US economy sinks, the Chinese economy rises.
Washington’s response is to militarize the Pacific. The US Secretary of State has declared the South China Sea to be an area of American national interest. The US is wooing the Philippine government, playing the China threat card, and working on getting the US Navy invited back to its former base at Subic Bay. Recently there were joint US/Philippines military/naval exercises against the “China threat.”
The US Navy is reallocating fleets to the Pacific Ocean and constructing a new naval base on a South Korean island. US Marines are now based in Australia and are being reallocated from Japan to other Asian countries. The Chinese are not stupid. They understand that Washington is attempting to corral China.
For a country incapable of occupying Iraq after 8 years and incapable of occupying Afghanistan after 11 years, to simultaneously take on two nuclear powers is an act of insanity. The hubris in Washington, fed daily by the crazed neocons, despite extraordinary failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, has now targeted formidable powers–Russia and China. The world has never in its entire history witnessed such idiocy.
The psychopaths, sociopaths, and morons who prevail in Washington are leading the world to destruction.
The criminally insane government in Washington, regardless whether Democrat or Republican, regardless of the outcome of the next election, is the greatest threat to life on earth that has ever existed. […]
* SHEEPLE LOOKING FORWARD TO TROOPS ON THE STREETS