Enough With The Government Cover-Ups

Edward Harrison, 01.12.10, 04:20 PM EST

What really happened to AIG and other bankrupt firms.

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It has come to light recently that American International Group withheld important information about its dealings with financial counterparties in the lead-up to its collapse and bailout by the Federal Reserve. What is most troubling about this episode is that it was officials at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York–not AIG–who seem to have orchestrated the secretive and potentially illegal activities. Moreover, the actions by the regulator were uncovered only through an investigation conducted on behalf of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Were it not for the doggedness of the committee’s ranking Republican member, Darrell Issa of California, the public would be none the wiser.

Is this what it has come to in America: Public officials making policy via cover-ups, secret deals and government coercion? It seems so. If we don’t demand a full investigation into this type of behavior and criminal prosecution where appropriate, we should expect more of the same in the future.
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Is The U.S. Economy Being Tanked By Mistake or By Intent? by Bill Sardi

Is The U.S. Economy Being Tanked By Mistake or By Intent?

by Bill Sardi

Recently by Bill Sardi: Who Is Left Holding the Bag on US Debt?

The government wants Americans to believe the greatest economic collapse in history was the result of ineptness and mistakes yet still have confidence in their financial institutions.

Should American bankers be let off the hook because they self-declare, before an investigational panel, that the failure of their newly invented risk swaps and other highly leveraged investment schemes was simply due to “mistakes”? Not malfeasance – just every-day mistakes? Bankers just fell asleep at the helm at a critical juncture in American history. Is that what we are being led to believe?

Oh well, it’s just 18 million American homes that now lay empty in the wake of unprecedented foreclosures, and the bankers have collected obscene bonuses for reckless lending of their depositors’ money. It’s like the captain and crew of a ship saying, not to worry, twenty-percent of the passengers were lost overboard, but this was due to unavoidable mistakes, and then being rewarded with bonuses when they reach port.


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YAHOO: Preparing for the Worst

by Robert Kiyosak

Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009, 12:00AM

“Is the crisis over?” is a question I am often asked. “Is the economy coming back?”
My reply is, “I don’t think so. I would prepare for the worst.”

Like most people, I wish for a better future for all of us. Life is better when people are working, happy, and spending money.

The stock market has been going up since March 9, 2009. Talk of “green shoots” fill the air. Yet, in spite of the more positive news, I continue to recommend that people prepare for the worst. The following are some of my reasons:

1. I believe the stock market is being manipulated. I suspect the government, banks, and Wall Street are doing everything they can to keep the market from crashing. Our leaders know that nothing makes the world feel better than a raging bull market.

Do I have any proof that the market is being manipulated? No. I just smell a rat, or a pack of rats. I believe greed, self-interest, arrogance, and fear control the financial markets. I suspect those in charge will do anything to keep us all from panicking… and I don’t blame them. A global panic would be ugly and dangerous.

2. In my view, this global crisis has been caused by the Federal Reserve Bank, the U.S. Treasury, Wall Street, and the central banks of the world. They caused the problem, profited excessively in doing so, and now profit by being asked to fix the problem.

Every time I hear a politician mention the word stimulus, my mind flashes back to high school biology class, when I touched battery wires to a dead frog to make it twitch. Today, you and I are the dead frogs. Pretty soon the dead frog will be fried frog.

In the 1980s, our government’s hot money stimulus was measured only in the millions of dollars. By the 1990s, the government had to ramp the stimulus voltage into the billions in order to get the frog to twitch. Today the frog has jumper cables with trillions in high-voltage hot money pouring through the lines.

While most us feel better when we have more high-voltage money in our hands, none of us feel good about higher taxes, increasing national debt, and rising inflation for the long term. Another old saying goes, “Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.” I say the government stimulus cure is killing us frogs.

3. Old frogs don’t hop. Another reason I am cautious about the future is that the Western world has a growing number of old frogs. Between 1970 and 2000, the economy responded to bailouts and stimulus packages because the baby boomers of the world were entering their greatest earning years — their purchasing power increased, and demand for homes, cars, refrigerators, computers, and TVs boosted the economy.

The stimulus plans seemed to work. But when a person turns 60, their spending habits change dramatically. They stop consuming and start conserving like a bear preparing for winter. The economy of the Western world is heading into winter. Hot wires and hot money will not get old frogs to hop. Old frogs will simply join the bears and stick that money in the bank as they prepare for the long, hard winter known as old age. The businesses that will do well in a winter economy are drug companies, hospitals, wheelchair manufacturers, and mortuaries.

4. The dying frog economy will lead us to the biggest Ponzi schemes of all: Social Security and Medicare. If we think this subprime financial crisis is big, it’s my opinion that this crisis will be dwarfed by the crisis brewing in Social Security and Medicare…Medicare being the biggest crisis of all. As old frogs head for the big lily pad in the sky, they will demand young frogs spend even more in tax dollars just to keep old frogs from croaking.

5. The 401(k)Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme, like the scheme Madoff ran, depends upon young money to pay off old money. In other words, a Ponzi scheme needs tadpoles to finance old frogs. The same is true for the 401(k) and other retirement plans to work. If young money does not come into the stock market, the old money cannot retire. One reason so many people my age are worried, not only about Social Security and Medicare, is because they’re concerned about getting their money out of the stock market before the other old frogs decide to drain the swamp.

The facts are that the 401(k) plan has a trigger that requires old frogs to begin withdrawing their money at a certain age. In other words, as baby boomers grow older, more and more will be required, by law, to begin withdrawing their money from the market. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to know that it is hard for a market to keep going up when more and more people are getting out.

The reason the 401(k) has this law related to mandatory withdrawals is because the Federal government wants to collect the taxes that they deferred when the worker’s money went into the plan. In other words, the taxman wants their pound of flesh. Since they allowed the worker to invest without paying taxes, the government wants their tax dollars when the employee retires. That is why the laws require older workers to sell their shares ¬– and pay their pound of flesh.

Demographics show that we are entering a battle between young and old. I call it the “Age War.” The young want to hang onto their money to grow their families, businesses, and wealth. The old want the tax and investment dollars of the young to sustain their old age.

This war is not coming…it is upon us now. This is one of many reasons why I remain cautious and say, “The worst is yet to come.”

Goldman Sachs – THE WORLD’S BIGGEST PONZI SCHEME

Taken from a comment by “Calltoaccount”, which was taken from Institutional Risk Analytics, blogged by http://www.cjr.org

Res Ipsa Loquitor: Here’s the real story that’s been conveniently swept under the rug.

From Reuters: QUESTION: Did Goldman do any due diligence on AIG before buying credit default swaps (CDS) from it?

ANSWER: “We do extensive due diligence on all our counterparties.” –  posted 4/2/09 by Karl Denninger

(Credit Barry Ritholtz and Institutional Risk Analytics, the original source)

WHOAH!

In fact, our investigation suggests that by the time AIG had entered the CDS fray in a serious way more than five years ago, the firm was already doomed. No longer able to prop up its earnings using reinsurance because of growing scrutiny from state insurance regulators and federal law enforcement agencies, AIG’s foray into CDS was really the grand finale. AIG was a Ponzi scheme plain and simple, yet the Obama Administration still thinks of AIG as a real company that simply took excessive risks. No, to us what the fraud Bernard Madoff is to individual investors, AIG is to the global financial community.

As with the phony reinsurance contracts that AIG and other insurers wrote for decades, when AIG wrote hundreds of billions of dollars in CDS contracts, neither AIG nor the counterparties believed that the CDS would ever be paid. Indeed, one source with personal knowledge of the matter suggests that there may be emails and actual side letters between AIG and its counterparties that could prove conclusively that AIG never intended to pay out on any of its CDS contracts.

Read that folks.

Then read it again.

Then read it AGAIN.

More excerpts:

There are two basic problems with side letters. First, they are a criminal act, a fraud that usually carries the full weight of an “A” felony in many jurisdictions. Second, once the side letter is discovered by a persistent auditor or regulator examining the buyer of protection, the transaction becomes worthless. You paid $6 million to AIG to shift risk via the reinsurance, but the side letter makes clear that the transaction is a fraud and you lose any benefit that the apparent risk shifting might have provided.

And finally, the last nail in the coffin:

The key point is that neither the public, the Fed nor the Treasury seem to understand is that the CDS contracts written by AIG with these various non-insurers around the world were shams – with no correlation between “fees” paid and the risk assumed. These were not valid contracts as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Geithner and Economic policy guru Larry Summers claim, but rather acts of criminal fraud meant to manipulate the capital positions and earnings of financial companies around the world.

Indeed, our sources as well as press reports suggest that the CDS contracts written by AIG may have included side letters, often in the form of emails rather than formal letters, that essentially violated the ISDA agreements and show that the true, economic reality of these contracts was fraud plain and simple. Unfortunately, by not moving to seize AIG immediately last year when the scandal broke, the Fed and Treasury may have given the AIG managers time to destroy much of the evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Only when we understand how AIG came to be involved in CDS and the fact that this seemingly illegal activity was simply an extension of the reinsurance/side letter shell game scam that AIG, Gen Re and others conducted for many years before will we understand what needs to be done with AIG, namely liquidation. Seen in this context, the payments made to AIG by the Fed and Treasury, which were then passed-through to dealers such as Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), can only be viewed as an illegal taking that must be reversed once the US Trustee for the Federal Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York is in control of AIG’s operations.

Thank you Timmy, thank you Ben Bernanke, thank you Henry Paulson, thank you George Bush and thank you President Obama.

If this is true every one of you needs to go to prison.

After those of you still in your positions are impeached.

Again, for the simple who need it in one sentence:

AIG was a Ponzi scheme plain and simple, yet the Obama Administration still thinks of AIG as a real company that simply took excessive risks. No, to us what the fraud Bernard Madoff is to individual investors, AIG is to the global financial community.

Distilled to one sentence: The bailout of AIG is equivalent to the US Taxpayer bailing out Madoff’s admitted (and now convicted) Ponzi Scheme.

PS: This isn’t MY analysis, this is the analysis of Institutional Risk Analytics. If you don’t understand who they are, you should – they’re one of the most-respected groups out there when it comes to banking system analysis. If they’re willing to print something this damning….

Posted by Calltoaccount on Sat 18 Jul 2009 at 09:40 AM

RANT: Do people UNDERSTAND what is going on? WTF???

WTF??? Is this not the largest economic crisis ever? Should we all be losing our heads over this? Do people even UNDERSTAND how huge this is? Obviously not 😦

I just got off the phone with my parent. I explained to her how America is losing tax reciepts up to the tune of 54 BILLION in the past 30 days. That means no schools, police, fire, bridges or anything else we pay for. No more pensions, retirement, savings or investments. The only thing that will be worth anything over the next 9-12 months are staples like bread, metals, guns & ammo, fresh water, and other foods.

My parent is more worried about whether or not a casino will move into her area to drive up the value of her condo.

WTF??? Casino? Our financial system is a casino, except the elites have 5 Aces and your stuck with Jokers.

Is it that people just do not understand the scope of the crisis?
Do they believe we this will turn around in a few weeks? (Cause it will NOT!)
Do they understand how our economy works? (If nobody is buying goods, then nobody has a job)
Do they understand that these statistics seem unimportant now, but will be in the next 6 months?
Do they realize that the millions of lost jobs ARE NOT COMING BACK????
Do they understand the implications of letting the govermnent say “too big to fail“? Do they really know what that means?

The biggest questions is, do they even care?

Golden Parachutes: How the Bankers Went Down

When high-ranking executives are fired from a company, for whatever reason, they don’t go to the back of the unemployment line. Instead, they typically receive compensation in the form of the “golden parachute.” Golden parachutes can include severance pay, cash bonuses, stock options or other benefits. In the case of the financial crisis and the ensuing bank failures, if it seems like these executives are being rewarded for poor performance, you may be right. Here’s a look at what some bankers made on their way down.

For more personal finance visualizations see: WallStats.com

Forget AIG Bonuses — The Next Bailout is Here

Ruth Conniff
Global Research
March 21, 2009

Democrats from Andrew Cuomo to Barney Frank to Barack Obama are demanding that the 418 AIG employees who received bonuses give them back. Sure, it’s outrageous that the very people who drove AIG off the cliff, along with a whole lot of other financial firms, walked away with million-dollar bonuses paid with taxpayer bailout money. But as the Wall Street Journal opinion page points out, “Taxpayers have already put up $173 billion, or more than a thousand times the amount of those bonuses, to fund the government’s AIG ‘rescue.’”

And there is more to come.

The Obama Administration is putting the finishing touches on another big bank bailout. Called the Public Private Investor Partnership (PPIP), it is the brainchild of the Treasury Secretary from Wall Street, Tim Geithner. Under the plan, the government will give our money to hedge fund managers to buy “toxic” assets for more than they are worth. The banks that created these toxic turkeys will use the money from the sales to recapitalize themselves. Everyone comes out ahead except, of course, the taxpayers, who are essentially funneling money to hedge funds to buy bad assets for more than they are worth. The other bonus for the banks in this plan, as Yves Smith points out, is that they get to avoid giving the toxic assets any real market value. Less transparency and more transfers of wealth from taxpayers to hedge fund managers.

So much for the “free market.”
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