by Ellen Brown
Far from reducing risk, derivatives increase risk, often with catastrophic results.
—Derivatives expert Satyajit Das, Extreme Money (2011)
The “toxic culture of greed” on Wall Street was highlighted again last week, when Greg Smith went public with his resignation from Goldman Sachs in a scathing oped published in the New York Times. In other recent eyebrow-raisers, LIBOR rates—the benchmark interest rates involved in interest rate swaps—were shown to be manipulated by the banks that would have to pay up; and the objectivity of the ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) was called into question, when a 50% haircut for creditors was not declared a “default” requiring counterparties to pay on credit default swaps on Greek sovereign debt.
by Ellen Brown
Author, “Web of Debt”
hat tip: opednews.com
May 7, 2010
Last week, Goldman Sachs was on the congressional hot seat, grilled for fraud in its sale of complicated financial products called “synthetic CDOs.” This week the heat was off, as all eyes turned to the attack of the shorts on Greek sovereign debt and the dire threat of a sovereign Greek default. By Thursday, Goldman’s fraud had slipped from the headlines and Congress had been cowed into throwing in the towel on its campaign to break up the too-big-to-fail banks. On Friday, Goldman was in settlement talks with the SEC.
Goldman and Wall Street reign. Congress appears helpless to discipline the big banks, just as the European Central Bank appears helpless to prevent the collapse of the European Union. . . . Or are they?
Suspicious Market Maneuverings
The shorts circled like sharks in the Greek bond market, following a highly suspicious downgrade of Greek debt by Moody’s on Monday. Ratings by private ratings agencies, long suspected of being in the pocket of Wall Street, often seem to be timed to cause stocks or bonds to jump or tumble, causing extreme reactions in the market. The Greek downgrade was unexpected because the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund had just pledged 120 billion Euros to avoid a debt default in Greece. Strategically-timed ratings downgrades of this sort are so suspicious that Indian market regulator SEBI recently created a stir by asking the rating agencies operating in India for periodic reporting concerning their fees and rating norms.
By David DeGraw, AmpedStatus Report (ampedstatus.com) Not only did Goldman Sachs profit on betting against CDOs they designed to fail; more importantly, they insured them through AIG which led to a $182 billion taxpayer bailout. Have you heard the news? It’s everywhere! The SEC and Congress have all of a sudden sprung to life and [...]
By Ron Paul
Last week I had the opportunity to bring up spending and transparency in two important hearings. On Wednesday I questioned Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on some highly questionable uses of funds at the Federal Reserve, and on Thursday I asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about exorbitant spending at the State Department.
It is extremely important to continue bringing these issues up, especially in light of our difficult economic times, when so many are out of work, as I saw up close in my district at the Oceans of Opportunity Job Fair in Galveston two weeks ago. Those who are working live with the fear of losing their jobs as they struggle to pay bills. Meanwhile, Washington is talking of increasing their taxes, something voters were promised, clearly and adamantly, would not happen in this administration.
Government also struggles with money, but the struggle centers on how to get more of your money into government coffers. Rather than expanding the Federal budget in the face of economic downturn, we should be focusing on eliminating waste and being the very best stewards of public funds that we can possibly be. Most businesses have had to streamline and cut back in order to survive, and so it is only fair for our government to do the same.