At a time when our political and financial landscapes are littered with villains and those unwilling to take them on, it's refreshing to find someone in the halls of power that we can unabashedly celebrate.
Enter Sen. Ted Kaufman of Delaware. Kaufman, Joe Biden's longtime chief of staff who was appointed to serve out his old boss's term, was originally thought to be a Senate placeholder.
But, far from biding his time, Kaufman has emerged as one of the Senate's fiercest critics of Wall Street and a champion of the need to push for a serious rebooting of our financial system.
New Merrill Lynch Disclosure Shines A Perjurious Light On Ben Bernanke's Sworn Testimony; JP "Fed Lite" Morgan Also Dabbled In Repo 105-type ScamsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/18/2010 21:50 -0400
It seems it was just yesterday that Bernanke was on the edge of committing perjury and lying that the Federal Reserve of New York knew nothing about Lehman's "more peculiar" off balance sheet transactions. Oh wait, it was: as a reminder in his cross by Scott Garrett, the New Jersey representative asked whether the "Fed was aware of the Repo 105 and the accounting irregularities going on?"
Bernanke answers "No - they were hidden." Oops. Because a story just released by the Financial Times seems to indicate otherwise, and unless Merrill Lynch is lying out of their derriere, Mr. Bernanke should be immediately investigated for potential perjury before the American people. "Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Reserve officials were warned by [Merrill Lynch] that Lehman Brothers was incorrectly calculating a key measure of its financial health months before its collapse in 2008...In the account given by the Merrill officials, the SEC, the lead
regulator, and the New York Federal Reserve were given warnings about
Lehman’s balance sheet calculations as far back as March 2008." Amusingly, the sole purpose why Merrill would rat out Lehman is to make its own disastrous situation more agreeable, as often happens when the rats realize the sinking of the ship is inevitable. Well, unlike Merrill, whose liquidity situation was equally as disastrous on the weekend of September 14th, which found a pressed suitor in the form of BofA (and its Fed/Goldman-puppet CEO Ken Lewis), Lehman was not quite so lucky (one wonders why). Yet the bigger issue is why does the Fed keep on lying to the American public without any trace of consequence? When will someone finally wake up and sue the Federal Reserve (and we don't mean FOIA), or at least slap a racketeering lawsuit on "those people?" Oh yeah, the market is up, American Idol is on TV, G-Pap has done all that was needed to (not) be bailed out, so all shall be well. This is better known as "if the other Ponzi dude was thrown in jail, you must acquit" defense.
In the aftermath of the Zachery Kouwe plagiarism fiasco, the last thing Andrew Ross Sorkin's Dealbook needs is another scandal. Yet this is precisely what may come out of a recent column by the TBTF author, in which ARS insinuated that Lehman whistleblower Matthew Lee came forth with incriminating Repo 105 evidence only after he was made aware he was about to be "downsized." The Columbia Journalism Review's Ryan Chittum debunks this story, after pointing out some potentially gross misrepresentations in the Sorkin column, which go to directly to motive and to the integrity behind Lee's actions. "The Times’s DealBook editor Andrew Ross Sorkin, who wrote the column, quotes the sources saying the whistle blower came forward only after “it became clear” he was to be replaced in his job. We’ll get to that peculiar phrasing in a minute, but the main problem is the Times story gives no indication that Lee was called for comment. In fact, he wasn’t called, according to Lee’s lawyer, Erwin Shustak, whom I talked to yesterday. “I’ve never spoken to the man (Sorkin) in my life,” Shustak says. “Nobody’s spoken to Matthew.” That doesn’t meet a basic fairness test. As it happens, Shustak tells us that Lee had no idea his job was in danger." If indeed Sorkin misstated facts, a retraction is the only recourse as the potential for legal escalation on all sides of the story is huge. We are confident that while to Lehman managing directors $50 billion may have been a drop in the ocean, legal prosecution going after either ARS (or Lee) to reclaim it in part (or in whole) will surely make the Dealbook editor's head spin, even after accounting for Paulson and Geithner's 10,000 purchases of TBTF each (exaggeration ours... we hope).
Summarizing Today's Fed Chairman Q&A: Prepare To Vastly Exceed Your Recommended Daily Allowance Of Bernanke's PrevaricationsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/17/2010 23:47 -0400
We comb through today's key Q&A by Ron Paul, Brad Sherman, Spencer Bacchus and Scott Garrett to find all the relevant instances in which Ben Bernanke either a) pleads the fifth, b) provides reasons to doubt his sanity, c) confuses what monetary policy is all about (not to mention cause and effect), d) forces Zero Hedge to send an Econ 101 textbook to the Marriner Eccles building c/o Ben Shalom Bernanke, or, e) lies outright.
The Fed Is Responsible for the Crash in the Money Multiplier ... And the Failure of the Economy to RecoverSubmitted by George Washington on 03/16/2010 14:05 -0400
How do YOU spell deflation (followed by runaway inflation)?
I have warned my readers about following myths and legends versus reality and facts several times in the past, particularly as it applies to Goldman Sachs and what I have coined "Name Brand Investing". Very recent developments from Senator Kaufman of Delaware will be putting the spit-shined patina of Wall Street's most powerful bank to the test, as it appears he ain't playin'. Here's the speech from the esteemed Senator from Delaware (yes, the most corporate friendly state in this country), complete with an analysis that you will NEVER see in the mainstream media!!!
Guest Post: The CDOs That Destroyed AIG: The Big Short Doesn't Quite Reveal What They Knew And When They Knew ItSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/15/2010 23:35 -0400
It's been eighteen months since AIG collapsed, and Congress has yet to seriously focus on the most important questions: What did they know and when did they know it? "What" refers to the fatal flaws in the collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, that AIG insured. "They" are the bankers that structured and sold the CDOs, plus the AIG executives who took on the credit risk, plus the rating agencies that handed out AAA ratings. "When" harkens back to 2005 and 2006, when those toxic CDOs were first issued.
“The private equity industry always pitches how constructive it is as an investor force to create jobs and growth,” says Mr. des Pallières. “But there are private equity funds that get rich by breaking companies and making others poor — whether they are creditors, states or employees.”
Senator Kaufman Makes A Stand Against The Criminality Exposed By The Lehman Examiner Report, Questions The Core Principles Of US DemocracySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/15/2010 19:26 -0400
Only a few days have passed since its release, and already the Mainstream Media has forgotten all about the Lehman Examiner Report, with barely an occasional mention. As the CJR points out, this unquestionably massive story of corruption and vice, is being covered up by powered interests controlling all the major news outlets, because just like in the Galleon case, the stench goes not only to the top, (in this case the New York Fed and the SEC), but very likely to various corporations that have vested interests in the conglomerates controlling America's key media organizations. One person, however, who refuses to let it go, is Senator Ted Kaufman, whose determined support for an overhaul of market structure we have followed over the past year. The Senator now moves on to yet another pressing issue: the disclosures of unprecedented impropriety conducted by virtually every person of responsibility within the Lehman organization, as well as associated firms like Ernst & Young, and regulators who were asleep at the wheel during the moment of greatest stress for the American financial system. Kaufman calls for a "a thorough investigation, both civil and criminal, to identify every last person who had knowledge that Lehman was misleading the public about its troubled balance sheet – and that means everyone from the Lehman executives, to its board of directors, to its accounting firm, Ernst & Young. Moreover, if the foreign bank counterparties who purchased the now infamous "Repo 105s" were complicit in the scheme, they should be held accountable as well." Zero Hedge sides with Senator Kaufman in this new endeavor (we have yet to see even one other member of Congress or the Senate stand up and voice their opposition to Lehman's criminal conduct). As Kaufman wisely points out: "I’m concerned that the revelations about Lehman Brothers are just the tip of the iceberg. We have no reason to believe that the conduct detailed last week is somehow isolated or unique. Indeed, this sort of behavior is hardly novel." We look forward to obtaining even more raw data on improprieties conducted by other financial firms, and we hold our breath until we can finally get a glimpse at the heart of that most corrupt and secretive organization of all - the US Federal Reserve.
Sometimes I truly wonder if those who make broad proclamations of "the coast is clear", "everybody is safe", and "all is calm on the western (European) front" ever took the time to glean the facts and evidence before makings such a proclamation. Here is HARD evidence that easily shows that the Greek crisis is FAR from over. I welcome anyone and everyone to challenge the evidence and/or prove otherwise.
Ultimately the biggest loser from the whole Repo 105 scandal may not be the perpetrators, i.e., Fuld, the firm's numerous CFOs, Tim Geithner and Mary Schapiro, but the alleged "fact-checkers" - auditors Ernst & Young. Just like Enron's Star Wars-based off balance sheet accounting gimmicks brought down Arthur Anderson, so "Repo 105" may likely be responsible for the downfall of E&Y. Although while in Enron's case, it was just the accounting that brought the firm down, in Lehman's case the confluence of numerous factors will render each individual one relatively less critical, potentially to the point of irrelevance. And while book cooking was just as big of an issue for Lehman as it was for Enron, the fact that the bank did pretty much every other borderline illegal thing possible, will take away focus from just the Repo 105 fiasco, or just the liquidity misrepresentations, or just the commercial real estate book mismarking, and so forth. So to facilitate a decision on E&Y culpability, we present a candid look at Ernst & Young's Financial Services Office, the company's presentation on Paragraph 10 of IAS 39 overseeing Repo agreements, E&Ys analysis of FAS 140 "Accounting for Financial Transfers and Repurchase Financial Transactions", the Examiner's conclusions on the firm's breach of conduct, the firm's soon to be dwindling banking client base, and last, and most certainly least, a snapshot of E&Y's Lehman co-lead partner, Hillary Hansen, against whose negligent actions, as part of the Lehman E&Y practice, the Examiner concludes "that sufficient evidence exists to support a colorable claim for malpractice."
How Lehman, With The Fed's Complicity, Created Another Illegal Precedent In Abusing The Primary Dealer Credit FacilitySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/13/2010 15:44 -0400
Five months ago, Zero Hedge observed the nuances of the Federal Reserve's Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF) and concluded that this artificial liquidity boosting construct was nothing more than yet another scam to allow banks to extract ever more money from taxpayers, with the complicit blessing of the Federal Reserve Board Of New York (as the original piece also provided an in-depth discussion of the triparty repo market which is now a parallel to the buzzword of the day in the form of Lehman's "Repo 105" off balance sheet contraption, it should serve as a useful refresher course to anyone who wishes to understand why while Repo 105 with its $50 billion in liability contingency may have been an issue, the true Repo market, with over $3 trillion of likely just as toxic assets, is where the real pain in the future will come from). The PDCF would allow assets of declining and even inexistent value to be pledged as collateral, thus making sure that taxpayer cash was funneled into sham institutions holding predominantly toxic assets, and whose viability was and is limited, yet still is backed by the Fed, which to this day continues to pour our money into them. Today, with a tip from the NYT's Eric Dash, we demonstrate just how grossly negligent the Federal Reserve was when it came to Lehman's abuse of the PDCF, and how the trail of slime of Lehman's increasingly obvious manipulation of its books goes to the very top of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and its then governor - a very much complicit Tim Geithner.
Sprott's Last Decade Retrospective: It’s Déjà Voodoo Economics... All Over Again - This Weekend's Must ReadSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/13/2010 01:12 -0400
If you’re of a certain age, chances are you remember exactly where you were when JFK was assassinated. Similarly, if you’re from Canada or the United States and have an even remote interest in hockey, it’s highly likely that you remember exactly where you were when ‘Sid the Kid’ scored the winning overtime goal in the Olympic gold medal game. These were both "significant events", albeit for different reasons. We wonder, however, if any of you recall where you were on September 18th, 2008? Do you remember that day? We can’t seem to recall it either, which is strange, because it was one of the most important days of the decade. October 7, 2008 is another day that should stick out in our memories, but we’re sure you don’t remember that day either – and we’re in the same boat. How is it, then, that we can’t recall where we were or what we were doing on the two days the entire financial system almost collapsed?!? It boggles our mind. These dates should have been emphasized in every "review of the decade" written at the end of 2009, but we’ve been hard pressed to find them mentioned in any mainstream publication. This is troubling to us, and makes us wonder if people are even aware of the incredible events that took place on those fateful days only eighteen months ago. - Eric Sprott And David Franklin
We present two rather amusing research reports by then-Merrill Lynch Securities Broker/Dealer analyst Guy Moszkowski, discussing Lehman Brothers. Just because with financial analysts like this, who needs a shotgun Bank of America bail out. Oh yeah, Merrill. We also present a soundbite by Fox Pitt Kelton "analyst" David Trone, who, based on his extensive experience determines that David Einhorn, who nailed Lehman, is "looking at data from an inexperienced standpoint; investment banks are very complicated." Oh yes, David, they are indeed. In fact, please give us your mailing address, so we can dispatch this particular piece of literature you so richly deserve.
We have often noted our confusion at the seemingly impossible: a sellside analyst, coming to work each and every day, even though this process tends to be preceded by the monumentally difficult process of tying one's shoes. But don't take our word for it - the Valukas gift that keeps on giving, has summarized some of the more relevant analyst quotes disseminated by the sell-side to their clients, in the days and months before the firm filed for bankruptcy. (Stunningly, Dick Bove's Buy call on Lehman days before the firm blew up did not make the list). Instead of actually digging into the numbers, (hint - if Einhorn did it, it can be done] every single analyst was perfectly happy to accept the "reality" that was presented to them (with remarkably few exceptions) and spin it in to some sort of positive case, just so the firm's sales and trading operation could milk a few extra dollars in commissions from LEH shares. Let's dig in: