• Pivotfarm
    04/20/2014 - 17:08
    As the audience went from laughter to applause, Vladimir Putin responded to the question that he had just read out on a televised debate in Russia. What was the question?

Neil Barofsky

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Guest Post: Too Big To Jail Is Here To Stay





Lanny Breuer, the Assistant Attorney General who claimed that prosecuting banks for crimes poses a risk to the financial sector and so corrupt bankers are “too big to jail” has lost his job. But the man who put him there, and who is ultimately responsible for the policy — the Attorney General himself — is here to stay. Fundamentally, Obama’s continued support for Holder illustrates that Obama is still committed to the policy of holding financiers to a lesser standard of justice than other citizens. The big banks continue to ride roughshod over the American people with the complicity of the political class.

 


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2012 Year In Review - Free Markets, Rule of Law, And Other Urban Legends





Presenting Dave Collum's now ubiquitous and all-encompassing annual review of markets and much, much more. From Baptists, Bankers, and Bootleggers to Capitalism, Corporate Debt, Government Corruption, and the Constitution, Dave provides a one-stop-shop summary of everything relevant this year (and how it will affect next year and beyond).

 


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Guest Post: Welcome To The Nuthouse: How Private Financial Fiat Creates A Public Farce





Farce #1: “Market value” and “free markets” have become a joke.

Farce #2: Private, self-assigned, fake value is being traded for public money at 100 cents on the dollar.

Farce #3: Printed money is backed by nothing.

Farce #4: We have a “free” enterprise system dominated by monopolies that force people to buy inferior goods and services at exorbitant rates.

Farce #5: High-level financial crimes, no matter how egregious or widespread, are not being prosecuted.

Farce #6: Risk is gone. Now there is only liability borne by citizens.

Farce #7: Productivity has been supplanted by parasitism.

 


Tyler Durden's picture

Guest Post: Is Democracy Possible In A Corrupt Society?





If the citizenry cannot dislodge a parasitic, predatory financial Aristocracy via elections, then "democracy" is merely a public-relations facade, a simulacra designed to create the illusion that the citizenry "have a voice" when in fact they are debt-serfs in a neofeudal State. When the Status Quo remains the same no matter who gets elected, democracy is a shamThe U.S. Status Quo is also like an iceberg: the visible 10% is what we're reassured "we" control, but the 90% that is completely out of our control is what matters. There is another dynamic in a facsimile democracy: the Tyranny of the Majority. When the Central State issues enough promises to enough people, the majority concludes that supporting the Status Quo, no matter how corrupt, venal, parasitic, unsustainable and dysfunctional it might be, is in their personal interests. In this facsimile democracy, citizenship has devolved to advocacy for a larger share of Federal government swag. Is Democracy Possible in a Corrupt Society? No, it is not. Our democracy is a PR sham.

 


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Barofsky On Geithner: "We Should See People In Handcuffs"





There is no point in recapping the ongoing vendetta between former SIGTARP Neil Barofsky and former head of the NY Fed, and current Treasury secretary and resident TurboTax expert Tim Geithner. One need but follow the former on Twitter for a quick and concise sampling of the sentiments harbored vis-a-vis the latter. However, in the following interview Barfosky does touch on some points which in the context of the recent Liborgate, should be brought front and center, especially since the increasingly apathetic US audience seems to not care about one bit (as opposed to their distant cousins across the Atlantic for whom Lieborgate has become a daily distraction). Namely, what Barofsky says is that Geithner and other regulators who allowed Lieborgate to proceed should not only lose their job but we should "see [Geithner] in handcuffs."  Sadly that will never happen as it would actually be a deterrent to future crime among the highest echelons of America: something which is just not allowed to happen in a system whose very survival is increasingly reliant on rampant criminality.

 


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Guest Post: Who Is Really Paying The $25 Billion TBTF Mortgage Settlement





The surprising tale that I will attempt to pen in this blog entry has a very familiar cast of characters; the Obama Administration, the Housing Bubble, "Toxic Mortgages", and Too Big To Fail "TBTF" Banks among others. While the headline of TBTF banks in a $25bil mortgage settlement is known to many, the underlying details of the settlement are less known and quite appalling when you pull back the covers. The wounds on past and present homeowners are still fresh from the housing crisis. As Jonathan Laing points out in this weekend's Barron's cover story, "five million of the country's 76million mortgage holders have lost their homes to foreclosure or lender ordered short sales since 2006, and an estimated 14million more own more on their homes than their properties are currently worth. In all, some $7.4 trillion in homeowners' equity has been destroyed according to Mark Zandi..."

 


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The Farce-Hole Gets Deeper: Obama's "Robo-Settlement For Votes" Cost To Taxpayers: $40 Billion





Plunging deeper into the farce-hole, the FT reports tonight that Obama's foreclosure settlement with the banks over their improper seizure of tax-paying US citizens' homes will in fact be subsidized by those very same US taxpayers. It is a hidden clause (that has not been made public yet) that allows the banks to count future loan modifications under the $30bn (taxpayer funded) HAMP initiative towards their $35bn agreement to restructure obligations under the new settlement. As the FT goes on to note, BofA will be able to use future mods made under HAMP towards the $7.6bn in borrower assistance it is committed to provide - which means, in a (as TARP inspector general Neil Barofsky describes) 'scandalous' turn of events the bank will receive payments for averting a borrower default and be reimbursed by the taxpayer for the principal write-down. We have much stronger words for how we are feeling about this but Barofsky sums it up calmly "It turns the notion that this is about justice and accountability on its head". Are the Big Five banks truly beyond the law?

 


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Elijah Cummings Asks Darrell Issa Why It Is Taking So Long To Subpoena The Big Banks On Fraudclosure





Describing new evidence of illegal foreclosures, inflated fees, and other widespread abuses, Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings wrote to Chairman Darrell Issa today to request that the Committee issue subpoenas to require mortgage servicing companies to produce previously-requested documents. “You have not hesitated—in other investigations—to issue subpoenas in a matter of days when your deadlines were missed, so it is unclear why a different standard applies to this investigation,” Cummings wrote.  “This same sense of urgency should apply even when the targets of the Committee’s investigation are banks.” On February 10, 2011, the Committee voted unanimously to investigate “the foreclosure crisis including wrongful foreclosures and other abuses by mortgage servicing companies.” “If mortgage servicing companies are allowed to disregard requests for documents that are integral to this investigation, the Committee’s integrity will be called into question and, more importantly, abuses may continue,” Cummings wrote. Today’s letter from Cummings marks the fourth in a series of letters he has sent to Issa over the past six months urging the Committee to take action on wrongful foreclosures and other egregious abuses by mortgage servicing companies. On May 24, Cummings sent a letter to Issa requesting that the Committee issue subpoenas to six mortgage servicing companies that have refused to provide documents relating to foreclosure abuses. “The best long-term solution that our Committee can offer in response to illegal acts committed by mortgage servicing companies is vigorous investigation, oversight, and reform,” Cummings added.  “Inaction will tacitly reward abuse and signal tolerance for major corporate wrongdoing.” So... what's wrong with that exactly?

 


ilene's picture

Working It Wednesday - PUMP IT UP!





Neil Barofsky is resigning in style today with a scathing editorial in the NYTimes (when WILL Murdoch shut those radicals down?) in which he calls the program a FAILURE and "little more than a giveaway to Wall Street executives."

 


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Global Market Commentary From Russ Certo





With regards to U.S. monetary policy we live in a world of opposites. Less is more and more is less. The long end of the Treasury market would like to see “Biofuel” Ben, nickname for his liquidity provisioning impacts on commodity markets worldwide, actually be a protector of price to ensure that the paltry and rudimentary semi-annual fixed income coupon payments that one receives for 30 years can purchase the same amount of cotton, sugar, gold, wheat, corn, or S&Ps without being diluted. What Ben didn’t say sent the U.S. dollar index near record lows, something inconceivable given the traditional safe haven status of the reserve currency during times of global uncertainty like oil shocks and new world order. The Euro, of all things, seemed to be the beneficiary of flows, breaching a new recent high of $1.40. They have a banker that may at least be contemplating tighter policy. And that is why the long Treasuries couldn’t maintain a bid for most of the week. Less vigilance by the Chairman is more inflation and less of that insurance policy for those fixed cash flows. In a climate such as this where the Chairman doesn’t appear to be steadfast in following his mandate of promoting stable prices, the bond vigilantes and Treasury dealers are likely to make sure they get compensated for the risk of underwriting record supply of Treasury issuance like this week’s refunding.

 


Tyler Durden's picture

Neil Barofsky To Step Down As Head Of SIGTARP





And so, the departures will continue (following Warsh and Weber) until all dissent is eliminated. More if we get it, but it really doesn't matter. The greatest unsupervised ponzi wealth transfer has just been greenlighted.

 


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