en "Holy Grail" HFT Firm Virtu Questioned By NY AG <p>Having the <a href="">trade record of Bernie Madoff and the braggadocio of a WWF wrestler</a> was just too much for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to ignore. <strong>Rigged Market HFT Poster-child, and recent-delayed IPO, Virtu Financial has received a letter of inquiry from the AG&#39;s office</strong> requesting information about its business. <a href="">As Bloomberg reports</a>, a person with knowledge of the matter said this week that six high-frequency trading firms have received subpoenas as part of Schneiderman&rsquo;s investigation and <strong>Virtu was asked for similar information in a letter of inquiry which could be escalated to a subpoena if the company doesn&rsquo;t comply voluntarily</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><em>As Bloomberg reports,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Virtu Financial Inc., the high-frequency trader trying to sell shares in an initial public offering, has grabbed the attention of New York&rsquo;s attorney general as he investigates the industry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The New York-based trading firm has received a letter of inquiry from Eric Schneiderman&rsquo;s office requesting information about its business</strong>, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked to not be identified because the process hasn&rsquo;t been made public.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The request comes as Virtu attempts to go public, a process delayed after the March 31 publication of Michael Lewis&rsquo;s latest book sparked unprecedented scrutiny of high-frequency traders. Schneiderman announced last month that he&rsquo;s investigating services and technologies used by high-frequency traders, including faster data feeds that may give certain firms a split-second edge over others. <strong>The Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun its own industry examination.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A person with knowledge of the matter said this week that six high-frequency trading firms have received subpoenas </strong>as part of Schneiderman&rsquo;s investigation, including Jump Trading LLC, Chopper Trading LLC and Tower Research Capital LLC. <u><strong>Virtu was asked for similar information in a letter of inquiry, according to the person with knowledge of the matter. This could be escalated to a subpoena if the company doesn&rsquo;t comply voluntarily.</strong></u></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Following a decision two weeks ago to postpone the IPO, Virtu has now delayed the deal indefinitely because of market conditions</strong>, a person familiar with the matter said yesterday. The IPO filing hasn&rsquo;t been withdrawn, the person said. Shares of Virtu&rsquo;s rival KCG Holdings have tumbled 13 percent since the Lewis book, &ldquo;Flash Boys,&rdquo; was published.</p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>What gave it away?</strong></u></p> <p>From the S-1: &quot;The chart below illustrates our daily Adjusted Net Trading Income from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2013. As a result of our real-time risk management strategy and technology, we had only one losing trading day during the period depicted, a total of 1,238 trading days. &quot;</p> <p><a href="" style="outline: 0px none; text-decoration: none;"><img height="405" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>Let that sink in: one trading loss day and 1237 days of profits. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Holy Grail of the New Normal broken, manipulated markets.</p> HFT Market Conditions Michael Lewis New Normal Risk Management Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:08:15 +0000 Tyler Durden 487464 at Consumer Confidence Collapses In Japan <p><em>Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum of <a href="">Acting-Man blog</a>,</em></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">As a little addendum to our recent <a href="">ritual lambasting of Abenomics</a>, here are the&nbsp; <a href="">latest news on Japan&#39;s consumer confidence</a> &ndash; the reading, mind, is from March &ndash; before the introduction of the higher sales tax:</span></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;"><strong><em>&ldquo;Japan&rsquo;s&nbsp;consumer confidence&nbsp;fell in March to the lowest level since August 2011, a reading that may tumble further this month after a sales-tax increase on April 1 sapped the public&rsquo;s spending power.</em></strong></span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 303px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">The reading of 37.5, down from 38.5 in February, was released by the Cabinet Office in&nbsp;Tokyo&nbsp;today. About 90 percent of respondents to the survey expect prices to rise over the next 12 months, the highest in comparable data back to 2004.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">Prime Minister Shinzo Abe risks the public souring on his campaign to sustain growth in the world&rsquo;s third-biggest economy as prices start to rise while wages stay stagnant. Weaker sentiment could make it harder to drive a rebound from a contraction forecast this quarter, and raise the odds that the&nbsp;Bank of Japan&nbsp;adds to its already unprecedented easing.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;"><strong><em>&ldquo;Consumer sentiment has been undermined to a large extent by rising prices,&rdquo; Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists Naohiko Baba and Yuriko Tanaka wrote in an e-mailed note before the release. &ldquo;We expect a major retreat in sentiment from April as the tax hike drives inflation.&rdquo;</em></strong></span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">The confidence reading was 39.9 when Abe took office in December 2012, and rose to 45.7 in May last year &mdash; the highest point during his current term as prime minister. The&nbsp;Topix&nbsp;index of stocks is down more than 10 percent this year after soaring 51 percent in 2013.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;"><strong><em>Confidence dropped in all five components in the survey, with willingness to buy durable goods dropping the most, down by 2 to 30.8.&rdquo;</em></strong></span></span></p> </blockquote> <p><em><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">(emphasis added)</span></span></em></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">In light of yet more damning evidence of failure coming to light, we are moved to make a prediction about the near term future of Abenomics.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">It isn&#39;t going to be abandoned just because it is failing. Instead, we are hereby confidently predicting a &#39;flight forward&#39;. Instead of relieving the increasingly sapped and demoralized Japanese consumer from the scourge of rising prices, the pump priming effort<em> will be increased even further</em>. Fresh inflationary measures may well be announced at the next BoJ meeting already.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">Anyone want to bet?</span></span></p> Bank of Japan Consumer Confidence Consumer Sentiment Goldman Sachs goldman sachs Japan Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:19:11 +0000 Tyler Durden 487463 at Ukraine Tanks Stopped By Unarmed Woman <p>There days ago it was the male "separatists" <a href="">that stopped Ukraine tanks</a> armed with just their bodies. Yesterday, in the seceding Ukraine town of Kramatorsk, it is a woman's turn.</p> <p><object width="601" height="338" data="//;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="//;hl=en_US" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /></object></p> Ukraine Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:43:38 +0000 Tyler Durden 487462 at Obama Administration Encouraged Insider Trading <p>Back in 2011, many people were outraged when it was revealed that two months before the US Treasury pushed the insolvent GSEs into bankruptcy, then Treasury Secretary, Goldman alum Hank Paulson <a href="">held a secret meeting with various hedge funds </a>(most of them headed by Goldman alumni themselves) in which he gave them advance warning about the imminent bankruptcy, and allowing them to trade appropriately on material, and certainly non-public information. </p> <p>Since then the general population has gotten far more used to encouraged criminal activity and facilitated insider trading by the government so comparable revelations no longer generate the expected loathing and disgusts, which is perhaps why over the past week the Obama administration once again leaked material information, in effect allowing and encouraging frontrunning of public data, when it told "asset managers last week that it was planning additional sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine."</p> <p><a href="">Bloomberg reports </a>that the meeting, convened a week before talks with Russia in Geneva that ended yesterday, left managers grappling with the question of whether the government intended to follow through, or was trying to trigger asset sales through the threat of sanctions, said the person. Former administration officials have said forcing Russia out of global financial markets is the strongest tool President Barack Obama has at his disposal in trying to defuse the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Officials from the Treasury Department and the National Security Council met in Washington with mutual-fund and hedge-fund managers, according to a person who attended. Their comments sent a message that more sanctions are on the way and that investors, if they were concerned about the impact, should manage that risk, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions weren’t public.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The meeting in Washington last week included several mutual-fund companies with large bond units, according to the person. Separately, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been asking U.S. asset managers about their investments in Russian securities, said the person.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The National Security Council is the president’s main forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters.</p> </blockquote> <p>At least while Obama was happy leaking clearly material information to a select few, he didn't force them to sell Russian assets. At least not yet:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>An administration official, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said there have been no specific requests made to investors not to invest in Russia. The official said the Department of Commerce and the Treasury do have conversations with the business community to explain what they’re doing, such as briefing executives after a sanctions announcement. The official said the government maintains open lines of communication so businesses understand what policy makers are doinga.</p> </blockquote> <p>No, the perfectly public trading "reco" was left to Obama spokesman Jay Carney. We all <a href="">know what happened after</a>.</p> <p><em><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="319" /></a></em></p> <p>As for those who participated, their actions indicate quite clearly that when it comes to securities laws, there are "laws", or rather loopholes, for the chosen ones, and then there are <em><strong>laws </strong></em>for everyone else.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>One bond manager at a large U.S. mutual-fund company, who also asked not to be named citing company policy, said the firm has been working to sell Russian debt and wasn’t inclined to return to the market in the near future. The person, who hadn’t heard of any government attempts to influence money managers, said the company perceives risk in Russia as having increased significantly.</p> </blockquote> <p>So just in case those lovely anchors with ultra white tooth veneers of financial comedy TV are still confused why the general public has completely given up on the stock, and every other "market", it is not only the HFT parasites, it is not only the Fed's gross manipulation of every asset class known to man and economist. It is the fact that insider trading is not only condoned but encouraged from the very top, and what's worse - it benefits <em><strong>only those </strong></em>who no longer have to worry about money ever again. </p> Barack Obama Bond Department Of Commerce Hank Paulson Hank Paulson HFT Insider Trading national security Obama Administration Securities and Exchange Commission Treasury Department Ukraine Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:58:30 +0000 Tyler Durden 487461 at Ukraine "De-escalation" Voided As Pro-Russia Militia Refuse To Vacate Occupied Buildings <p>If yesterday <a href="">we had questions </a>about the half life of the effectiveness of the latest diplomatic de-escalation of Ukraine tensions 'achieved' in Geneva, following news that both Ukraine would continue its anti-terrorist operation and that fighting had broken out in various east Ukraine locations after the agreement, today any questions have been swept aside following news that the Ukraine "separatist" milita, who after all is the primary object of Ukraine "anti-terrorist activities", has announced that they will only leave the occupied east Ukraine buildings if the interim government in Kiev resigns. Denis Pushilin, a spokesman of the self-appointed Donetsk People's Republic, <strong>told reporters that the insurgents do not recognize the Ukrainian government as legitimate</strong>.</p> <p>Indeed, in an amusing twist, the militia has flipped the Geneva agreement on its head, alleging that if they are to abide by a signed document, so should the "illegitimate" government, which as a reminder took power following a US-assisted coup, even though an <a href="">explicit agreement was signed on February 21 </a>between Ukraine and western powers previously retaining Yanukovich as president of the country, and ushering in presidential elections later in 2014. Needless to say, that agreement was made null and void within hours of signing. It is only logical, and perfectly expected, that so should this one.</p> <p>"<strong>This is a reasonable agreement but everyone should vacate the buildings and that includes Yatsenyuk and Turchynov</strong>," he said referring to the acting Ukrainian prime minister and president.</p> <p>More <a href="">from AP</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Ukraine and Russia on Thursday agreed to take tentative steps toward calming tensions along their shared border after more than a month of bloodshed. But Pushilin, speaking at the insurgent-occupied regional administration's building in Donetsk, said the deal specifies that all illegally seized buildings should be vacated and in his opinion the government in Kiev is also occupying public buildings illegally.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The deal calls for disarming all paramilitary groups and the immediate return of all government buildings seized by pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine as well as pro-West right-wing protesters in Kiev. But none of the government buildings seized across eastern Ukraine has yet been vacated, according to local media.</p> </blockquote> <p>Needless to say, neither the Ukrainian government nor as the Right Sector movement, whose activists are occupying Kiev's city hall and a cultural center in the capital, have commented on the call for buildings in Kiev to be vacated. One can assume they will hardly comply.</p> <p>So what is the militia's demand? </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Pushilin on Friday reiterated the insurgents' call for a referendum that he said will allow "self-determination of the people."</p> </blockquote> <p>Or precisely what Russia wanted all along: a Crimea-style endgame, where the people are '<em>given the right'</em> to determine their own future, as long as that future means becoming part of Russia in the coming weeks or months.</p> <p>Finally, for those who enjoy updates from the ground, here is a BBC producer on location:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>America kills south east! Slogan outside <a href=";src=hash">#donetsk</a> republic HQ on east <a href=";src=hash">#ukraine</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href=";src=hash">#Donetsk</a> republic HQ: slogans: no to fascism, no to EU, no to US. <a href=";src=hash">#Ukraine</a> east <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Molotov cocktails and bricks on the ready at <a href=";src=hash">#Donetsk</a> republic HQ, East <a href=";src=hash">#Ukraine</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Glory to Berkut! (Special forces used against <a href=";src=hash">#Maidan</a>) slogan on <a href=";src=hash">#donetsk</a> republic HQ east <a href=";src=hash">#Ukraine</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Inside <a href=";src=hash">#donetsk</a> republic HQ: ready to resist the storming of the building. east <a href=";src=hash">#ukraine</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>'I get 1000 Hr per month as my pension. I cannot pay the bills. Putin, please save us!' <a href=";src=hash">#Donetsk</a> republic female volunteer is crying</p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>'<a href=";src=hash">#Kiev</a> junta want power. That's why they want early election" <a href=";src=hash">#donetsk</a> republic activist in east <a href=";src=hash">#Ukraine</a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href=";src=hash">#Donetsk</a> republic presser: "We do not trust Kiev. Remember 21 Feb? An agreement was signed with <a href=";src=hash">#Yanukovich</a> but not honored"</p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href=";src=hash">#donetsk</a> republic presser: "we will not vacate the building. We are getting calls from towns and villages who are joining the republic."</p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href=";src=hash">#Donetsk</a> republic presser: "thinking about a confederation with <a href=";src=hash">#Kharkiv</a> and Lugansk regions" in east <a href=";src=hash">#ukraine</a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href=";src=hash">#Donetsk</a> republic presser: "we are the <a href=";src=hash">#Russian</a> bear which is waking up. We've been patiently waiting for the past 24 years" east <a href=";src=hash">#Ukraine</a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script> Activist Shareholder None Twitter Twitter Ukraine Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:58:30 +0000 Tyler Durden 487460 at BP Manager In Charge of Cleaning Up the Gulf Oil Spill Dumped BP Stock Before the Severity of Spill Was Discovered <p>The Securities and Exchange Commission <a href="" target="_blank" title="announced">announced</a> today:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former 20-year employee of BP p.l.c. and a senior responder during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill with insider trading in BP securities based on confidential information about the magnitude of the disaster.&nbsp; The price of BP securities fell significantly after the April 20, 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and the subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, resulted in an extensive clean-up effort.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the SEC&rsquo;s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, <strong>BP tasked Keith A. Seilhan with coordinating BP&rsquo;s oil collection and clean-up operations in the Gulf of Mexico and along the coast</strong>.&nbsp; Seilhan, an experienced crisis manager, <strong>directed BP&rsquo;s oil skimming operations and its efforts to contain the expansion of the oil spill</strong>.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The complaint alleges that within days, Seilhan received nonpublic information on the extent of the evolving disaster, including <strong>oil flow estimates and data on the volume of oil floating on the surface of the Gulf</strong>.</p> <p>&ldquo;<strong>Seilhan sold his family&rsquo;s BP securities after he received confidential information about the severity of the spill that the public didn&rsquo;t know</strong>,&rdquo; said Daniel M. Hawke, chief of the Division of Enforcement&rsquo;s Market Abuse Unit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>***</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The complaint alleges that by April 29, 2010, in filings to the SEC, BP estimated that the flow rate of the spill was up to 5,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).&nbsp; The <strong>company&rsquo;s public estimate was significantly less than the actual flow rate</strong>, which was estimated later to be between 52,700 and 62,200 bopd.&nbsp; The information that Seilhan obtained indicated that the magnitude of the oil spill and thus, BP&rsquo;s potential liability and financial exposure, was likely to be greater than had been publicly disclosed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the complaint, while in possession of this material, nonpublic information, and in breach of duties owed to BP and its shareholders, Seilhan directed the <strong>sale of his family&rsquo;s entire $1 million portfolio of BP securities</strong> over the course of two days in late April 2010.&nbsp; The trades allowed Seilhan to avoid losses and reap unjust profits &hellip;.</p> </blockquote> <p>Interestingly, the <em>head</em> of BP - Tony Hayward - sold 1.4 million pounds worth of BP shares a <a data-mce-="" href="">few weeks before</a> the start of the Gulf oil spill.&nbsp; While - at first glance - this sound like it could not <em>possibly</em> have been connected to the Gulf spill, BP actually had <em>major</em> problems with the Gulf well <a data-mce-="" href=""><strong><em>months</em></strong> before the spill</a>. In other words, the spill hadn&#39;t yet happened ... but it should have been obvious to knowledgeable insiders that the well was <a data-mce-="" href="">highly dangerous and unstable</a>.</p> <p>Sadly, Mr. Seilhan, Mr. Hayward and the rest of the BP team made normal oil-skimming procedures <em>impossible</em> because they sunk the oil with Corexit dispersant &hellip; so the oil <a href="" title="skimmers couldn’t get to it">skimmers <em>couldn&rsquo;t get to it</em></a>.</p> <p>And it is beyond doubt that <a href="" title="BP">BP</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" title="the government">the government</a> blatantly <a href="" title="low-balling">low-balled</a> the amount of oil spilled.</p> <p>Indeed, most people still don&rsquo;t understand that &ndash; while the well was &ldquo;capped&rdquo; in 2010 &ndash; top experts say that the oil spill could have <a href="" title="increased&amp;nbsp; the amount of oil flowing form natural seeps">increased&nbsp; the amount of oil flowing form natural seeps</a> in the area &hellip; so that more oil continues to leak into the Gulf for <em>years</em>.&nbsp;&nbsp; Indeed,&nbsp; <a href="" title="large">large</a> oil <a href="" title="slicks">slicks</a> have flowed for <em>years</em> <a href="" title="after">after</a> the BP well was capped (and BP&rsquo;s explanations for this phenomenon <a href="" title="don’t hold up to scrutiny">don&rsquo;t hold up to scrutiny</a>.)</p> <p>Postscript:&nbsp; Some BP personnel were <a href="" title="criminally indicted for manslaughter and lying to federal investigators">criminally indicted for manslaughter and lying to federal investigators</a>.</p> <p>But the U.S. has <a href="" target="_blank" title="let BP back into the Gulf">let BP back into the Gulf</a>.&nbsp; And BP is going to drill <a href="" target="_blank" title="even deeper">even deeper</a> &hellip; with an even <em>greater</em> potential for disaster (and see&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="this">this</a>).</p> Insider Trading Mexico Securities and Exchange Commission Fri, 18 Apr 2014 05:48:48 +0000 George Washington 487459 at PaGiNG DR KRuGMaN... <p><iframe src="" height="1024" width="714" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>Paul dabbled in the occult<br /> The spirit of Keynes he'd consult<br /> He was told in a trance<br /> To help debt advance<br /> With a system collapse the result<br /> The Limerick King</p> Krugman Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:43:37 +0000 williambanzai7 487458 at "Hillary For President" Fundraiser Busted For Illegal Campaign Contributions <p>If you listen carefully, you can hear the stampede of politicians distancing themselves from their once best-friend - Hotel magnate Sant Singh Chatwal - as <a href="">AP reports</a>, he plead guilty Thursday to charges he <strong>secretly funneled more than $180,000 in illegal campaign contributions to three unnamed candidates</strong> and coached someone to lie about it. Without the contributions "nobody will even talk to you," Chatwal said. "That's the <strong>only way to buy them, get into the system</strong>." <em>Welcome to the ugly truth of American politik.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="344" height="329" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">The FT details</a> that Sant Singh Chatwal, chairman of Hampshire Hotels Management, pleaded guilty on Thursday to making more than $180,000 in illegal federal campaign donations to three candidates through “straw donors” who were reimbursed, the DoJ said in a statement.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>He raised at least $100,000 for Hillary Clinton in her 2008 presidential campaign</strong> against Barack Obama. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The justice department <strong>did not comment on whether Mrs Clinton was one of the three candidates</strong>, but it said there was no allegation that candidates took part in or were aware of Mr Chatwal’s scheme.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chatwal was <strong>skirting legal limits on contributions</strong> to an individual candidate’s campaign of $2,300 in 2008 and $2,400 in 2010.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="">As AP explains</a> the fraud was extensive...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Court papers allege that between 2007 and 2011, Chatwal used his employees, business associates and contractors who worked on his hotels to collect contributions from straw donors</strong> in Queens, Long Island and elsewhere. <strong>He then arranged to pay the donors back, a violation of the election laws</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As part the scheme, an unnamed business associate submitted a bill to Chatwal for $104,745 in 2011 for purported work done for one of Chatwal's companies. Prosecutors allege that $69,000 of the total actually was reimbursement for money the associate had raised via straw donors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a conversation recorded in 2012, <strong>Chatwal instructed the associate that if he were asked if Chatwal gave him the money back, he should respond, "Never."</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chatwal <strong>directly backed several Democratic candidates with his own money</strong> — at least $31,200 since 2004, according to Federal Election Commission records.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among them were New York Reps. Joe Crowley and Gary Ackerman, along with California Rep. Howard Berman and Florida Rep. Robert Wexler. He also gave money to Montana Sen. Jon Tester, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner.</p> </blockquote> <p>And leaves the ugly truth of American politics behind...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>An informant caught Sant Singh Chatwal on tape in 2010 explaining that he believed his illegal fundraising bought him access to people in power.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Without the contributions "nobody will even talk to you," Chatwal said. "That's the only way to buy them, get into the system."</strong></span></p> </blockquote> Barack Obama Chris Dodd Florida Fri, 18 Apr 2014 01:45:49 +0000 Tyler Durden 487457 at Putin's Top 10 Q&A Quotes: "The US Will Cut Off Their Nose To Spite Their Face" <p><em>Originally posted at <a href=";a-ukraine-crimea-220/">Russia Today</a>,</em></p> <p>Ukraine&rsquo;s crisis was, predictably, at the center of Vladimir Putin&rsquo;s annual televised interview. He said the situation can only be solved through a compromise between internal players. Below are the president&rsquo;s ten most significant quotes.</p> <h2>&ldquo;[Yanukovich] didn&rsquo;t have the heart to sign an act that would see force used against his citizens&rdquo;</h2> <p>Answering a question from an ex-Berkut - Ukrainian special forces - commander as to whether the ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has always been such a <em>&ldquo;weakling and traitor,&rdquo;</em> Putin said that Yanukovich did his duty as he thought was right, proper and necessary.</p> <p><em>&ldquo;I spoke with him, certainly, many times, during the crisis, and after he arrived in the Russian Federation; we talked about using force&hellip; The gist of his answer was that he thought about using force many times, but he didn&rsquo;t have the heart to sign an act that would see force used against his citizens,&rdquo;</em> Putin said.</p> <h2>&ldquo;Faina Ivanovna, dear, what would you need Alaska for?&rdquo;</h2> <p>Asked by a pensioner if Alaska could follow Crimea&rsquo;s example, Putin said <em>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re a northern country. 70 percent of our territory is in the North or Far North. Is Alaska in the southern hemisphere? It&rsquo;s cold there as well. Let&rsquo;s keep cool about it,&rdquo;</em> Putin said.</p> <p>According to Putin, he is also aware of the fact that some Russians call Alaska &ldquo;Ice-Krym&rdquo; (&ldquo;Krym&rdquo; is the Russian for Crimea).</p> <h2>&ldquo;Tanks, jets against own people?! Are they nuts?&rdquo;</h2> <p>The Russian President said he thought that asking activists in the southeast of Ukraine to hand in their weapons was the right approach, but this measure should also be applied to armed Ukrainian nationalist groups.</p> <p>Putin also said that the crisis in Ukraine can only be solved through a compromise in the interests of the Ukrainian people.</p> <p><em>&ldquo;The coup-appointed government in Kiev needs to come to its senses before we can negotiate,&rdquo;</em> said Putin.</p> <p><img src="" /></p> <h2>&ldquo;They don&rsquo;t want to see us in PACE? Better lost than found!&rdquo;</h2> <p>Russia won&rsquo;t insist on staying in several international organizations, but isn&rsquo;t planning to walk out in protest, Putin said.</p> <p><em>&ldquo;The world is developing intensively, and if there a player who wants to turn it unipolar and align all organizations according to their will, it won&rsquo;t succeed,&rdquo;</em> the president added.</p> <h2>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s hard to speak with people who whisper at home, afraid of US surveillance.&rdquo;</h2> <p>Putin noted that there are some problems in the dialogue between Moscow and its European partners.</p> <p><em>&ldquo;Many Western countries have voluntarily relinquished a large part of their sovereignty. That is, among other things, the result of bloc policy. It&rsquo;s sometimes really difficult to negotiate with them on geopolitical issues,&rdquo;</em> he said.</p> <p><em>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s difficult to talk to people who whisper even at home, afraid of Americans eavesdropping on them. It&rsquo;s not a figure of speech, not a joke, I&rsquo;m serious.&rdquo;</em></p> <h2>&ldquo;Obama is a decent, courageous man, he would save me from drowning&rdquo;</h2> <p>To the question whether Obama would save the Russian President from drowning, Putin answered that the US president is <em>&ldquo;a decent, courageous man&rdquo;</em> and <em>&ldquo;would save&rdquo;</em> him.</p> <p>However, Putin stressed that the relationship between them wasn&rsquo;t a close one.</p> <p><em>&ldquo;In addition to intergovernmental relations, there are personal relations, but I don&rsquo;t think I have a close personal relationship with Obama,&rdquo;</em> the president said.</p> <h2>&ldquo;You&rsquo;re an ex-intelligence agent, I have something to do with intelligence, let&rsquo;s use professional terms&rdquo; &ndash; Putin to Snowden</h2> <p>Russia&rsquo;s president received a question from Edward Snowden who was granted political asylum last August. Snowden asked Putin if Russia is involved in <em>&ldquo;intercepting, storing and analyzing the data on communication carried out by millions of people&rdquo;</em> and whether Russia&rsquo;s president thinks this kind of mass control is fair and justified.</p> <p><img src="" /></p> <p>Putin stressed Snowden was an ex-intelligence agent, while he himself used to be in intelligence, so Russia&rsquo;s president said he would be speaking <em>&ldquo;using professional terms.&rdquo;</em></p> <p><em>&ldquo;First of all, we have strict laws governing the usage of any special means &ndash; including ones to monitor telephone conversations or the internet - by intelligence. This regulation makes it necessary to get a court order to surveil an individual. That&rsquo;s why we can&rsquo;t carry out mass surveillance, and we don&rsquo;t, in accordance with our law,&rdquo;</em> Putin said.</p> <h2>&ldquo;No plans to remain President for life&rdquo;</h2> <p>Putin, who served as president for two consecutive terms between 2000 and 2008 and was elected again in 2012, was asked if he wanted to remain Russia&rsquo;s head of state for life.</p> <p><em>&ldquo;No,&rdquo;</em> was his answer.</p> <p><img src="" /></p> <h2>&ldquo;Russia didn&rsquo;t annex Crimea by force, but created conditions for people&rsquo;s self-determination&rdquo;</h2> <p><em>&ldquo;Russia did not annex Crimea by force. Russia created conditions &ndash; indeed, with the help of special formations and the armed forces, I&rsquo;ll be honest &ndash; for the free expression of will by people living in Crimea and Sevastopol,&rdquo;</em> Putin said.</p> <p><em>&ldquo;The decision on joining [Russia] was made by the people themselves. Russia responded to that appeal and accepted Crimea and Sevastopol into its family. That&rsquo;s natural, it couldn&rsquo;t be any other way.&rdquo;</em></p> <h2>&ldquo;Punishing others, the US will cut off their nose to spite their face&rdquo;</h2> <p>Putin was asked why the US can do whatever it wants and no one punishes them, while attempts are being made to punish Russia.</p> <p><em>&ldquo;The US is certainly one of the world&rsquo;s leaders. At some point it seemed that it was the only leader and a uni-polar system was in place. Today it appears that is not the case. Everything in the world is interdependent and once you try to punish someone, in the end you will cut off your nose to spite your face,&rdquo;</em> he said.</p> Ukraine Vladimir Putin Fri, 18 Apr 2014 01:22:13 +0000 Tyler Durden 487453 at What Oil War Premium? <p>Central bank's ongoing and so-far-successful efforts to crush short-term volatility and encourage hapless individuals into the world's nominally rising stock markets has had consequences. Inequalities abound <em>(rich vs poor, corporate profits vs capex/jobs, bond yields vs growth hopes)</em> but nowhere else is this more evident - given the ever-increasing crescendo of the drum-beat of war around the world - than in oil price volatility. As the chart below shows... <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>oil price volatility is at its lowest in 21 year</strong></span>s. We can't help but be reminded of Taleb's priceless phrase that <em>"<strong>there is no freedom without noise - and no stability without volatility</strong>."</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="602" height="455" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This constant suppression of short-term volatility can lead to only one thing...<em><br /></em></p> <p> <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="">The Black Swan of Cairo</a></strong></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>How Suppressing Volatility Makes the World Less Predictable and More Dangerous</strong></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Complex systems that have artificially suppressed volatility tend to become extremely fragile, while at the same time exhibiting no visible risks. </strong>In fact, they tend to be too calm and exhibit minimal variability as silent risks accumulate beneath the surface. Although the stated intention of political leaders and economic policymakers is to stabilize the system by inhibiting fluctuations, the result tends to be the opposite. These arti?cially constrained systems become prone to "Black Swans" -- that is, they become extremely vulnerable to large-scale events that lie far from the statistical norm and were largely unpredictable to a given set of observers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Such environments eventually experience massive blowups, catching everyone off-guard and undoing years of stability or, in some cases, ending up far worse than they were in their initial volatile state.</strong> Indeed, the longer it takes for the blowup to occur, the worse the resulting harm in both economic and political systems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Seeking to restrict variability seems to be good policy</strong> (who does not prefer stability to chaos?), so it is with very good intentions that policymakers <strong>unwittingly increase the risk of major blowups</strong>. And it is the same misperception of the properties of natural systems that led to both the economic crisis of 2007-8 and the current turmoil in the Arab world. The policy implications are identical: <strong>to make systems robust, all risks must be visible and out in the open</strong> -- fluctuat nec mergitur (it fluctuates but does not sink) goes the Latin saying.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As Jean-Jacques Rousseau put it, "A little bit of agitation gives motivation to the soul, and what really makes the species prosper is not peace so much as freedom." <strong>With freedom comes some unpredictable fluctuation. This is one of life's packages: there is no freedom without noise -- and no stability without volatility</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><em>Read more here</em></strong></span></p> Black Swan Black Swans Bond Volatility Fri, 18 Apr 2014 01:17:56 +0000 Tyler Durden 487456 at