Friday, September 16, 2011

Did Fannie Just Bailout BofA?

Video - Reason Foundation's Anthony Randazzo on the Alyona Show - Sep. 14, 2011

We covered this story last month in detail here:

Another stealth mini-TARP courtesy of Fannie Mae. It was a liability dump above all else, but Fannie won't disclose details, so we're not sure exactly how deep it extends beyond the $500 million purchase price, though we are certain it was a ripoff for taxpayers, given the fraud to be found within the $73 billion pool of mortgages you are now responsible for.

Climate change targets 'will add £500 to family's fuel bill within four years'

Government climate change targets will put £500 on the average family's fuel bill within four years, a study warns today.
The report warns that the political elite's obsession with renewable energy will damage Britain's competitiveness without necessarily doing anything to tackle climate change.
It suggests that the Coalition's drive to cut greenhouse gases will add £10billion to fuel bills by 2015 - equal to almost £500 per household.
Dr Richard Wellings, of the Institute of Economic Affairs, says: ‘It is clear the Government’s current plans will impose severe burdens on both  business and households yet will fail to make a significant difference to the climate.’
He accuses senior politicians on all sides of seizing on the green agenda despite the ‘high level of scientific uncertainty that still surrounds the issue of climate change’.
Dr Wellings cites official figures  suggesting that building thousands of wind turbines and connecting them to the National Grid is set to cost £100billion over the next decade.

There is a ‘significant risk’ that the final bill will be higher still, he says in an essay that is included in a new book on centre-Right thinking, The Future of Conservatism, which was featured in the Daily Mail on Monday.
It suggests that the Government’s target of cutting carbon emissions by at least a third by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050, is motivated more by ideology than rational thinking.
Warning: The report says that the political elite's obsession with renewable energy will damage Britain's competitiveness without necessarily doing anything to tackle climate change
Warning: The report says that the political elite's obsession with renewable energy will damage Britain's competitiveness without necessarily doing anything to tackle climate change
David Cameron has pledged to make the Coalition the ‘greenest government ever’.
The study warns that the ‘monumental scale’ of the investment needed to switch Britain’s energy generation will ‘crowd out’ business investment in other areas.
It suggests there is a risk of ‘carbon leakage’ where energy intensive industries quit Britain and move to developing countries – taking jobs away from the UK without cutting carbon emissions.
‘What is the point of Britain sacrificing her economic recovery on the altar of climate change when, according to some estimates, China is opening two coal power plants every week?’ the report asks.

“During Great Inflations, Societies Turn On Themselves” And Prosecute Minorities … And We’ve Got A LOT Of Hidden Inflation

Inflation Is A Tax

The father of the theory that government stimulus is the way to fight severe downturns – John Maynard Keynes – famously said about inflation:
By this means government may secretly and unobserved, confiscate the wealth of the people, and not one man in a million will detect the theft.
Fed chairman Ben Bernanke also admits that inflation is a tax on the American people:

Money printing creates inflation.

But quantitative easing doesn’t help anyone but the biggest Wall Street companies (and see this, this and this). We can’t inflate our way out of our debt crisis, and without prosecution of Wall Street, all of the stimulus in the world won’t work. Indeed, Bernanke knew in 1988 that quantitative easing doesn’t work.
(War also causes inflation, and we’ve been on an endless series of wars over the past 10 years.)

Stimulus Versus Austerity: A False Debate

And as I’ve repeatedly noted, the never-ending fight between Keynesian stimulus and debt-cutting is a false debate. It is really a debate between helping the American people or continuing policies which simply redistribute wealth upwards to the richest .1%.
Stimulus could work … if it went to the American people and Main Street, instead of the Wall Street fatcats. And the Fed could easily deploy trillions into the economy if it simply stopped paying banks to park their excess reserves at the Fed.

Inflation Causes Infighting and Oppression … And We’ve Got a Lot Of Hidden Inflation

Société Générale strategist Dylan Grice writes:
By issuing bonds to itself the government seems to have miraculously raised revenue without burdening anyone else. This is probably why the mechanism is universally adopted throughout the world’s financial system. Yet free money does not, and cannot, exist. Since there can be no such thing as a government, or anyone else for that matter, raising revenue “at no cost” simple logic tells us that someone, somewhere has to pay.
But who? This is where the subtle dishonesty resides, because the answer is that no-one knows. If the money printing creates inflation in the product market, the consumers in that product market will pay. If the money printing creates inflation in asset markets, the purchaser of the more elevated asset price pays. Of course, if the printed money ends up in asset markets even less is known about who ultimately pays for the government’s ‘free lunch’, because in this case the money printing sets off its own dynamic via the perpetual Ponzi machine that is the global financial system. The ‘free lunch’ providers will be the late entrants into whatever asset-bubble or investment fad the money printing inflates.
The point is we can’t know who will pay, only that someone will pay. Thus the government has raised revenues without even knowing upon whom the burden falls, let alone telling them. Compare this to raising explicit ‘honest’ taxes, which are at least transparent. We know who levied the sales tax or the income tax, when it was levied, when it is payable, and how much has to be paid. The burden of this money printing, in contrast, seeps silently into the economy, falling indiscriminately but indubitably on unseen, unknowing victims.
The economic hardships this clandestine tax operation imposes are real and keenly felt. But because no one knows from where it comes the enemy is unseen. Thus, during great inflations, societies turn on themselves with each faction blaming another for its malaise: the third century inflation crisis in ancient Rome coincided with Diocletian’s infamous persecution of the Christians; the medieval European debasements coincided with surging witchcraft trials; the extreme Central European hyperinflations following WW1 saw whole societies blaming their Jewish communities. More recently, the aftermath of the historically modest asset inflations in the tech market and the US real estate market have seen society turn on “fat-cat CEOs” and “greedy bankers” respectively.
By now, some of you might feel this all to be irrelevant. Surely, you might be thinking, the plain fact is that there is no inflation. I disagree. To see why, think about what inflation is in the light of the above thinking. I know economists define it as changes in the price of a basket of consumer goods, the CPI. But why should that be the definitive measure, given that it’s only one of the many possible destinations in money’s Brownian journey from the printing presses? Why ignore other destinations, such as asset markets? Isn’t asset price inflation (or bubbles as they are more commonly known) more distortionary and economically inefficient than product price inflation?
I believe economists focus so firmly on product prices in their analysis of inflation not because of any judgment over the relative importance of one type of inflation over the other, but simply because CPI-type measures of inflation are easier to see. In doing so, they resemble the fabled driver who lost his keys one evening and was found looking for them under a streetlamp. When asked by his wife why he was looking there when he’d probably lost them further back, he replied “Because here it’s easier to see.”
We know that revenue cannot be raised for one person without costing someone else. We know that money printing generates revenue for the public sector. So we also know that money printing must be a tax. We know that the magnitude of that tax – the inflation rate – can be reliably measured by the increase in the rate of base money growth. Since we don’t know which markets new money will end up in or even when, we know we can’t reliably count on measures of inflation in those markets to tell us what the ‚inflation rate? is. Thus, the only reliable measure of inflation is the expansion of the monetary base. So to those who say there is no inflation, I give you the following chart.
Fair%20Value%20Gold%203 During Great Inflations, Societies Turn On Themselves” And Prosecute Minorities ... And Weve Got A LOT Of Hidden Inflation
By now, the more polite economists among those still reading may be thinking something like: “What utter drivel you are full of Grice! When there is a recession/depression on and the pressure faced by an economy is deflation, which can become self-fulfilling, the only correct thing to do is to create inflation to protect jobs.”
To this I would reply that every right thinking person wants to see job creation. Those advocating the creation of inflation, or fiscal stimulus are doing so because that’s what the system of logic known as ‘theoretical macroeconomics’ teaches. Yet this system of logic with its deeply flawed epistemological foundations is what brought us here in the first place! The macroeconomic body of knowledge represents no such thing – a cacophony of faiths would be more accurate. The instruments and gauges it recommends policy makers rely on – CPI, trend growth, output gaps, NAIRUs, budget deficits, debt/GDP – are subject to such wide conceptual ambiguity, not to mention estimation error, as to render them utterly meaningless. The fact is the captains of our ship have no reliable gauges. They have no understanding of what a yank of this lever, or a push on that button will ultimately achieve. They just think they do. Intoxicated by trumped up notions of what they know and understand, the drunk driving of macroeconomists is what led us to where we are today.

A rogue trader at UBS or a rogue bank?

Given the recent history of UBS, it is fair to ask if Kweku Adoboli is a rogue trader or his employer is a rogue bank.
At one level, Mr Adoboli might appear to fit neatly into the stereotype of the rogue trader, a phenomenon that recurs so often that it is an endemic aspect of modern investment banking. He is young, fairly junior and works on a desk that combined proprietary position-taking with “flow trading” in customer orders.
The latter has in the past allowed rogue traders such as Nick Leeson of Barings and Jérôme Kerviel of Société Générale, to conceal losses while appearing to be doing what their employers wanted. Mr Adoboli has been arrested but not charged, let alone convicted, so he has the presumption of innocence.
But we do know plenty about the proclivity of UBS for getting involved in fiascos in which the bank believed it was taking relatively little risk but ended up losing large amounts of money. The biggest example is the €50bn  losses it sustained in the US mortgage market, including  its holdings of super-senior “risk-free” debt.
Before that, the bank’s entire senior layer of management was forced out following its involvement in the 1998 collapse of Long-Term Capital Management, the US arbitrage hedge fund run by John Meriwether. UBS had pressed to be closely associated with an operation it regarded as smartly and safely run.
There are similarities between the products relating to the LTCM case and the trading desk on which Mr Adoboli worked. As Izabella Kaminska of FT Alphaville points out, banks’ Delta 1 desks traded and hedged exchange-traded derivatives in  ways that involve complex – and difficult to monitor – risk-taking. Mr Kerviel worked on SocGen’s Delta 1 desk.
UBS itself commissioned a report on its experience in the 2008 crisis that was scathing about its inability to control risk and the complacency of its senior management. The paper, by Tobias Straussman of the University of Zurich, concluded:
“Top management was too complacent, wrongly believing that everything was under control, given that numerous risk reports, internal audits and external reviews almost always ended in a positive conclusion. The bank did not lack risk consciousness; it lacked healthy mistrust, independent judgement and strength of leadership.”
Until now, Oswald Grübel, the UBS chief executive, has been praised for pulling the bank round from the 2008 crisis and for instilling greater risk discipline. His mantra to his traders was initially: “Don’t lose any money.” He amended that last year, however, to: “Still don’t lose any money but do more.”
Now, it does not look as if Mr Grübel managed fundamentally to reform the accident-prone nature of UBS. After all that has happened, he cannot simply blame individuals within an organisation that looks distinctly rogue-like.

Foreclosures Increased in August

Bay Area foreclosure action heads back up

The number of Bay Area homeowners who received a foreclosure notice jumped sharply from July to A

The number of Bay Area homeowners who received a foreclosure notice jumped sharply from July to August in a sign that banks may be pushing through foreclosures that had been delayed because of the so-called "robo-signing" scandal.
But given that a similar increase happened in March, it won't be clear until at least next month if this trend will continue.

In the Bay Area, 2,780 homeowners received a notice of default in August, the first step in the foreclosure process. That's a 34 percent increase from July, and essentially unchanged from a year ago, said a report to be released Thursday by, st jumped 19.5 percent from July and rose nationally, according to a report from RealtyTrac that suggests lenders are working through documentation issues that had delayed filings.

Filings in the Chicago area were down 28.2 percent from August 2010.

Last month, 11,226 homes in the area received a filing, or one in every 337 homes.

PHOENIX -- For the second month in a row, Arizona had the third highest foreclosure rate in the nation in August, according to Realty Trac.

"Arizona continues to be ranked consistently among the top five states in terms of foreclosure rate," said Realty Trac's Darren Blomquist.

HUD: 101-year-old can go home

101-year-old woman evicted from Detroit home
101-year-old woman evicted from Detroit home: On September 12, Texana Hollis was evicted from her Detroit home along with her two sons. Hollis' son, Warren, said he didn't want to tell his mother about the eviction warnings because he didn't think anything would happen. ALEXANDRA BAHOU/DFP

Admitting they made a big mistake, officials with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said late Wednesday they will allow 101-year-old Texana Hollis to move back into the southwest Detroit home she was evicted from Monday.
And she can stay there for the rest of her life.
"We were absolutely thunderstruck when we understood that a 101-year-old woman was put out of her home," said Brian Sullivan, HUD spokesman.
Sullivan said HUD officials have informed Hollis' niece and granddaughter that Hollis can move back into the Carbondale Street home she has lived in for 50 years -- as soon as she is released from Henry Ford Hospital, where she has been since the eviction.

Sullivan said HUD officials mistakenly thought Hollis' home was a tax foreclosure before they reviewed the case.
Hollis' 64-year-old son, Warren Hollis, has admitted it was his fault his mother was evicted. Warren Hollis, who lived in the home with his mother and 69-year-old brother Ira Hollis Jr., said he had his mother sign a reverse mortgage in 2002.
He said he used the $32,000 received from the mortgage to pay for a new roof and for other bills. He said he ignored default and eviction notices.
"I didn't take any action because I didn't think it would happen -- she's been here for such a long time," Warren Hollis said Tuesday. "I screwed it up good."
He was with her at the hospital Wednesday, and said they were overjoyed by the news that she could return home.
"It boosted her spirits quite a bit," Warren Hollis said.
Records from 36th District Court in Detroit show HUD bought the home at auction in December.
Sullivan said a lender turned the mortgage over to HUD in 2006; they've been making tax payments since 2007. He said HUD will continue to do so, and Texana Hollis can live in the home for as long as she wants.
"I can't underscore enough just how ... thunderstruck, mortified, you know, take your pick. ... We have grandparents, the thought was ... just not acceptable," Sullivan said about Hollis' eviction.
Staff writers Alexandra Bahou and Gina Damron contributed to this report.

101-Year-Old Woman Evicted in Foreclosure

Texana Hollis cried as her possessions were thrown into dumpsters after bailiffs moved to take possession of her home in Detroit, Michigan, on 09/13/11
By Associated Press

14 September 11

A 101-year-old woman was evicted from the southwest Detroit home where she lived for nearly six decades after her 65-year-old son failed to pay the mortgage.
Texana Hollis was evicted Monday and her belongings were placed outside the home. Her son, Warren Hollis, said he didn't pay the bill for several years and disregarded eviction notices.
"I kept it from her because I didn't want to worry her," Warren Hollis told WXYZ-TV for a report that aired Monday night. "I was just so sure it wasn't going to happen."
Wayne County Chief Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the Hollises took out an adjustable-rate mortgage in 2002. A default and foreclosure notice was filed in November.
"They ended up owing $80,000 on the home," Szymanski said. "Warren indicates he did not make the payments. He got the notices, but threw them away."
County records show that property taxes were paid on the home through summer 2010. A winter tax bill of $55.95, including interest and fees, was unpaid, and a $778.44 summer tax bill was due this month.
A neighbor was letting Texana and Warren Hollis live in a rental house across the street from the home they shared, and Texana Hollis' belongings were being moved there. Others, including a nonprofit organization, were working to get her back into her home.
On Monday night, she was taken to a hospital for evaluation after she became disoriented.
Szymanski said county officials were asking questions and looking into what they can do to help. He said the county has worked with 10,000 taxpayers to keep them from going into foreclosure.
"The teachable moment here is for people not to stick their head in the sand," he said.

Greenspan - Controlling Gov't Debt to Be Painful (13-Sept-11)(GLOBAL FOC...

Congressional Video - Greenspan Testifies on Debt, Deficit Issues - Sep. 13, 2011

Solid clip. Runs 90 seconds.

Source - Marketwatch

WASHINGTON - Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned of “devastating” damage to financial markets unless Congress quickly begins to address the soaring national debt. He also reiterated his call for an increase in taxes.

The biggest drivers of the U.S. debt, Greenspan said, are entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid whose funding mechanisms are failing to keep up with their fast-rising costs. He also seemed to indicate that President Obama’s health-care overhaul in 2009 will make the problem worse by contributing to an increase in entitlement spending.

The longtime Fed chief did not predict an imminent budget crisis, but he said the rapidly expanding debt is likely to handcuff the government sooner rather than later. The situation is so worrisome to Greenspan that he is now urging higher taxes despite his longtime opposition to such measures.

“What I do know is that if we presume that we have a year or two before starting serious long-term restraint, and we turn out to be wrong in that optimism, the impact on financial markets could be devastating,” Greenspan told senators during a hearing by the Finance Committee on how to reform the U.S. tax code.

Greenspan said Congress could partly close the budget gap by letting tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003 expire. The Fed chairman, who supported those tax cuts at the time, has previously suggested letting those tax cuts end. They were extended for two years by President Obama at the end of 2010.

At the same time, Greenspan also called for the elimination of most tax subsidies for business. Such tax expenditures are estimated to cost the federal government more than $1 trillion annually.

“Subsidies of whatever stripe, distort the optimum functioning of markets, and ultimately, the standard of living of society as whole,” he said.

To offset the increase in business taxes from the end of exemptions, Greenspan said lawmakers should lower corporate tax rates to help boost growth and job creation.

Yet Greenspan cautioned against cutting taxes before cutting spending, paying for the tax reductions with borrowed money.

The long-term growth of the U.S. is likely to taper off, he said, because America’s working-age population is also slowing. As a result, lawmakers can’t bank on faster growth to solve most of the nation’s financial problems, he cautioned.

During his testimony Greenspan put in a plug for the sweeping budget proposal by conservative Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., though he acknowledged it lacks the votes to pass.

Greenspan also praised the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles plan that calls for a combination of sharp spending cuts and higher taxes to address the long-term budget gap.


Stocks rally on support plan for European banks

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks rallied Thursday after central banks in Europe and the U.S. announced a joint move to support European banks. Markets in Europe soared. Gold dropped and Treasury yields rose as traders moved out of the safest investments.
The European Central Bank, the U.S. Federal Reserve and three other central banks said Thursday they would provide European banks with dollars in three loan installments.
"It's a pretty powerful action," said Brian Gendreau, senior investment strategist at Cetera Financial Group. "And it's another piece of news that leads you to think the crisis in Europe could be on the road to resolution."
Worries that European banks would struggle to raise dollars in short-term credit markets have hung over banks in recent weeks. European banks hold large amounts of debt backed by governments in Greece and Italy, the cause of the region's debt crisis. Banks use those bonds as collateral to borrow dollars. Investors have worried that banks could struggle to raise money because those bonds have lost value.
At 2 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average was up 151 points, or 1.4 percent, at 11,398. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 16 points, also 1.4 percent, to 1,205. The Nasdaq rose 28 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,600.
Europe's main stock markets jumped on the news. Germany's DAX and France's CAC-40 gained 3 percent.
Gold dropped 2 percent to settle at $1,781 an ounce. Treasury prices fell, pushing their yields up. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which is used to set interest rates on a wide variety of loans, rose to 2.08 percent.
A move by just the Fed or the European central bank alone wouldn't have been nearly as effective in restoring confidence in European lenders. Traders that had laid bets against European banks may now think twice about doing so again. "It's the rare speculator that wants to go up against a slew of central banks and all their resources," Gendreau said.
Bank stocks led the market higher. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. rose 3 percent and Bank of America Corp. 2 percent. Morgan Stanley jumped 5 percent after reporting that its chairman, John Mack, would step down at the end of the year.
The stock market's gains were tempered by a mixed batch of economic reports. First-time claims for unemployment benefits rose by 11,000 to 428,000 last week. Economists had forecast a decrease. The New York and Philadelphia branches of the Federal Reserve also reported weak manufacturing in their respective regions.
On the positive side, factory output rose 0.5 percent in August, after increasing 0.6 percent in July. Autos and related products increased 2.6 percent, evidence that supply chain disruptions stemming from the Japan earthquake continued to ease.
None of the reports was compelling enough to change anyone's view about the economy, Gendreau said. The market still appears evenly split between those who believe the US is headed for a long stretch of slow growth and those who think it's about to slide into a recession.
Among stocks making large moves, HCA Holdings soared 11 percent after the largest U.S. hospital chain said it would buy back more than $1 billion of its stock from Bank of America.
The Swiss bank UBS plunged 10 percent on news that a trader could cost the bank as much as $2.2 billion. Switzerland's largest bank warned that it could post a loss for the quarter as a result of the unauthorized trade.
Netflix fell 18 percent, the biggest drop among stocks in the S&P 500 index, after the company said it expects fewer people to subscribe to its DVD-by-mail service as well as its streaming movie service.
A show of support by Germany and France for Greece lifted stocks on Wednesday. The Dow has jumped 3 percent over three straight days of gains but is still down 2 percent for the month.

Economic crisis in 'dangerous new phase': IMF chief

Lagarde warned of a vicious cycle of weak
growth and weak balance sheets
© AFP/FIle Gerard Julien

WASHINGTON (AFP) - IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned on Thursday that the economic crisis in developed economies has entered a "dangerous new phase" worsened by feeble political leadership.

A "vicious cycle" of weak growth and weak balance sheets is gaining momentum, she said, adding the cycle "has been exacerbated by policy indecision and political dysfunction."

"Uncertainty hovers over sovereigns across the advanced economies, banks in Europe, and households in the United States," she said in a speech in Washington.

"Weak growth and weak balance sheets -- of governments, financial institutions, and households -- are feeding negatively on each other, fueling a crisis of confidence and holding back demand, investment, and job creation," she said.

"Without collective, bold, action, there is a real risk that the major economies slip back instead of moving forward."

© AFP -- Published at Activist Post with license

Make No Mistake–Europe is in Big Trouble

Reviving the Eurozone monster
Greg Hunter
USA Watchdog

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said yesterday that European states “are going to have to do more” to solve their enormous debt troubles.  To that I ask, “more” of what?  That can only be “more” money printing.

Mark my words, more debt and fiat currency will be the ultimate answer to the European debt problem.  It is either that or let the banks and some countries in Europe go under.  If Greece was the only country to default and leave the EU, then that would not be all that bad.  The real problem is all the other heavily indebted countries that are levels of magnitude more of a problem than little Greece. reported yesterday, “The Eurozone crisis could wreck the European Union, top EU officials warned on Wednesday as the leaders of Germany and France held talks with Greece to avoid a default and widespread chaos.  The pressure rose on all fronts with United States again expressing great concern, with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner saying European states “now recognize they are going to have to do more” to resolve to the crisis.  Highlighting the threat to the global economy, Geithner is to exceptionally attend talks between European Union finance ministers and central bankers in Poland on Friday.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou were to hold a teleconference late Wednesday as markets price in a default by the government in Athens, and credit rating giant Moody’s downgraded two major French banks given their exposure to Greek debt.  “Europe is in danger,” Polish Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski, whose country currently chairs EU meetings, told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.  “If the eurozone breaks up, the European Union will not be able to survive,” he added.  At his most dramatic, Rostowski even warned that “war” could return to Europe if the crisis fatally weakens the EU, founded amid the rubble of World War II.

His underlying message was backed up by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, who described the crisis as “the most serious challenge of a generation.”

Read Full Article

Ron Paul 1988 End the Drug War

Video - Ron Paul on the Morton Downey Jr. Show - 1988

Runs 1 minute. This is pretty funny.

It's 23 years and hundreds of billions later, as we've been trying to cut off drugs at their source for more than 2 decades. How's that working out for ya?

Michael Pento: 'Greece will default'


The $300m cable that will save traders milliseconds

In the high-speed world of automated financial trading, milliseconds matter. So much so, in fact, that a saving of just six milliseconds in transmission time is all that is required to justify the laying of the first transatlantic communications cable for 10 years at a cost of more than $300m. 


A Global Marine Systems undersea cable vessel 

Seabed survey work for the Hibernian Express, as the 6,021km (3,741 mile) fibre-optic link will be known, is already under way off the east coast of America.
The last cables laid under the Atlantic were funded by the dotcom boom in the 1990s when telecoms infrastructure firms rushed to criss-cross the ocean.
The laying of the new transatlantic communications cable is a viable proposition because Hibernia Atlantic, the company behind it, is planning to sell a special superfast bandwidth that will have hyper-competitive trading firms and banks in the City of London and New York queuing to use it. In fact it is predicted they will pay about 50 times as much to link up via the Hibernian Express than they do via existing transatlantic cables.
The current leader, Global Crossing's AC-1 cable, offers transatlantic connection in 65 milliseconds. The Hibernian Express will shave six milliseconds off that time.
Of course, verifiable figures are elusive and estimates vary wildly, but it is claimed that a one millisecond advantage could be worth up to $100m (£63m) a year to the bottom line of a large hedge fund.

Some City experts have criticised the growth in vast volumes of electronic trading, where computers automatically buy and sell stocks with no human input.
The British firm laying the cable, Global Marine Systems, is plotting a new route that is shorter than any previously taken by a transatlantic cable. As closely as possible, it will follow "the great circle" flight path followed by London-to-New York flights.
"We spent 18 months planning the route," says Mike Saunders, Hibernia Atlantic's vice-president of business development. "If it ever gets beaten for speed we end up giving our customers their money back, basically, so my boss would kill me if we got it wrong."
And, he says, customers from hedge funds, currency dealers and exotic proprietary trading firms are queuing up for the switch-on in 2013.
"That's the way these guys think," Mr Saunders says.
"If one of them is on a faster route, they all have to get on it."

'USD sinking like OBL to ocean bottom'

Tim Geithner With Jim 'Short The Financials' Cramer On Euro Crisis, Obama's Failure (CNBC Video)

(CNBC Video)

Interview posted this morning on Comcast Bubblevision.
Speaking during the "Delivering Alpha" conference - organized by CNBC and Institutional Investor - Geithner said the U.S. recovery is slower than many would like and that's not being helped by chaos in Washington.
"You have this terribly damaging political dysfunction here and in Europe that leaves the world wondering whether the political system has the capacity to do the right thing," he said. "That is very damaging to confidence."
However, he expressed confidence in Europe's ability to get out of its massive debt crisis, which has roiled global markets on fears that a collapse in a nation such as Greece will lead to another global financial meltdown. He said there is "not a chance" that Europe will have an event comparable to the implosion of Lehman Brothers in September 2009.
Geithner headlines today, courtesy of Bloomberg:
Recently on Cramer:
Cramer Gets Bearish - 'Short Financials NOW, European Lehman Moment Is Upon Us'

Why We Killed Saddam(nothing to do with Kuwait, WMDs, or 911)

Gaddafi gold-for-oil, dollar-doom plans behind Libya 'mission'?

House 'disapproves' US debt ceiling increase

The House of Representatives passed a
resolution symbolically rejecting an increase
in the US national debt
© AFP/File Nicholas Kamm

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a resolution symbolically rejecting an increase in the US national debt.

By a 232-186 vote, the House passed the measure stating that it "disapproves of the president's exercise of authority to increase the debt limit."

The vote however has no real effect, because the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected a similar measure last week.

Following bitter mid-year budget negotiations that brought the United States to the verge of defaulting on payments, both parties in Congress agreed on July 31 to immediately increase the debt by $400 billion, then increase it by a further $500 billion in September unless the House and the Senate both passed measures opposing the move.

"Borrowing even more before we can enact significant spending cuts to begin dealing with the root problem is a foolish errand," said Republican Representative Tom Reed.

Democrat Charles Rangel voted against the measure.

"To go against the president's ability to maintain the integrity of the United States of America I think it is just so wrong," said Rangel.

Democrats saw the vote as a chance for Republicans to symbolically show their supporters that they remain strongly against debt increases.

Separately, a congressional "SuperCommittee" has been tasked with finding ways to reduce debt by at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years and presenting its findings in November.

© AFP -- Published at Activist Post with license

Let's Play Find The Wells Fargo Fraud! - What's Wrong With This Mortgage Assignment? (Time Travel Required)

Wells Fargo Fraudulent Assignment of Mortgage
Guest post from Chunga at Foreclosure Hamlet
Evidence of mortgage fraud time travel.
Here's a hint - MERS assigns to Wells Fargo.
Same day, same person, same notary assigns from Wells Fargo to Fannie Mae.
From one of the comments at the OP on Hamlet:
"So Janice works for Franklin American Mort Corp. in Flint, MI and Assigns the mortgage as an Asst. Sec'y for MERS to Wells Fargo in Iowa, and she has the assignment notarized in Dakota County, Minnesota."
"Then, on the same day, she also works for Wells Fargo in Iowa, and assigns the mortgage to Fannie Mae in Philadelphia, PA and has it notarized again in Dakota County, Minnesota?"
"First, Lets just assume that it's legal to have an assignment of mortgage from a company in Flint, MI to be notarized in Minnesota for a company located in Iowa.  And then let's also assume that a company in Iowa can have an Assignment of mortgage notarized in Minnesota for a company in PA."
"Is this sort of behavior legal?  Or could it be FRAUD?  Hmmmmmm, Flint, MI to Dakota, MN, a mere 581.8 miles apart.  That's nearly a 12 hour drive w/o any highway mishaps, oh, and you better have the ability to walk on water, otherwise, its a 688 mile drive under Lake Michigan and over 12 hours. Typically, banking hours are between 8am & 5pm.  That's a total of 9 hours.  Maybe she should have saved gas and just driven to Iowa.  It's only 10 hours away."
Pretty neat trick huh?
There is something very sinister about this amazing time travel.  It is my belief that these individual mortgage obligations live in more than one savvy MBS investor's "book."  Each manifestation of the obligation is insured against default for the full outcome based appraisal "value."
Each investor is made whole via insurance and thanks to AIG, who of course was caught by surprise, has no choice but to dump the whole mess on the taxpayer.  Meanwhile, the "servicer" purchases (for pennies on the fiat) the right to pursue the extinguished debt and seek as many deficiency judgments as possible.
Not to mention the fact that clear chain of title on millions of homes (in default or not) are destroyed. Further, if the obligations fail to make their way to the trusts within the REMIC window, throw massive tax evasion into the mix.
More on the taxpayer-funded fraud is at part 2 of this story:

Lawyer turns topless dancer to pay the bills

Pat Shannahan for
Carla couldn't find work in the legal profession, so she's dancing in a topless bar now.
When Carla graduated 10 years ago, she thought her law degree would be a permanent ticket to a high-paying job.  But instead of selling her mind, Carla is selling her body. After student loans, debt, a layoff and unemployment battered her bank account, she now finds herself in an almost unbelievable position – dancing in a topless bar.
"Did I ever think I’d be taking my top off for rent money? No. I was in my mid-30s and had never danced before," said Carla, who asked that we use her stage name and withhold her identity and some personal details. "As a little girl, I never thought to myself, 'I just want to grow up and be a stripper,’ or, ‘All I ever wanted to do in life is climb in the lap of sweaty stranger and take my top off.'
"But, with our economy the way it is, especially in smaller cities ... you strip or you starve," she said.
Last month, as part of our coverage of America’s economic malaise, we chronicled the story of a young father who took a job as a firefighter in Iraq after he couldn’t find work in Miami. Then we asked readers: What crazy things are you doing to make ends meet? This is the second of three reader stories we’ll share. Last week, we wrote about a man who has turned to dumpster diving to keep food on the table for his three children.  Now, we tell Carla's story.
Carla grew up in the Midwest and moved to the West Coast in the late ‘90s to fulfill her dream of earning her law degree. After graduation, she worked for nine years putting her degree to use, but she had entered the crowded legal profession at the wrong time. When she was laid off in 2009, she couldn't find work.
"At first, I worked as a waitress, and a cashier in gas station," she said.
'Act of desperation'As her prospects grew dim, she went back to school to earn a master’s degree, hoping to bolster her credentials. But her financial aid came in lower than expected, her credit was battered and she struggled to find part-time work in her new town to keep her afloat.

"I went around to see if could get a job as cocktail waitress, but there was not a single retail or waitress job.  No one was hiring, except for the topless places," she said.  “It was an act of desperation.”
She started out serving drinks as a waitress, but moved quickly to dancing "because that's where the money is, and that's what I needed."
On an average day, she earns $20 an hour, but on a good weekend night, she might pull in $50 an hour –enough to get her finances back on track. She can set her own hours, which means she can squeeze in reading and writing papers around her work schedule.

"Sometimes it sucks, it’s degrading and I hate it, but it is necessary right now and I’m glad I have the option of doing it," Carla said.  "My parents and a few friends know and they were horrified at first. But now they are proud of me for sucking it up and doing what I have to do."
Carla has her limits, as does the topless bar she works in.  She stays away from private rooms even though women can make $500 to $1,000 a night there.
Local rules allow lap dances – as long as the patrons don’t touch the dancers – and Carla sometimes performs them. The bar doesn't have a full nudity license, and that’s just as well with Carla; she'd need a personal license to work at a place like that and she wants no record of her temporary stint in the dancing business.
Pat Shannahan for
Carla hopes she'll be finished with dancing in about six months.
"While I am proud of making a living by any legal means available to me, I realize that some will think of me as just a glorified legal prostitute and I would very much like to move on with my life and career at the earliest available opportunity," she said.
Ugly momentsDespite these precautions, Carla said she has had her share of ugly moments.  Not all men follow the rules; some have tried to overpower her and “grab her, bite her, kiss her, or get their hands under the bottoms (I) wear.” Bouncers come to her aid, but they can't be everywhere all the time.
"I've had men overcome me," she said. "Luckily help has arrived and nothing has happened. But I have been scared."
Carla agreed to talk about her experience in part because she said it has been profound –  in one sense, the job is less hostile than any law office she’s worked in, she said. Coming from the cutthroat legal profession, she has been stunned by the camaraderie among the women she works with.
"I thought the other women I worked with would be competitive and not supportive. We are 'fighting' over the same dollars," she said.  "But my female coworkers are the best coworkers I've ever had."
Many are in the same situation she is, she said: forced by their economic situation to perform work they would have never considered in the past.
"I work with war widows, a nurse, a med student, women who have had to go to work to save their home after their husbands have lost their jobs, and others who do this as a means to an end and who do not fit the profile of junkie/prostitute/dancer. … What we all have in common is being in a tight spot financially and living in an economy that provides limited options right now, " she said.  "I'd be willing to bet that there are women like me working in it all over the country, out of necessity and not because our goal in life was to appear topless in front of … creepy guys."
She's also been horrified by the way dancers are treated by some men she encounters.

'Some real creeps'"I was shocked at how horribly some men treat us. I realized that I was much more naive than I thought I was," she said. On the other hand, the bar and its patrons sometimes surprise her. “While there are some real creeps that come in, there are also some very sweet guys who are regular customers and who I genuinely enjoy knowing . The stereotype that says that only dirty old men frequent nudie bars is incorrect."
She gets asked out often, she said, in situations that would be amusing if they weren't so sad.
"Men aren't quite as sneaky as they think they are,” she said.  Even in a strip club, they try to convince her that they aren’t just hunting for sex.  “They think their motivations are transparent, when they aren't at all.”
Believe it or not, she said she feels lucky, because she has a male friend at school who's in a similar financial situation, "but there's no male equivalent to what I'm doing. At least I have the option,” she said.
She says she’s been humbled by the experience, too.
"I am no better than the next dancer by virtue of my education or previous work experience.  The universe has a funny way of putting a person in their place,” she said. “I have learned that I still have a lot to learn about life but now I have some incredible female mentors who continually inspire me with their courage and work ethic."
She's also learned to "never say never," about things you may do in life. She's almost finished with school, and hopes to stop dancing soon, but figures that "realistically, I'll probably have to keep dancing until I get offered a full-time job. Which means I'll be doing it for another six months, at least."
When she does take a new job, she's leaving the medium-sized city she's in, with no plans to return.
"I cannot wait to start my life over elsewhere doing something different but I will always be grateful for the lessons I've learned dancing and will never again look down on anyone who works in this industry," she said.
NEXT: With no prospects at home in Eastern Pennsylvania, Bill is selling everything he owns to buy a cheap RV and will travel the country taking piece work wherever he can find it, following the trail of the dust bowl migration in the 1930s.