|One Of The Greatest Crimes Ever Perpetrated
By Mike Whitney
March 13, 2010 “Information Clearing House” — You gotta see this! If this doesn’t convince you that the Timothy Geithner knew about the securities shenanigans that were going on at Lehman, than I don’t know what will.
Keep in mind, that Geithner ran Lehman through 3 “stress tests” prior to bankruptcy; all of which Lehman failed, and yet, nothing was done. Anton R. Valukas–the examiner who wrote the 2,200 page investigative-report which was released on Thursday– has provided plenty of information detailing Lehman’s “materially misleading” accounting and “actionable balance sheet manipulation.”
In other words, they cooked the books.
Eves Smith at Naked Capitalism sums up what was going on like this:
“Quite a few observers… have been stunned and frustrated at the refusal to investigate what was almost certain accounting fraud at Lehman. ….The unraveling isn’t merely implicating Fuld (Lehman CEO) and his recent succession of CFOs, or its accounting firm, Ernst & Young, as might be expected. It also emerges that the NY Fed, and thus Timothy Geithner, were at a minimum massively derelict in the performance of their duties, and may well be culpable in aiding and abetting Lehman in accounting fraud and Sarbox violations….
We need to demand an immediate release of the e-mails, phone records, and meeting notes from the NY Fed and key Lehman principals regarding the NY Fed’s review of Lehman’s solvency. If, as things appear now, Lehman was allowed by the Fed’s inaction to remain in business, when the Fed should have insisted on a wind-down ….. at a minimum, the NY Fed helped perpetuate a fraud on investors and counterparties.
This pattern further suggests the Fed, which by its charter is tasked to promote the safety and soundness of the banking system, instead, via its collusion with Lehman management, operated to protect particular actors to the detriment of the public at large.
And most important, it says that the NY Fed, and likely Geithner himself, undermined, perhaps even violated, laws designed to protect investors and markets. If so, he is not fit to be Treasury secretary or hold any office related to financial supervision and should resign immediately. (Naked Capitalism)
Repeat: “Accounting fraud”, “collusion”, “aiding and abetting.” These are serious charges by a usually restrained blogger.
And this is from Zero Hedge:
“Lehman has become merely the latest example of all that is broken with today’s crony capitalist system…. The evident conclusion is that the core driver of modern capitalist society is fraud at its very core, and nothing short of a massive revolutionary overhaul of the political system, which is the number one defender .. of very lucrative bribes and kickbacks originating from the same rotten Wall Street that (is) nothing but a sham filled with toxic assets” Zero Hedge
This story isn’t going away. Someone has to go to jail. It’s clear that Geithner acted as the “chief facilitator” of industrial scale securities flim-flam which led directly to the Great Crash of ’08. He needs to be held accountable for his actions.
January 27, 2010
Rep. Darrell Issa, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has the goods on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Earlier this month, Issa received emails proving without a shadow of a doubt that the New York Fed under Geithner’s leadership withheld documents and delayed disclosures on AIG’s swindle operation with Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and other international bankster criminal organizations.
“The New York Fed took over negotiations between AIG and the banks in November 2008 as losses on the swaps, which were contracts tied to subprime home loans, threatened to swamp the insurer weeks after its taxpayer-funded rescue. The regulator decided that Goldman Sachs and more than a dozen banks would be fully repaid for $62.1 billion of the swaps, prompting lawmakers to call the AIG rescue a ‘backdoor bailout’ of financial firms,” Bloomberg reported on January 7.
Using Fed secured taxpayer bailout money, AIG paid several banks 100 percent of the face value of credit-default swaps, as other financial institutions were negotiating deep discounts for the unregulated paper assets that do not have to be backed by cash.
“It appears that the New York Fed deliberately pressured AIG to restrict and delay the disclosure of important information,” said Issa at the time. Taxpayers “deserve full and complete disclosure under our nation’s securities laws, not the withholding of politically inconvenient information.”
Treasury spokeswoman Meg Reilly said Geithner knew nothing. He was recused from the criminal operation to steal billions and fork it over to Goldman and the banksters.
If you believe the head of the New York Fed was out of the loop on this scam I have a bridge to sell you.
Darrell Issa doesn’t buy it either. “If you were recused, where is the document, what were you recused from?” Issa told Bloomberg earlier today. “You didn’t stop going to the office, so your recusal seems to be after the fact and undescribed.”
Geithner is on the hot seat today about his role in the $182.3 billion heist. Issa warns that Geithner will attempt to weasel out of complicity by citing the undocumented recusal. “He is going to be able to say, ‘I was recused from what I didn’t want to know about,’ or, let me rephrase that, ‘what I didn’t want my fingerprints on,’” Issa said.
The bankster bailout will ultimately cost the American people (and their children and their children’s children) trillions. “The amount of US taxpayer money committed to bailouts over the last 12 months by far exceeds the combined cost of major historical events dating back over 200 years,” writes Steve Watson. “The combined amount spent, lent, consumed, borrowed, printed, guaranteed, assumed or otherwise committed to bailouts by the government from March 2008 to March 2009 amounts to some $15 TRILLION.”
The cost of World War Two, the race to the moon, the New Deal, and the Iraq, Vietnam and Korean wars combined does not come close to the amount spent so far in just 12 months on the bailout of a handful of privately owned offshore corporations, Watson notes.
All of this debt into perpetuity has a purpose beyond making a gaggle of banksters rich beyond their wildest dreams. It is designed to crash the world economy and take down the middle class in the United States. It is designed to sell your children into bondage to the banksters. It is part of a plan to impose martial law and a high-tech control grid in response to unfolding social and political chaos directly related to the economic implosion.
The global elite are now demanding world government in response to the manufactured crisis unleashed by the Federal Reserve with the complicity of Geithner, Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke and their partners in crime at Goldman Sachs et al.
It remains to be seen if Tim Geithner will be exposed and ultimately arrested, forced to do the perp walk in an orange jumpsuit, and slapped in prison for grand larceny of such a magnitude it staggers the imagination.
Webster G. Tarpley
January 26, 2010
My dear Senator,
I am writing to urge you to vote against the confirmation of Ben Bernanke for a second term as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Bernanke has failed in his responsibilities both as a banking regulator and in his administration of Federal Reserve lending. Bernanke presided over the final phase of the $1.5 quadrillion financial derivatives bubble which is the central cause of the present world economic depression. He was the principal advocate for the reckless and irresponsible policy of bailing out bankrupt money center institutions, allowing them to live on as zombie banks at astronomical taxpayer, but with no corresponding benefit whatsoever for the economic life of the broader society. Bernanke is responsible for the super-toxic alphabet soup of Federal Reserve lending facilities like the TAF, the TALF, and so forth. These betrayals of the public trust have offered 0% credit to predatory institutions including Wall Street banks, insurance companies, credit card companies, money market funds, and other financial institutions. Bernanke has thus used public resources to subsidize financial speculation in all of its most destructive forums, while doing almost nothing to provide cheap credit for production that would benefit factories, farms, mines, building construction, small business, exports, scientific research, energy production, and infrastructure building. Economic activity in all of these fields is now dying for lack of credit, which is being denied by the very institutions Bernanke is trying to save. Everything that Bernanke has done is diametrically opposed to the rational credit policy needed to fight an economic depression.
Bernanke must therefore be rejected. Instead, the Senate should support a new Fed chairman with the qualifications necessary to preside over the nationalization of this illegal, unconstitutional, and failed institution. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 must be repealed. The future of the Fed is as a bureau of the United States Treasury responsible for providing cheap federal lending as a public utility for productive activity in the form of tangible physical commodity output, not speculation and financial services. In the future, the size of the money supply, short-term interest rates, and the approved categories of lending must be taken out of the hands of unelected and unaccountable cliques of predatory bankers, and deliberated in the full glare of publicity by the House, the Senate, and the president, as the United States Constitution actually requires. Because of Bernanke’s pattern of subservience to Wall Street interests, it is clear that he cannot be the official suited to to carry out this historic transition. Worse, reports concerning telephone calls made by Treasury Secretary Geithner in September 2008 suggest that Bernanke may also be a party to illegal operations by the Fed in regard to the bailout of AIG and its derivatives counterparties at that time. It is unthinkable that the Senate would approve Bernanke unless and until these grave suspicions have been cleared up.
Today’s newspapers suggest that Bernanke, even if he should be rejected by the Senate this week, would still attempt to stay in power as a member of the Board of Governors through 2020, exerting his power through his colleagues presently on the board. This would amount to nothing less than a bankers’ insurrection. In this eventuality, the Congress must swiftly impeach Bernanke and remove him from office immediately.
Even though the U.S. financial system nearly experienced a total meltdown in late 2008, the truth is that most Americans simply have no idea what is happening to the U.S. economy. Most people seem to think that the nasty little recession that we have just been through is almost over and that we will be experiencing another time of economic growth and prosperity very shortly. But this time around that is not the case. The reality is that we are being sucked into an economic black hole from which the U.S. economy will never fully recover.
The problem is debt. Collectively, the U.S. government, the state governments, corporate America and American consumers have accumulated the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world. Our massive debt binge has financed our tremendous growth and prosperity over the last couple of decades, but now the day of reckoning is here.
And it is going to be painful.
The following are 20 reasons why the U.S. economy is dying and is simply not going to recover….
#1) Do you remember that massive wave of subprime mortgages that defaulted in 2007 and 2008 and caused the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression? Well, the “second wave” of mortgage defaults in on the way and there is simply no way that we are going to be able to avoid it. A huge mountain of mortgages is going to reset starting in 2010, and once those mortgage payments go up there are once again going to be millions of people who simply cannot pay their mortgages. The chart below reveals just how bad the second wave of adjustable rate mortgages is likely to be over the next several years….
#2) The Federal Housing Administration has announced plans to increase the amount of up-front cash paid by new borrowers and to require higher down payments from those with the poorest credit. The Federal Housing Administration currently backs about 30 percent of all new home loans and about 20 percent of all new home refinancing loans. Tighter standards are going to mean that less people will qualify for loans. Less qualifiers means that there will be less buyers for homes. Less buyers means that home prices are going to drop even more.
#3) It is getting really hard to find a job in the United States. A total of 6,130,000 U.S. workers had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more in December 2009. That was the most ever since the U.S. government started keeping track of this statistic in 1948. In fact, it is more than double the 2,612,000 U.S. workers who were unemployed for a similar length of time in December 2008. The reality is that once Americans lose their jobs they are increasingly finding it difficult to find new ones. Just check out the chart below….
#4) In December, there were also 929,000 “discouraged” workers who are not counted as part of the labor force because they have “given up” looking for work. That is the most since the U.S. government first started keeping track of discouraged workers in 1949. Many Americans have simply given up and are now chronically unemployed.
#5) Some areas of the U.S. are already virtually in a state of depression. The mayor of Detroit estimates that the real unemployment rate in his city is now somewhere around 50 percent.
#6) For decades, our leaders in Washington pushed us towards “a global economy” and told us it would be so good for us. But there is a flip side. Now workers in the U.S. must compete with workers all over the world, and our greedy corporations are free to pursue the cheapest labor available anywhere on the globe. Millions of jobs have already been shipped out of the United States, and Princeton University economist Alan S. Blinder estimates that 22% to 29% of all current U.S. jobs will be offshorable within two decades. The days when blue collar workers could live the American Dream are gone and they are not going to come back.
#7) During the 2001 recession, the U.S. economy lost 2% of its jobs and it took four years to get them back. This time around the U.S. economy has lost more than 5% of its jobs and there is no sign that the bleeding of jobs is going to stop any time soon.
#8) All of this unemployment is putting severe stress on state unemployment funds. At this point, 25 state unemployment insurance funds have gone broke and the Department of Labor estimates that 15 more state unemployment funds will likely go broke within two years and will need massive loans from the federal government just to keep going.
#9) 37 million Americans now receive food stamps, and the program is expanding at a pace of about 20,000 people a day. The United States of America is very quickly becoming a socialist welfare state.
#10) The number of Americans who are going broke is staggering. 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 – a 32 percent increase over 2008.
#11) For decades, the fact that the U.S. dollar was the reserve currency of the world gave the U.S. financial system an unusual degree of stability. But all of that is changing. Foreign countries are increasingly turning away from the dollar to other currencies. For example, Russia’s central bank announced on Wednesday that it had started buying Canadian dollars in a bid to diversify its foreign exchange reserves.
#12) The recent economic downturn has left some localities totally bankrupt. For instance, Jefferson County, Alabama is on the brink of what would be the largest government bankruptcy in the history of the United States – surpassing the 1994 filing by Southern California’s Orange County.
#13) The U.S. is facing a pension crisis of unprecedented magnitude. Virtually all pension funds in the United States, both private and public, are massively underfunded. With millions of Baby Boomers getting ready to retire, there is simply no way on earth that all of these obligations can be met. Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua D. Rauh of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management recently calculated the collective unfunded pension liability for all 50 U.S. states for Forbes magazine. So what was the total? 3.2 trillion dollars.
#14) Social Security and Medicare expenses are wildly out of control. Once again, with millions of Baby Boomers now at retirement age there is simply going to be no way to pay all of these retirees what they are owed.
#15) So will the U.S. government come to the rescue? The U.S. has allowed the total federal debt to balloon by 50% since 2006 to $12.3 trillion. The chart below is a bit outdated, but it does show the reckless expansion of U.S. government debt over the past several decades. To get an idea of where we are now, just add at least 3 trillion dollars on to the top of the chart….
#16) So has the U.S. government learned anything from these mistakes? No. In fact, Senate Democrats on Wednesday proposed allowing the federal government to borrow an additional $2 trillion to pay its bills, a record increase that would allow the U.S. national debt to reach approximately $14.3 trillion.
#17) It is going to become even harder for the U.S. government to pay the bills now that tax receipts are falling through the floor. U.S. corporate income tax receipts were down 55% in the year that ended on September 30th, 2009.
#18) So where will the U.S. government get the money? From the Federal Reserve of course. The Federal Reserve bought approximately 80 percent of all U.S. Treasury securities issued in 2009. In other words, the U.S. government is now being financed by a massive Ponzi scheme.
#19) The reckless expansion of the money supply by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve is going to end up destroying the U.S. dollar and the value of the remaining collective net worth of all Americans. The more dollars there are, the less each individual dollar is worth. In essence, inflation is like a hidden tax on each dollar that you own. When they flood the economy with money, the value of the money you have in your bank accounts goes down. The chart below shows the growth of the U.S. money supply. Pay particular attention to the very end of the chart which shows what has been happening lately. What do you think this is going to do to the value of the U.S. dollar?….
#20) When a nation practices evil, there is no way that it is going to be blessed in the long run. The truth is that we have become a nation that is dripping with corruption and wickedness from the top to the bottom. Unless this fundamentally changes, not even the most perfect economic policies in the world are going to do us any good. In the end, you always reap what you sow. The day of reckoning for the U.S. economy is here and it is not going to be pleasant.
The vast majority of the talking heads on television are still speaking of the current economic collapse as if it is a temporary “recession” that will soon be over. So far, the vast majority of the American people seem to believe this as well, although for many Americans there is a very deep gnawing in the pit of their stomachs that is telling them that there is something very, very wrong this time around. The truth is that the foundations of the U.S. economy have been destroyed by an orgy of government, corporate and individual debt that has gone on for decades. It was the greatest party in the history of the world, but now the party is over. The following are 11 signs from just this past month that show that the U.S. economy is headed into the toilet and will not be recovering….
#1) When even Wal-Mart is closing stores you know things are bad. Wal-Mart announced on Monday that it will close 10 money-losing Sam’s Club stores and will cut 1,500 jobs in order to reduce costs. So if even Wal-Mart has to shut down stores, what chance do other retailers have?
#2) Americans are going broke at a staggering pace. 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 – a 32 percent increase over 2008.
#3) American workers are working harder than ever and yet making less. After adjusting for inflation, pay for production and non-supervisory workers (80 percent of the private workforce) is 9% lower than it was in 1973. But those Americans who do still have jobs are the fortunate ones.
#4) Unemployment is absolutely exploding all over the United States. Minority groups have been hit particularly hard. For example, unemployment on many U.S. Indian reservations is over 80 percent.
#5) Unfortunately the employment situation is showing no signs of turning around. December was actually the worst month for U.S. unemployment since the so-called “Great Recession” began.
#6) So just how bad are things when compared to past recessions? During the 2001 recession, the U.S. economy lost 2% of its jobs and it took four years to get them back. This time the U.S. economy has lost more than 5% of its jobs and there is no sign that the bleeding of jobs will stop any time soon.
#7) Can you imagine trying to get your first job in this economic climate? Our young men and women either can’t get work or have given up on work altogether. The percentage of Americans 16 to 24 who have jobs is 13 percent lower than ten years ago.
#8) So where did all the jobs go? Over the past few decades we have allowed the corporate giants to ship mountains of American jobs overseas, and there are signs that this trend is only going to get worse. In fact, Princeton University economist Alan S. Blinder estimates that 22% to 29% of all current U.S. jobs will be offshorable within two decades. So get ready for even more of our jobs to be shipped off to Mexico, China and India.
#9) All of these job losses are leading to defaults on mortgages. Over the past couple of years we have seen the American Dream in reverse. According to a report that was just released, delinquent home loans at government-controlled mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac surged 20 percent from July through September.
#10) But that is nothing compared to what is coming. A massive “second wave” of mortgage defaults is getting ready to hit the U.S. economy starting in 2010. In fact, this “second wave” is so frightening that even 60 Minutes is reporting on it.
#11) Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has announced that it made a record profit of $46.1 billion in 2009. Apparently during this economic crisis it is a very good time to be a bankster.
In the cast of corporate characters, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are A-list villains, thanks to the central role they played in the 2008 financial meltdown. The two mortgage-finance firms failed as spectacularly as AIG, the poster child for finance-gone-wrong, with the combined Fannie-Freddie rescue totaling about $111 billion so far–the biggest bailout of all. Both firms are effectively nationalized, and the government would probably wind them down except for one thing: They underwrite about three quarters of all the mortgages issued in the United States.
[See how the government is swallowing the economy.]
You’ve probably heard that the economy is recovering, that consumers are more optimistic, and that companies might soon begin hiring more workers than they’re firing. Hooray. We’ll all be thrilled when the economy stops quivering. The only problem with an upbeat prognosis is that large chunks of the U.S. economy remain addicted to financial painkillers or dependent upon dysfunctional institutions like Fannie and Freddie, and we’ve never gone through the kind of withdrawal that’s set to take place this year. If all goes well, we’ll avoid messy complications, such as these:
Housing tanks all over again. It’s hard to believe the housing market could get any worse, with prices already down by more than 30 percent from their 2007 peak. On the other hand, it’s astounding that housing is as bad as it is, considering the massive amounts of government aid that have been transfused into this comatose market. In addition to subsidizing the entire mortgage market via Fannie and Freddie, the government has also stepped in to buy billions in mortgage-backed securities–replacing private investors who are sitting on the sidelines–to keep money flowing to consumers. Then there are the tax breaks meant to spur demand for homes and other programs to reduce foreclosures and arrest the plunge in prices.
The tax breaks expire this year, and the government probably can’t afford to extend them (again). The Federal Reserve and other agencies have also said they’ll begin an orderly withdrawal from housing finance in 2010. Most forecasts call for a spike in foreclosures and further price declines in the first half of the year, with a possible bottom and tepid recovery in the second half. But it’s far from clear what will happen when the government aid dissipates. Will that remove one leg from the chair? Two? Three? If the private markets don’t fill the void left when the government backs out, it could trigger a fresh crisis that inflicts more collateral damage on the rest of the economy.
Stocks crash. An epic bull rally since the lows of March 2009 has probably been the single biggest contributor to the so-called recovery. Though stocks are still down from their October 2007 peak, the rebound has eased a sense of panic and helped restore some of the household wealth lost in the housing bust (for those lucky enough to have stock-market investments and to have stuck with them through the bottom). And that’s probably been a big factor helping consumer spending to recover. But while stocks have been surging, jobs have continued to disappear, and this divergence between Wall Street and Main Street must end. The conventional view is that stocks foretell a pickup in the “real economy,” which will follow the market’s recovery after a lag of some length. But what if it’s the moribund job market that exerts the stronger gravitational pull, dragging down stocks? If so, buckle in for a double-dip.
There’s a U.S. debt crisis. Assuming the economy stabilizes, this is also the year that President Obama will start to talk tough about reducing America’s $8 trillion public debt, which amounts to more than half of our total economic output. There will be careful efforts to make sure that no deserving American feels any pain (the rich don’t count as deserving) and that Congress passes no unpopular measures that would get anybody unelected. The financial markets might buy this, allowing our government to keep borrowing and keep spending beyond its means. Or the markets might decide that America is heading toward bankruptcy and dump the dollar, forcing the world’s biggest debtor nation to pay higher rates on its securities, slash spending, and hike taxes. We should probably just relax, confident that Washington politicians always rally to head off devastating problems before they explode.
Consumers become rational. Given the painful transformation of the U.S. economy, Americans ought to be saving like crazy and buying nothing they don’t need. Some are, but it’s not clear yet if Americans as a whole will save more over the long term or go back to spending nearly everything they have. The savings rate has crept up to about 5 percent, but that’s still lower than the long-term average and far lower than you might expect after a collapse like the one we’ve endured. If savings continue to go up–a prudent move for most households–consumer spending will come down, leaving a hole in the growth of our gross domestic product, with little else to fill it. So hopes for a vigorous rebound rest on spendthrift consumers being as materialistic as ever. Now there’s a strong foundation for success.
Building on what I posted yesterday, even the criminal Fed is denouncing the criminal credit card issuers. All irony aside, the Bloomberg article below is a great one to have on hand when you call your credit card company and ask them to adjust your rate down to a normal level that can actually enable you to pay off the debt. Now is the time to get aggressive with these people: first be polite and tell them that you would like to get your balance paid off; secondly, tell them that it is simply not possible with the current rate they are offering and that you fear you cannot continue to pay even the minimum payment. If they do not cooperate with reason, or a solid payment plan, then I suggest that you cite this article which refers to them as criminals. Tell them that you have tried to be reasonable and they are not cooperating. You might even suggest that a law suit is coming against their blatant worse-than-loansharking rates. If nothing works: don’t pay, just walk away.
Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) — None of the credit cards offered online by the 12 largest U.S. banks would meet requirements of new federal curbs on the industry’s rates and fees, a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts said.
All of the cards surveyed used practices considered “unfair or deceptive” by the Federal Reserve, according to the report released today by the Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization. The study examined almost 400 cards advertised by banks and credit unions and compared terms for cards offered in July 2009 and December 2008.
The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, which takes effect in stages, will require banks to apply payments to higher-rate balances first, limit rate increases and ban practices such as “universal default,” or raising rates based on a missed payment with another lender. Most of those rules are scheduled to begin Feb. 22; others such as limits on gift-card fees are set to start Aug. 22.
“Our research shows the most harmful practices the card act targets remain widespread,” said Nick Bourke, manager of Pew’s Safe Credit Cards Project, which began studying how the industry treats consumers in 2007.
Cardholders haven’t benefited from historically low interest rates, even though the Fed lowered the federal funds rate to near zero to ease lending for banks, the report said. Credit cards became more costly for American families in the first half of 2009, which makes them a potentially dangerous part of most Americans’ financial lives, according to the report.