Friday, December 18, 2009

Barney Frank's Financial "reform" HR 4173 is TARP on Steroids at Taxpayer Expense

With this bill, the President will get access to TARP without Congress's approval; and it's rich with loopholes. It's not "reform"- it's allowing the state of TARP to be a permanent condition for lenders who sell counterfeit assets through whatever loopholes they create for themselves.


Again the actual bill

Update: 12/15/2009

We're in the middle of an economic crisis caused by the greatest financial scandal in the history of the world. And our financially illiterate and incompetant legislative and executive branches refuse to listen to our economic advisor.

He is doing the right thing.

Regulators Resist Volcker Wandering Warning of Too-Big-to-Fail

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Paul A. Volcker visited nine cities in five countries in the past eight weeks to warn that bankers and regulators “have not come anywhere close to responding with necessary vigor” to the worst economic crisis in 70 years.

“There is a lot of evidence that financial weaknesses brought us to the brink of a great depression,” Volcker, 82, said Dec. 8. at a conference in West Sussex, England. He told executives there that the changes they’ve proposed are “like a dimple.”

Our House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proves again that she hasn't even looked at the bill. Does she work drunk?

“The House of Representatives has acted to leave the age of dishonesty, recklessness and irresponsibility behind,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, after the vote.
Update: 12/13/2009

Goldman Fueled AIG Gambles

"Goldman Sachs Group Inc. played a bigger role than has been publicly disclosed in fueling the mortgage bets that nearly felled American Insurance Group Inc.

Goldman was one of 16 banks paid off when the U.S. government last year spent billions closing out soured trades that AIG made with the financial firms. ...

...The banks wanted protection in case the housing market tanked. Many turned to Goldman, which effectively insured the securities against losses. Then, to cover its own potential losses, Goldman bought protection from AIG, in the form of credit-default swaps.

Goldman charged more than AIG for the protection, so it was able to pocket the difference, making millions while moving the default risks to AIG, according to people familiar with the trades.

The banks eventually realized they didn't need to use Goldman as a middleman.

The trades seemed prudent at the time given AIG's strong credit rating and the fact that AIG agreed to make payments to Goldman, known as collateral, if the value of the CDOs declined. The trades were also low risk for Goldman as long as AIG stayed afloat. ...

..."It seems shocking to me that Goldman would become so exposed to AIG and kept doing deals with them and laying on the risk," says Tom Savage, a former chief executive of AIG's financial products unit who left in 2001 before the explosive growth of insuring mortgage-debt pools....

...A Goldman spokesman said that between mid-2007 and early 2008, Goldman showed AIG "market price levels" at which trades could be undone, allowing AIG to decrease its risk, but "AIG refused to accept that the market was deteriorating...."
Update: 12/11/09

House Passes Sweeping Financial Oversight Bill with a 233-202 Vote

House Tightens Rules for Wall Street Over Opposition (Update1)

Unfortunately it wasn't in enough trouble.

This thing is full of loopholes.
Again, it seems like people on all sides of the fence are against this from all ends of the spectrum. So again, the House misrepresented the people.

again, Matt Taibbi of the Rolling Stones has his take on it. (Why is the political writer of an entertainment magazine giving better information on the bill than Fox, NBC and WSJ?)

"Then the committee went to work — and the loopholes started to appear.

The most notable of these came in the proposal to regulate derivatives like credit-default swaps. Even Gary Gensler, the former Goldmanite whom Obama put in charge of commodities regulation, was pushing to make these normally obscure investments more transparent, enabling regulators and investors to identify speculative bubbles sooner. But in August, a month after Gensler came out in favor of reform, Geithner slapped him down by issuing a 115-page paper called "Improvements to Regulation of Over-the-Counter Derivatives Markets" that called for a series of exemptions for "end users" — i.e., almost all of the clients who buy derivatives from banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Even more stunning, Frank's bill included a blanket exception to the rules for currency swaps traded on foreign exchanges — the very instruments that had triggered the Long-Term Capital Management meltdown in the late 1990s. ...

...An even bigger loophole could do far worse damage to the economy. Under the original bill, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission were granted the power to ban any credit swaps deemed to be "detrimental to the stability of a financial market or of participants in a financial market." By the time Frank's committee was done with the bill, however, the SEC and the CFTC were left with no authority to do anything about abusive derivatives other than to send a report to Congress. The move, in effect, would leave the kind of credit-default swaps that brought down AIG largely unregulated....

...but then again, actual people are not really part of the calculus when it comes to finance reform. According to those close to the markup process, Frank's committee inserted loopholes under pressure from "constituents" — by which they mean anyone "who can afford a lobbyist," says Michael Greenberger, the former head of trading at the CFTC under Clinton.

This pattern would repeat itself over and over again throughout the fall. Take the centerpiece of Obama's reform proposal: the much-ballyhooed creation of a Consumer Finance Protection Agency to protect the little guy from abusive bank practices. Like the derivatives bill, the debate over the CFPA ended up being dominated by horse-trading for loopholes. In the end, Frank not only agreed to exempt some 8,000 of the nation's 8,200 banks from oversight by the castrated-in-advance agency, leaving most consumers unprotected, he allowed the committee to pass the exemption by voice vote, meaning that congressmen could side with the banks without actually attaching their name to their "Aye."

To win the support of conservative Democrats, Frank also backed down on another issue that seemed like a slam-dunk: a requirement that all banks offer so-called "plain vanilla" products, such as no-frills mortgages, to give consumers an alternative to deceptive, "fully loaded" deals like adjustable-rate loans. Frank's last-minute reversal — made in consultation with Geithner — was such a transparent giveaway to the banks that even an economics writer for Reuters, hardly a far-left source, called it "the beginning of the end of meaningful regulatory reform."...

...A masterpiece of legislative chicanery, the measure would have given the White House permanent and unlimited authority to execute future bailouts of megaconglomerates like Citigroup and Bear Stearns.

Democrats pushed the move as politically uncontroversial, claiming that the bill will force Wall Street to pay for any future bailouts and "doesn't use taxpayer money." In reality, that was complete bullshit. The way the bill was written, the FDIC would basically borrow money from the Treasury — i.e., from ordinary taxpayers — to bail out any of the nation's two dozen or so largest financial companies that the president deems in need of government assistance. After the bailout is executed, the president would then levy a tax on financial firms with assets of more than $10 billion to repay the Treasury within 60 months — unless, that is, the president decides he doesn't want to! "They can wait indefinitely to repay," says Rep. Brad Sherman of California, who dubbed the early version of the bill "TARP on steroids."

The new bailout authority also mandated that future bailouts would not include an exchange of equity "in any form" — meaning that taxpayers would get nothing in return for underwriting Wall Street's mistakes.

Even more outrageous, it specifically prohibited Congress from rejecting tax giveaways to Wall Street, as it did last year, by removing all congressional oversight of future bailouts. In fact, the resolution authority proposed by Frank was such a slurpingly obvious blow job of Wall Street that it provoked a revolt among his own committee members, with junior Democrats waging a spirited fight that restored congressional oversight to future bailouts, requires equity for taxpayer money and caps assistance to troubled firms at $150 billion. Another amendment to force companies with more than $50 billion in assets to pay into a rainy-day fund for bailouts passed by a resounding vote of 52 to 17 — with the "Nays" all coming from Frank and other senior Democrats loyal to the administration...."

Sarah Bond just linked a video from Michelle Bachmann regarding Barney Frank's Financial Reform Legislation.

I wrote this up several days ago, this is a shady,shady bill and the media was very quiet about it.

In a market where there's nothing left for banks to steal, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are busy doodling up the new bank reform. These highly educated sellouts are just crafting wordy legislation to fix, well nothing. ...

In reality, what the banks need is just a modernized Glass Stegall Act, a clearinghouse for commodities especially subprime derivatives just to make sure they're secured this time and most importantly, stop putting the fox in front of the hen house. Which they refuse to do.

Of course not one of the criminals who committed the massive fraud is being put on trail, or being sent to the slammer. but instead are being bailed out with OUR tax dollars.


our legislative branch
our executive branch
the Federal Reserve
the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission)-led by Gensler
the ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association)-led by Pickel
the Boomer voting base that's overlooking this krap
realtors and speculators who took up good deals to inflate real estate prices to unrealistic levels.
the media- who blows smoke and mirrors to keep the public confused on this crime


the lenders


the taxpayers
the market investors
first time primary home owners who have not been able to afford real estate with legitimate mortgages on real wages

Even back in 2005, money managers (including hedge funds) noticed that many of the subprimes they were sold were not backed by bonds- the way they were supposed to be. They attempted to report this to the CFTC, but the CFTC was not picking up their phone.

So how massive IS this fraud?

The majority of the problems are reflected not in the technicality of the product, but is made obvious as to how the process of regulation is enforced (or not).

Yes, Goldman Sachs owns the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve is a privately held institution that is held by several banks, only half which are American. Fine.

But as primary dealers to the Federal Reserve, they are WAY too involved in creating regulation. They have a conflict of interest; again the fox is guarding the hen house.

The institutions that should be involved with this legislation are the hedge funds, money managers and other markets for the subprime derivatives, including international investors, not sellers. Giving the lenders 100% authority with no checks and balances only weighs the law in their favor.

The lenders during the subprime trade were the same banks that owned the Federal Reserve.
the lenders who sold counterfeit subprimes in the 1st place, aka. the" ISDA Industry Governance Committee’s membership".

Does Bernanke have a conflict of interest? YES HE DOES.

But even with the Federal Reserve out of the picture, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs- just two of the lending institutions that purposely "exposed themselves" (selling counterfeit derivatives) did not go to trial and they're being granted the authority to oversee regulation of the commodities market they just abused!

2/3rd of the ISDA Governance Committee's Membership consists of derivative dealers including but not exclusively JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. Only 1/3rd consists of the buy(investment) side including Hedge Fund, Insurance Co and Money Managers.

So what happens when you put the fox in front of the henhouse? LOOPHOLES!!!!

"The Crafting of a Loophole


Those who respect the law and love sausage should watch neither being made.

--Mark Twain.

AMENDMENT TO THE PETERSON SUBSTITUTE FOR H.R. 3795 (a) OFFERED BY MR. PETERSON OF MINNESOTA (b) Page 21, after line 25, insert the following:

(19) by adding at the end the following:

‘‘(50) ALTERNATIVESWAP EXECUTIONFACILITY. (c).—The term ‘alternative swap execution facility’ means a service that facilitates (d) the execution ortrading of swaps between two persons through any means of interstate commerce, but which is not a designated contract market (e), including any electronic trade execution or confirmation facility (f) or any voice brokerage facility (g).’’

Now let’s see what went into this legislative sausage.

(a) Everyone agrees that the unregulated “dark markets” of Wall Street’s trading in over-the-counter derivatives such as credit default swaps moved the financial crisis from major problem to total disaster. Currently, most trades in these “products” are privately negotiated on the phone, dealer to dealer. It’s appallingly risky – that’s why we have a multi-trillion dollar bailout. But because the dealers at major banks can quote different prices to different customers, with huge spreads between buy and sell quotes, the banks are making huge profits and want to keep it that way.

So while congress is busy working on reform legislation, Wall Street’s lawyer-lobbyists in Washington are working hard to neutralize such efforts.

Who’s winning? Over lunch across town from Capitol Hill, I recently asked that question of a very smart attorney endowed with deep experience in keeping Washington safe for Wall Street. In answer, he pointed to this seven-line paragraph buried in a 26-page amendment to “HR 3795, Over-The-Counter Derivatives Markets Act of 2009,” passed in a voice vote by the House Agriculture Committee the night before. Following the vote, the committee had issued a press release hailing their vote for “strengthening” regulation.

On the contrary, said my friend, “I guarantee you that not a single member, and almost certainly no one else, apart from the traders on Wall Street and the lobbyist who inserted it on their behalf, understood the significance of this paragraph. It means that nothing will change.”

(b) Colin Peterson (D-MN) is the Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture. He is on record as asserting “The banks run this place…It’s huge the amount they put into politics.”

(c) An “alternative swap execution facility” is intended by the original drafters of the bill to be a new, fully regulated market for trading over-the-counter derivatives – a technologically enhanced version of the various futures exchanges currently operating, such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where transactions and prices are open for all to see.

(d) A beautiful word. Now the “execution” facility doesn’t have to be an actual exchange. It has just been redefined as merely something that “facilitates” the execution of a swap trade.

(e) Reinforces the point that a “facility” does not have to be one of those transparent exchanges. But wasn’t that what the bill is meant to make happen?

(f) In 2005 the major swaps dealers, under pressure from the New York Fed, set up an electronic “confirmation facility” to keep track of trades, which the dealers control. Not much openness here.

(g) “Voice brokerage.” This means a telephone, as used by a dealer setting prices that are not publicly disclosed. That’s what the dealers were doing the last time they led our financial system over a cliff, and that’s the system that is preserved by this one little paragraph.

With H.R. 4173 – “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009.”, voice brokerages, execution facilities...

but YAY! the Government "Accountability" Office gets to audit Fed activities.


If we used the anology "fox guarding the hen house" this is exactly how it will pan out. The Fox is writing all of the rules. The fox will keep the hens for himself and secure derivatives with rubber chickens for everyone else. The fox will make up a bunch of rules so they can manipulate how many rubber chickens can be traded in a day to inflate the value of the hens, etc. Since they're writing the rules, they know too well how to manipulate this. The Fox will deem this "free market" when this is a fascist danger at the expense of the rubber chicken investors, their competition by socializing the fox's losses to the taxpayers as he keeps the "free market" manipulated gains.


Even Ed Harrison from the Huff Po is calling this out.

and Newsweek

Why don't we put the Better Business Bereau's biggest violators in charge of the Consumer Protection Act? Literally, why not have bank robbers legislate security for safe deposits? Let's not stop there! Let gang members have complete control over the 2nd Amendment and let Jeffrey Dahmer fix legislation on how to sentence convicted mass murderers? Infact, Jeffrey Dahmer was just placed on the Victim Witness Assistance Program and other institutions to push for his reform.


Under the new banking reform, a taxpayer supplied umbrella insurance policy will be the business continuity plan every time a bank purposely exposes itself and falls on it's hindquarters. Which will happen again knowing how well the CFTC didn't call out the sale of counterfeit subprime vehicles in the past when it was reported to them.

The saga doesn't end there. The CFTC legislates the entire futures market which not only consists of subprime debts, but metals and other commodities.

A cavalcade of similar letters eventually allowed bank speculators to control entire markets, even though they possessed little or none of the commodity being traded, are not engaged in any legitimate commodity related business, and earn their living by trading back and forth on the futures exchanges.

The bottom line is that CFTC has erroneously allowed hedging against hedges. Translated, they have allowed hedges against speculation, not production. This has become a toxic poison which corrupted the futures markets from their intended purpose.

“Hedging against a hedge” is the ultimate manipulative activity, because it allows the creator of speculative instruments (derivatives) to create unlimited quantities of an imaginary commodity stockpile, taking real supply and demand out of the equation.

More frightening is the fact that, when a firm hedges against a derivative, they will be leveraged on both sides of the transaction, while not being in possession of the real commodity. No rational bank, or other person, can consistently earn a profit, on such risk, especially where a futures contract is subject to a possible delivery demands, unless they are able to manipulate the market up and down.

In spite of all the chatter from CFTC about “reform”, their current concern seems limited to helping derivatives dealers to head off serious limits on speculative activity imposed directly by Congress. Were Congress to enact such limits, derivatives dealers, like Goldman Sachs, would find it impossible to use CFTC staffers to circumvent position limits.

Under the Capitol Hill Circus Tent; Congress and Obama will probably sign this with big grin on their faces, hustling bribes from K Street (lobbyist hub in Washington D.C.) with absolutely no clue or care in the world as to what they just did to the American people.

Obama has already kept Robert Pickel as head of the ISDA after he didn't do his job in the last 10 years. Obama is keeping Gensler and the CFTC around to recreate the counterfeit subprime market. Infact, Gensler helped draft the Commodities Futures Modernization Act which contained loopholes that allowed subprimes to be traded without securitization. Pickel and Gensler are two other men who need to be on trial for the subprime collapse.

Then Arianna Puffington, Paul Krugman, Michael Moore and Naomi Klein will cry that legislative incompetence is the result of capitalism. The liberals will continue to blame dissenters of this policy as redneck racists when it is THEY who fail to understand what is being boycotted.

The people to the right will continue to blame poor minorities and liberal legislation allowing the poor minorities to get screwed by the system; then pray that this will recover the overpriced real estate values.

The political theater is so predictable that one can come up with a pretty good drinking game to their reaction to the mess. Congress and our legislators are complete retards or just blatantly corrupt.

In this picture, she is signing away over $700 billion of our tax dollars to save criminals. She does so with the biggest grin on her face. How big was HER payout?

So San Francisco, JOHN DENNIS is her opponent for 2010. THIS TIME SF HAS NO EXCUSES!!

The employment/population growth dropped 60% in the last decade. (see bottom table "jobless recovery" on Wikipedia).
To the Boomers who don't get it- TARP is not bringing back the housing bubble.

Instant replay...

TARP is not bringing back the housing bubble.

Shady Banking reform is not going to help. Without a stable job market, the counterfeit subprime market is going to fail. The Cost of Living Index was at 180 nationally in recent years. A fair amount is 100. The COLI for San Diego was 220, in San Francisco it was 280 and in NYC it was over 400. The lack of job growth did not enable people to buy legitimate mortgages for these now expensive homes which also pushed many to take out ARM loans to begin with, putting many at the mercy of foreclosing when credit tightened. Also, unemployment hiked and as a result of that more people foreclosed.

Only a stable job market (steady source of income for the borrower) is going to give the real estate market a stable recovery.

TARP IS A WASTE OF MONEY. IT DOES NOT "SAVE THE ECONOMY". All it did was provide liquidity in the market (which is what the Federal Reserve is supposed to do) when the banks that own the fed purposely tossed away their own ability to maintain liquidity. Not that the markets are much more liquid than they were before. Credit lines are still tight. It's a year since TARP has passed.

Seriously, we have to pick better representatives to guard our interest since TARP will be a permanent addition. Until Barney Frank describes how the taxpayers won't be liable for the FDIC's "special fund" to take over banks, we have to assume that this money will be taken from Uncle Sam's coffers somehow. This isn't sound fiscal policy.

Frank said the taxpayer would not be placed at risk, "not according to this bill," he said. "There was some suggestion of that and I've stricken it from the bill." Republicans universally opposed the measure, describing it and the rest of the bill as a permanent bailout for banks.

Until we know where this money will come from, after the initial bailouts and no trial for these criminals; the taxpayers, without our knowledge and consent are 100% exposed to the crimes of the banks.

A blog called "New Deal" came up with great ideas on what a proper, common sense reform would look like.
"1. Prohibit regulated and protected financial institutions from trading derivatives. All financial institutions with access to the Fed’s lending as well as any financial institution with Treasury guarantees on liabilities (such as FDIC insurance) would be prohibited from selling or buying any derivatives. All assets would be carried on bank books through maturity-with full exposure to interest rate, currency, and default risk. That provides the correct incentives to protected lending institutions. Underwriting would be assured-since institutions could not shed default risk through securitization. Any institution that was foolish enough to play across exchange rates (lending in one currency while borrowing in another) would bear the risks. And any that tried to play the maturity curve would be subject to rising short-term rates. Personally, I would put tight constraints on the Fed to avoid another Paul Volcker “experiment” (he killed the thrifts by pushing overnight rates above 20%), but that is a matter for another blog. So forget the attempts to regulate derivatives markets. All that is necessary is to prohibit regulated and protected institutions from playing with them.

2. Abandon “too big to fail” and “systemically important” doctrine in favor of a “too big to save” and “systemically dangerous” approach. It is likely that all the largest financial institutions are insolvent, in spite of their machinations to manufacture imaginary trading profits. So, close them down. It’s the law. Insolvent institutions are supposed to be resolved, at the least cost to the Treasury; all we need to add is a proviso that they must be resolved in manner that does not increase industry concentration. The top 4 banks (BofA, Citi, JPMorgan-Chase, and Wells Fargo) have about half of the industry, and there is little doubt that each is massively insolvent and systemically dangerous. Shut them down. If there is collateral damage, deal with it. Leaving them open not only encourages each to “bet the bank” through excessively risky trades, but also tells all other financial institutions that their only hope is to join the “too big to fail” club through unsustainable growth that requires they adopt the same failing strategies adopted by the behemoths.

3. Forget about regulating the top 3 ratings agencies — they are beyond hope. Instead, prohibit regulated and protected institutions from using any ratings obtained by sellers of securities. Instead, they should be required to purchase ratings services from arms-length professionals, with the top 3 monopolists specifically excluded because they have demonstrated their inability to provide unbiased ratings. Further, make ratings agencies liable for improper ratings, imposing a fiduciary responsibility to actually evaluate any instruments that are rated. The top 3 never actually looked at any of the mortgages that collateralized the securities they rated-it was all too pedestrian for them. As we now know from internal emails, they did not have the loan tapes (the data provided by borrowers), the experience (they had no expertise in rating mortgages-all of their experience was in rating corporate and government debt), nor the time to assess credit risk. And they have never understood how to rate sovereign government debt (on which there is no default risk-yet the ratings agencies provided higher ratings to NINJA loans than to riskless sovereign debt) If anyone wants to purchase debt rated by these nincompoops, I wish them luck. But we must prohibit banks and other protected institutions from purchasing the garbage."

The first bailouts was highway robbery. It was unpopular and Congress still passed it. The same banks that own the Federal Reserve got bailed out and they're on the ISDA Governance Committee.

This bill has to be stopped or we can consider our country an oligarchy, not a democracy.

1 comment:

  1. Dana Walsh is running for Congress against Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco.

    Check out her website at:

    Vote Nancy Pelosi out of office in 2010!