Financial News, Politics, and other Skullduggery

Financial News, Politics, And Other Skulduggery

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More cracks in the ice

Greece and Italian presidents step down while new governments are organized, the Eurozone looks to separate itself from other European countries, Germany positions itself as financial leader, today bank shutdowns are happening in Latvia and Lithuania. Are we seeing more cracks in an already thinning veneer of ice which separates the global economy from the inevitable: collapse? Meanwhile, as the MF Global scam reveals itself, JP Morgan is slapped with the biggest fine ever.

Hedge fund broker Ann Barnhardt, after shutting down her own firm BCM, says:

“I could no longer tell my clients that their monies and positions were safe in the futures and options markets – because they are not,” And this goes not just for my clients, but for every futures and options account in the United States. The entire system has been utterly destroyed by the MF Global collapse. Given this sad reality, I could not in good conscience take one more step as a commodity broker, soliciting trades that I knew were unsafe or holding funds that I knew to be in jeopardy."
"...I have learned over the last week that MF Global is almost certainly the mere tip of the iceberg. There is massive industry-wide exposure to European sovereign junk debt. While other firms may not be as heavily leveraged as Corzine had MFG leveraged, and it is now thought that MFG’s leverage may have been in excess of 100:1, they are still suicidally leveraged and will likely stand massive, unmeetable collateral calls in the coming days and weeks as Europe inevitably collapses."

The derivatives market is valued at 1.2 quadrillion dollars. Putting that number in perspective, betelgeuse, the red giant star that is unimaginably larger than our sun, is 4 quadrillion miles away and appears in the night sky barely as a speck of starlight. The GDP of the US is 14 trillion dollars, its entire money supply is 15 trillion dollars,, while entire world GDP is 50 trillion. Does that sound over-inflated? Do pigs with dollar signs have wings?

In other news...

Last week Lithuania’s fifth largest bank, Snoras, was nationalised as Lithuanian authorities shut down the bank after it observed irregularities in the bank’s operations. This morning the Latvian authorities suspended the Latvijas Krajbanka (Latvian Savings Bank). Krajbanka is Latvia’s ninth largest bank.

We think the systemic risk from these events should be relatively limited if handled properly by the authorities. That said, the collapse of especially Snoras is not good news for the Lithuanian economy as it creates uncertainty about the economic outlook. In our view it is especially important that the nationalisation of Snoras is handled in such a way as to put minimal pressure on Lithuanian public finances that are in a precarious state as it is. A full nationalisation of Snoras in the sense of taking over all liabilities would be unwarranted.

Yesterday Lithuanian Prime Minister Kubilis said that the problems at Snoras might involve “shady financial transactions” (according to the news agency Reuters) and the case was more “complicated” than initially thought. Lithuanian central bank governor Vasiliauskas at a news conference said that “we thought it was a flu, but now it seems to be a small cancer”. These comments obviously give some reason for concern.
So far the market reaction in the local markets has been limited. Not surprisingly the share price of some of the small locally-owned banks in Lithuania has been under pressure. This morning there is also a bit of pressure on the Latvian lat and local rates and yields are up a bit.

Furthermore, last week when the news of Snoras’ collapse broke we saw an initial minor negative reaction in the Swedish krona, but since then there has not been any visible spillover to the Scandinavian FX and fixed income markets, where the euro debt crisis continues to dominate.

According to Snoras, the bank is Lithuania’s fourth-largest by capital size and ranks fifth in terms of assets. The exact causes behind Snoras’s financial difficulties have not been made clear. The idea of a bank-run causes shivers in Latvia. In November 2008, it nationalized Parex, the Baltic state’s largest locally-owned bank, after depositors jittery about the country’s deepening economic crisis began withdrawing their cash. A month later, Latvia was forced to turn the EU and International Monetary Fund for a 7.5-billion-euro emergency loan package, which has been paid out in tranches amid one of the most draconian austerity drives in Europe. Latvia’s economy shrank by 18 percent in 2009, the deepest recession in the 27-nation EU, but has been recovering for a year. -Lativa Limits Bank Withdrawals On Lithuania Spillover Fears

Friday, November 4, 2011

Vultures take to the Squawk Box

John Kanas is Chairman and CEO with Bank United. Oliver Sarkozy, brother of Nicolas Sarkozy, is on the board of Bank United and Managing Director of the Carlyle Group, buying troubled financial institutions around the world. When financial players toss around figures, numbers seem to enter the realm of the imaginary. Indeed, we live in a world devised around many fictions where livelihoods become statistic rather than actual tangible reality.

While "urgent action is needed" in the global economy today, you'll not find any of the profiteers offering genuine solutions other than that of extended borrowing and further bail-outs. Those making such pleas are generally on the ground protesting while being ridiculed for expressing their opinions. And as long as the rich are still able to siphon off the lowest tiers (where wealth is created) it's business as usual, at least until the rigged game is finally revealed for what it is.

What's John Kanas up to? (May 2010)
By Steve Cocheo, executive editor,

The former CEO of North Fork Bank and his private equity partners is converting Florida’s BankUnited, a failed S&L, into “North Fork South,” using the same aggressive tactics he used in New York.

John Kanas and a group of private equity players—with help from FDIC—work to remake Florida’s failed BankUnited using the North Fork Bank playbook

John Kanas isn’t one for apologies. He brings a New Yorker’s direct attitude and action to the Florida banking market. His $11.1 billion-assets BankUnited, since its recapitalization after closure, has made a very public effort to snatch up bankers from other organizations who can help the reborn savings institution build and transform its business. When told that a Florida community banker accused BankUnited of “lack of decorum,” Kanas smiles, raises his hand, and says, “Guilty.”

“Look,” says Kanas. “Banking is changing. For many years the relations between bankers have been collegial, fraternal. Times are different today. Our job is go find the best possible employees we can, and put them to work managing our capital base, and turning their work into successful results. Unfortunately for some of our competitors, some of our people used to work for them. And we have been aggressive going after them.”

Kanas has never been shy in this regard. He built North Fork Bancorporation into a major New York-area player and the sixteenth-largest bank in the country from a community bank in rural Long Island. He accomplished that, in part, by courting commercial lending “rainmakers.”
BankUnited actually ran ads in 2009 urging Florida bankers who wanted to enjoy their work again to fill out a coupon in the ad to resign, and come to join Kanas.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Politicians backlash at the thought of doing anything for a change

The Prime Minister of Greece, George Papandreou , was forced to retract a call for a referendum to deal with its massive looming debt crisis. It's not that the attempt would have amounted to very much, actually (aside from giving the people of Greece a chance to direct their own fate)--it's the simple thought of having to do anything at all that has troubled world leaders, and the possibility of Greece exiting the Euro Zone. The European leaders are clinging to notions of keeping the EU as one, just the same as American leaders wish to keep the "too big to fail" banks from failing. While the small local banks are allowed to fail, it is the large corporate banks at the center of the mess that are reaping the rewards and have received the lion's share of aid from the tax-payers, most of which will never be paid back.

Greece is at the front lines of the greater economic crisis, while the United States is not far behind (with riots, tire burning, and increased police crack-downs likely to come). But as long as the great illusion is perpetuated, things will be stretched out a little further, perhaps until sometime in 2012 or 2013. It's difficult to say for sure--it was actually a wonder the house of cards didn't fall back in 2008 (faith is obviously a very strong force). We've become complacent living in the present and recent past, confident that nothing will change despite our unsustainable lifestyles.

From the looks of it, we can expect the Occupy Movement to stick around a little while longer, and possibly even rebound more strongly after winter, if for no other reason than the dynamic must change but those at the top are in place to resist change.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

LET MY PEEPHOLE GO: A Review of Presidential Candidates, by Salamander Fantômas

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a despairing cry for radical change in America, the sort of change that we are reminded can only be effected through our sacrosanct two-party democracy. "Conservatism" is now the byword for “change,” and the Republican party of change is currently advertising hope weekly in an inter-party tv debate marathon. So now is a good time to review the field of presidential candidates, because before very long their names will be lost to the dust bunnies of time, and at that point no one will know who you’re talking about. Who are these people and what do they really stand for? It is time for some answers.

You wouldn’t guess it by looking at her now, but Michelle Bachman was born without arms. Her parents naturally believed this state permanent and raised her to use her legs and feet as compensatory instruments, much after the manner of Frances O'Connor in the movie "Freaks." But to her caregivers’ astonishment, the buds of nascent limbs appeared on Michelle’s torso in her third year and within months had developed into full-size and completely functional arms. Still, Michelle has barely the upper-body strength to break a soap bubble, and she still readily reverts to her earlier training (as when one sees her at the debates absent-mindedly picking her teeth with her toenails), but nevertheless the Bachman juggernaut is in overdrive. She’s taking care of business, and you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Can we all come together? Yes, but it takes a lot of people, which was a song on an album that didn't have Randy on it.

Rick Perry also has arm issues and many people assume the shingles which grace his appendages are the result of an exotic skin condition. In fact, close examination of those fleshy flaps shows them to be finely articulated with thin bones like bat wings. Even more surprising, if Rick’s wig is peeled back one will find it beneath a cluster of writhing bat heads straining to break free. It would seem that the world around Rick Perry is like the mass of rock around a cave, and these bats are wistfully clinging to the interior walls of Cavern Rick.

Mitt Romney is a Mormon but have no fear: he has only one wife because, face it, in the looks department he’s no Warren Jeffs.

Herman Cain has the ability to see what other men cannot. The internal wiring of a refrigerator, ghosts, festering ulcers, the point of being in these debates – all the little things that escape the regular man’s perception are like glow-in-the-dark flower decals stuck to the eyeballs of the candidate who put the pizza in pizzazz, the next President of these United Things: Citizen Herman.

And there are yet more candidates who could be named, given the inclination.

— Salamander Fantômas

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Around The City
Photos by Pierre Moustache

Even a well-oiled machine needs minor
adjustments here and there.

Police busy at work.

Environment, Culture, Religion

Picture Stories Around The World
Photos by Pierre Moustache

Picture of some woods in the distance.

Local community events take shape.

Economics is based on consumption,
or the acquisition of thoughts for
simple pleasures.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What's good for tourism?

A real man is not someone that protests the rich but one who, spotting another man's Mercedes Benz, stops to think "one day I might only be so lucky". Good luck with that, young man!

Foreigners are attracted to America because they know it is the world's number one destination for spending, consuming, and crazy casino-style gambling in the markets. To the protesters out there in the streets today who might find flaw with God All-Mighty's economic system: you are not a patriot; rather, you are the problem and not the solution.


With all of the activity of late on the streets in NY and elsewhere, vendors are finding it difficult to pass off cheap souvenirs and t-shirts with banal advertising slogans on them to patrons. Police are looking to clean up the streets as quickly as possible in order to remedy the sticky situation. Law-makers, doing their diligent part, are working to put together legislation that will ban all signage without logo and legal trademarks clearly displayed on them to officers of the law.

One democratic law-maker sympathetic to the cause urged protestors to keep it simple in order to avoid confusion and trouble. For instance, he suggested displaying such friendly and uncontroversial signage as: "Get Met, It Pays" or "Have A Coke And A Smile!". It was unclear whether he was connected to either corporation.

Supposing the Occupy Wall Street movement fails to lose steam as authorities are desperately hoping, there are still those who stand ready to profit. Whether it be the likes of Juicy Couture, the irrelevant but ever-present MTV1-4, or indeed the banks themselves is unimportant; rest assured that capital will never cease its upward flow. Ultimately, the revolution will be televised, if confiscated.


Or so you might be lead to believe. [A picture of a woman named Sally working diligently at the bomb assembly plant, alongside her 3 children, Raytheon, Boeing, and G.E., putting in 16 hours each day. Bombs ensure peace, stability and the American Way of Life. It can be confusing in trying to determine who the real terrorists are sometimes, but a good indication usually is 1) the color of the skin of the individual in question 2) their occupation and how much money they make and, finally 3) the country of origin. If one is born in America one is most likely not a terrorist, however that is quickly changing (no thanks to any limp-wristed croissants on the other side of the Atlantic who be hating on freedom). Does your government support terrorism? Ours certainly doesn't! We set the standards for behavior around the world, spreading democracy ever since 1776. Just ask our friends, the Native Americans.]


Bombs are not toys. Factories with bombs for adults are not playgrounds for kids. The roofs of factories for adults should be designed so that light travels inward but adults can not readily travel outward (this is common sense), while children remain separately confined. We try to emphasize that hopes and dreams have no place in the work-place, regardless of age, other than to aid in the commoditization of desire, but this too is common sense.

It may help to have the insides of non-bomb factories painted with zebras and giraffes, as long as attention is not too diverted from the work routine, however nature, being as it is-an undue nuisance at best - is to be avoided most of the time. Until we reach the final stage that toaster ovens can replicate themselves, we will be stuck carving out the world one young hand at a time. As we are quickly learning through science, opinion is just a minor inconvenience. And as one of my favorite sayings goes, if the mice are willing to play in the maze: let them eat cheese.

For now, let's keep children where they belong: inside factories, away from bombs and not blowing up buildings, which is always counter-intuitive to economic growth.

Mind Puzzles

WHAT weighs more, a pig or
a BANKER and his MONEY?
EASY! A banker and his money!
Solution: end all money!

Sheila's tips on beauty and lifestyle

It's a tough game out there and no one gets a second chance, so we should always look our best. Remember to be attractive and smell pleasant. Reconcile differences with parents, help find lost pets whenever possible and wave to your neighbors often. Do whatever feels best, but please, whatever you do, don't think for yourself! The last thing we need in a complacent, unquestioning society bent on SELF-DESTRUCTION are individuals with unoccupied minds diddling about aimlessly asking questions. If you are currently unemployed, you should probably be begging to be accepted to one of the many fine occupation mills called schools that are available in order to better suit yourself for service to your masters and help prop up the failing casino economy with more debt before it ultimately belly-flops into oblivion. Time is running out, so get your front row tickets today.

I'll be sure to have more beauty and lifestyle tips in the future. Thanks for reading! - Sheila


Too late, you are now being surveiled!
Follow these instructions: carefully back
away; pretend to be tying your shoe;
next, bolt through the nearest available
doorway. You are now part of the revolution
whether you like it or not!

Guess what? We are gaining great company
by the minute! Deloris the nanny just joined
yesterday and so did Trent the reasonable
accountant! Hey, life is still grand!



This just in: everyone is full of crap. Yeah, and so what? Human nature is centered around the basic premise that GREED IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT, BABY! Hallelujah! Tune out, go see another Hollywood film, and shut your mouth.

Now moving on along...

Financial Sense - It starts in the Work Place

Financial sense should dictate all action at home and in the work-place. And in every miscreant there is a good manager in training. Thankfully, we put all our trust in false idols and the cult of personality to foster cultural education and training. If one is gregarious, there are any number of groups designed to facilitate the furtherance of oppression and guilt outside of the church (separation of church and state). Go look them up! The economy is not in trouble, like many well-intending individuals would have you believe, in fact it is quite the opposite: there are many decently paid women today with staplers as heads that can not get enough clerical work. There are the elderly who are unemployed, so they offer themselves up as door-stoppers in busy office spaces, and likely are paid very well I might add. All work is meant to bore you into complacency and then, ultimately, death--a basic truth that shall not be taken for granted. But it is those who rise above that of the common employee, who, reaching the apogee of their perceived orbits, stop to ask the question: but how can I rise even higher? And the answer is always to either hire another manager or create a new rule for the work-place. When it comes to working with stubborn employees, it can be a little trying on the patience. Just how does one pull lemons from a bull, you might ask? (Answer: directly through its ass). Termination is usually a step of last resort, but if a life must be ended--so be it--think of it as creating more job opportunities for the unemployed and lazy classes.

And that is your financial sense for today.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

A hemmorhoid ad

"At least now I'm hemmorhoid free, unlike my fat boss who craps flames while barking orders", says customer Samantha W., while bending over to clean up the puke left over from another corporate party, complete with whores, cocaine and all night sex, who just received her walking papers after enduring a sexual assault from her superiors and a special reaming in the way of a demotion to janitorial services from senior investing consultant after a liquidation of another children's school failed to bring in sufficient profits.

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Shout outs and big ups

And now a quick special mention. Let's give a big round of applause to existence just for being! Without it we never would have had breath mints, custom tailored suits, bridge parties, or berets for pugs. And how about shawls? I'm not sure about you, but I love eating buttered popcorn while watching Magnum P.I. reruns and listening to the sound of the telephone ringing incessantly in the background while the drapes are on fire.

Entertainment news

The economy is going down Hollywood-style. Everyone is hurting from unemployment, high mortgages and a steadily decreasing quality of life. So what to do?

To help remedy the situation everyone ought to:

A) enroll in an online cooking class as therapy B) buy the Everyone Loves Raymond DVD box set for your spouse C) boil your Michael Bolton cassette tapes for dinner or D) get in your SUV and drive randomly into the sunset.

Answer: All of the above!


Be All You Can Be

Things are heating up in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. If you want to get into the best shape of your life, join the military today! Limited money back guarantee. Must be willing to travel. Send SASE plus $2.99 shipping and handling for your starter package. On the job training for the right individual. INQUIRE WITHIN. WE ALSO OFFER A NO MAN LEFT BEHIND POLICY WHEREVER POSSIBLE.

Vacation News


Every day, all over the world, from the South Pacific to Indonesia, they are building more luxury hotels with bath houses to put up fat rich white men that like to push around non-english speaking maids with their index fingers and throw peasant workers into cooking vats when their cream brulees are not up to snuff. In order to fund this ever-growing project, in what is already being dubbed Guantanamo Bay 2.0: Let's go to Hawaii or Somewhere Else Exotic, individuals of all different stripes, including home-grown terrorists, house-wives, hard-working dads and little would-be criminals ages 2 and up, are being rounded up and shipped over-seas for quality employment and luxury hotel expansion.

The government, too broke to pay for anything anymore, has decided it's had enough with its empty notions of freedom once and for all. From now on labor is a right and YOU can be taken away at any given time! So grab your sun tan lotion and earn an advance spot today. Thanks to climate change the beaches are really starting to heat up!


It is only to be expected that when the masses revolt through lack of reason, punishment shall be endured. That was the case when 1,000 grandmothers were arrested while crossing intersections in random places on suspicion of causing mischief and potential riot. Meanwhile, thank God the rich class--banker and CEO--are safe and their "entitlement" programs and "hand-outs" in tact. No one likes a sore loser, so get over yourselves people.

And now a message from our sponsors (who could not afford a full-length video commercial at this time because of the ever-sinking economy).

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A woman lounges on a chair by the pool.

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