Jail time demanded for bad bankers

The latest scandal to hit the banking world has led to renewed calls for the authorities to finally clamp down on malpractice by jailing traders. But will the foreign exchange fraud, the latest in a long list of malpractices, force banks to change their ways?
“In most businesses, the normal penalties for defrauding a customer include the risk of a jail sentence,” read a recent Financial Times editorial. “If the authorities really want to change the culture of the trading desk, criminal sanctions must become a more vivid possibility.”
Switzerland’s public prosecutor appears to have opened the door to this possibility by starting criminal probes into several people connected with forex fraud at UBS. The allegations of financial mismanagement and breaching banking secrecy laws carry respective penalties of up to five and three years in prison.
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) is also investigating 11 individuals, including managers, having until now only demanded that UBS hands back CHF134 million ($140 million) in fraudulently obtained profits.

This post was published at SwissInfo

Our Lawless Government

Of course the real story is being overlooked here…
WASHINGTON – A Justice Department official on Friday defended the legality of a program to scoop up data from thousands of mobile phones as the secret operation came under scrutiny from lawmakers and caught the federal agency that regulates the nation’s airwaves by surprise.
The Justice Department, without formally acknowledging the existence of the program, defended the legality of the operation by the U. S. Marshals Service, saying the agency doesn’t maintain a database of everyday Americans’ cellphones.
Whether they maintain such a database is immaterial to the underlying issue, which is simply this: It is unlawful for the Marshal’s service to operate a radio transmitter on any other than a licensed frequency.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2014-11-15.

First School Installs $100K Shooting Detection System: ‘Alerts of Gunfire Within 1 Second, Near Zero False Alerts’

Introducing: the first school installation of a Shooting Detection System, brought to you by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and its affiliated contractors.
This $100,000 detection system alerts authorities automatically to gunfire with the aim of cutting response time, but it can’t stop bullets or save lives – at least not in any direct sense:
Authorities fired tester blanks Tuesday in the Methuen, Mass. school, which authorities did not name for security reasons, to demonstrate the Guardian Active Shooter Detection System, which alerts police of gunfire within one second, according to Reuters. Police officers and Democratic congresswoman Niki Tsongas attended the demonstration, but students were not present, as schools were closed for Veteran’s Day.
The technology, which boasts ‘near zero false alerts,’ was developed by Massachusetts-based Shooter Detection Systems, in partnership with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a U. S. government’s military technology development arm. The company also worked with a major defense contractor that has deployed thousands of similar gunshot detection systems to war zones. Source
Moreover:
Shooter Detection Systems’ CEO Christian Connors said the system was the first of its kind in the country, and that the company was talking to the federal government about its wider use. The system costs $50,000 to $100,000 for a school of Methuen’s size, Connors said.
The system consists of an outdoor acoustic system and 50 to 60 smoke-detector-size sensors installed in hallways and classrooms, he said. It also uses infrared cameras to detect muzzle flashes, he said.
First in the nation, the Methuen, Massachusetts school that tested the DARPA detection system is essentially demonstrating it for other schools across the country to buy it, too. But the biggest factor is

This post was published at shtfplan on November 15th, 2014.

Hacked, Cracked, and Shelacked: U.S. Weapons Systems

It is not just Target that got hacked. This appears in The Washington Post.
Designs for many of the nation’s most sensitive advanced weapons systems have been compromised by Chinese hackers, according to a report prepared for the Pentagon and to officials from government and the defense industry.
Among more than two dozen major weapons systems whose designs were breached were programs critical to U. S. missile defenses and combat aircraft and ships, according to a previously undisclosed section of a confidential report prepared for Pentagon leaders by the Defense Science Board.
Experts warn that the electronic intrusions gave China access to advanced technology that could accelerate the development of its weapons systems and weaken the U. S. military advantage in a future conflict.
This is the war of the future, and the Pentagon has no advantage. With the big systems, it is easy to steal them. It’s not World War II any longer. Everything is plugged into the Internet. The Internet is a large sign: ‘Come and get it!’ They came and got it.
Who did it? The article blames China. It could just as easily have been Russia.

This post was published at Tea Party Economist on November 15, 2014.

Judge Rakoff Blasts the Injustice of America

The legal system in the United States has collapsed into a horrible pretense of justice. On top of that, every law that is passed they include the standard language of fine and imprisonment. This turned into a huge fight with Obamacare. In the first draft buried within the 33,000 pages was the standard clause that the could throw you in prison for not having health insurance even if you could not afford it. Well it certainly would have gotten all the homeless off the streets for they would be in prison getting free healthcare then – all be a sad excuse for a real doctor.
I have written about the lone crusader in the Southern District of New York that the government does everything in their power steer their cases away from Judge Rakoff. Why? He has not been playing their game. He first came to everyone’s attention when he rejected the settlement between the SEC and Citigroup. He slammed it hard as a joke.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on November 15, 2014.

Unconstitutional Obamacare Death Panels Wreak of the Nazi-Style Extermination Process

We all remember the passage of the monstrosity called the ‘Affordable Care Act’ orObamacare. We remember how it was passed, who passed it, and the infamous words of Nancy ‘we have to pass it to know what’s in it’ Pelosi. Many spoke out about the so-called independent review board dubbed ‘death panels’ that would be used to ration care for the nation’s unconstitutional socialized medical insurance plans. Obamacare proponents labeled those speaking out about such a ‘panel’ as being against medical care for the masses or seeking to deny healthcare to those less fortunate than others. Those same proponents denied there was such a thing dubbed a ‘death panel’ further labeling those speaking out against ‘socialized’ medical insurance plans as fabricating rumors in order to obstruct Obamacare and its namesake.
As it turns out, those warning about the ‘panel’ may not have been far off the mark. AsBreitbart reports, there is an independent body authorized by Congress to make ‘recommendations’ on preventive services; and, since 2009, those recommendations have become ‘less and less generous.’ Known as the US Preventive Services Task Force(USPSTF), the body has the authority to make recommendations regarding ‘screenings, counseling services or preventative medications.’ So, how does this affect the consumerwho is enrolled and covered under Obamacare?

This post was published at The Common Sense Show on 15 Nov, 2014.

Police Monitors: Chronic Offenders. Then Offenders. Then Pre-Offenders.

Here is the #1 law of economics: ‘When the price falls, more is demanded.’
The technology of police surveillance keeps getting cheaper.
Los Angeles police are increasingly relying on technology that not only tells patrol officers where crime is most likely to occur but also identifies and keeps track of ex-cons and other bad guys they believe are most likely to commit them.
Police say the effort has already helped reduce crime in one of the city’s most notorious and historically gang-ridden neighborhoods.


This post was published at Tea Party Economist on November 15, 2014.

This is the only vote that counts

What’s the biggest lure of elections? That people have the ability to change things by voting someone else in power. At least in theory.
I try not to get too caught up in US politics these days, because that’s one of my favorite parts about going international – I don’t have to get sucked into it all on a regular basis.
US politics tends to affect you wherever you go, so more often than I’d like to I do end up check in on what’s happening.
If you’ve been following the election, I’m sure you know that the Republicans won a majority of the Senate and Obama responded by saying, ‘I hear you’, but now I’m just going to use Executive Orders to get things done.
That seems a bit anti-climactic wouldn’t you say? All that time and money spent campaigning, all those people interrupting their normal days to go vote – just to be in the same situation as before? For ‘change’ to be hollow?
People in Hong Kong have been asking themselves: is it democracy if the Chinese Communist Party chooses all the candidates?
Along the same lines, in the US when the opposition party takes control of the legislature and the president responds by saying that’s nice, but I’m going to go ahead with whatever I want to do anyway – is that democracy?
To me, this is the kind of thing you’d expect in a volatile third-world country that is pretending to be a democracy in order to receive international support.
It’s not real. Putting your vote in there doesn’t make a difference.
In fact, more than that, voting for politicians demonstrates that you accept the system. You might have your gripes with it, but you still have faith that it is fair and that it works.
It’s like coming home every night to an abusive spouse. You can say, it’s a good system at heart. I can make it change.
But in reality, that’s not going to happen. And by sticking around, you will just go down with it.

This post was published at Sovereign Man on November 14, 2014.

Your ‘Children Will Be Fined’ If You Fail To Sign Up For Obamacare: People Are Going To Be In for A Shock

Free and affordable health care just gets better and better.
In 2015 the government will be activating some new ‘incentives’ embedded in the Affordable Care Act in an effort to get more people to sign up.
But, as is often the case when the government says one thing, they mean exactly the opposite. In this case, when they say incentive what they really mean is that you are going to be penalized if you fail to acquire government mandated health insurance. But not just you. Your children, who apparently no longer belong to you anyway based on a recent court ruling, will be fined for your failure to get them on the insurance rolls:
Penalties for failing to secure a health-insurance plan will rise steeply next year, which could take a big bite out of some families’ pocketbooks.
‘The penalty is meant to incentivize people to get coverage,’ said senior analyst Laura Adams of InsuranceQuotes.com. ‘This year, I think a lot of people are going to be in for a shock.’
In 2014, Obamacare’s first year, individuals are facing a penalty of $95 per person, or 1 percent of their income, depending on which is higher. If an American failed to get coverage this year, that penalty will be taken out of their tax refund in early 2015, Adams noted.
While that might be painful to some uninsured Americans who are counting on their tax refunds in early 2015, the penalty for going uninsured next year is even harsher. The financial penalty for skipping out on health coverage will more than triple to $325 per person in 2015, or 2 percent of income, depending on whichever is higher.
Children will be fined at half the adult rate, or $162.50 for those under 18 years old.
Source: CBS News

This post was published at shtfplan on November 14th, 2014.

The U.S. Department of Justice Handles Banker Criminals Like Juvenile Offenders…Literally

These agreements were created 100 years ago to give juvenile defendants and first-time offenders a chance to for rehabilitate themselves. Only in the last 20 years have DPAs migrated to the field of corporate criminals, treating them like kids who’ve just gone down a bad path in life.
The Justice Department is leaning on these toothless agreements more and more. Of the DoJ’s 283 deferred prosecution agreements since 2000, half have come since 2010, Reilly found in a working paper for BYU Law Review.
Why has the DoJ been so keen on deferred prosecution since 2010? It coincides exactly with investigations into the 2008 financial crisis.
– From the Guardian article: In market-rigging case, US Justice Department treats corporate criminals like juvenile offenders
We all know by now that if you’re a woman with an overgrown lawn, a child walking by himself to the park, a homeless person, or someone feeding a homeless person, you’re a contemptible criminal in the eyes of the U. S. injustice system. As such, police and prosecutors will come down on you as hard as they possibly can. Subjecting you to the full and brutal force of the law, including jail sentences for non-crimes.
On the other hand, should you be a connected politician, a banker, or other elite member of the status quo, you can do absolutely anything you want. If you’re a politician and get caught it’s true you might lose your job, but don’t fret, a cushy position is waiting patiently for you on the other side of the revolving door.
If you are a banker you’re in even better shape. You get to keep your bonus, most likely your job, and the holding company that employs you will pay a slap on the wrist fine such as we just witnessed in the FX rigging scandal. In fact, it’s gotten to the point that all banker criminality is being handled under a provision of the law originally envisioned for juvenile offenders, known as deferred prosecution agreements (DPA). That’s how lax it is.
Don’t take it from me. The Guardian reports that:

This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Nov 14, 2014.

Still Lower Prices Ahead For Oil?

Crude oil prices, at a four-year low, have plunged 30% in the past six months, and it looks like they are destined to fall further.
In its monthly report, released Friday, the International Energy Agency said, ‘Our forecasts indicate that barring any new supply disruptions, downward price pressure could build further through the first half of 2015.’
The driving forces are clear enough.
Slowing global economies have oil and energy demand slowing, while booming oil production, particularly in North America, has created supply surpluses.
Crude oil output in the U. S. is at its highest in almost 30 years. The U. S. Department of Energy reported on Thursday that U. S. crude production has reached an average of 9 million barrels a day.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 11/14/2014.

Congress Passes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill, Senate Can’t Block, Obama Veto To Come?

BREAKING: House approves #KeystoneXL pipeline, raises pressure on Pres Obama to act #4jobs: pic.twitter.com/RtmEvogSX8
— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) November 14, 2014

As somewhat expected the House passed the Keystone XL Pipeline approval bill:
*HOUSE PASSES KEYSTONE APPROVAL BILL 252-161; SENATE VOTE NOV 18 It is relatively clear that the Senate does not have the votes to be able to overturn and thus it will be forced on to President Obama’s desk – “to veto” or “not to veto.”
As Reuters reports,
“We are going to make it as easy as possible for the Senate to finally get a bill to the president’s desk that approves this long-overdue Keystone XL pipeline,” said Republican Representative Bill Cassidy from Louisiana, who is sponsoring the House bill.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 11/14/2014.

OBAMA IS CURRENTLY PLACING THE U.S. IN A CORPORATE CONTROLLED POLICE STATE DICTATORSHIP

While the United States is fully preoccupied with global crises ranging from the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the spread of Ebola and the conflict in Ukraine, there is another development on the world stage which threatens the economic health of every single American and American based business. Specifically, I am referencing the Trans Pacific Partnership. The protocols of the TPP establishes a free-trade zone/bloc stretching from Vietnam to Chile and Japan. The most draconian free trade agreement in history includes nearly a billion people which encompass almost 40% of the world’s economy. since Obama failed to fast-track the TPP into law last year, he has made amazing progress and America is nearing its fare with destiny.

Transferring the American Economy to a Corporate Dictatorship
As America races toward her date with destiny, there is yet another ‘fundamentally transforming’ event coming her way and that event is known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Many of us in the media believe that some of the effects of the TPP will be felt before the coming war and martial law crackdown. However, after careful analysis, I am convinced that the brunt of the TPP will be felt after the America we know has been totally taken over in a post-war and post-economic collapse scenario. At the end of the day, it does not matter when the implementation of the TPP comes, because when it does, America will no longer be recognizable to anyone who has grown up in this once great country.

This post was published at The Common Sense Show on Nov. 14, 2014.

War Is Coming, Central Bankers Create Plans To Remove Assad – Episode 517

The following video was published by X22Report on Nov 13, 2014
IMF says euro zone growth is worse than they intially expected. Student loan delinquencies are up and many students believe that they will get loan forgiveness. Russia, China and other Asian nations looking to create their own Free Trade Agreement. Bank deposits are now considered paper investment and are no long deposits. Obama wants to place a 16% tax on the internet. Penalties for Obamacare has tripled. Obama disarming border agents, this way it will be easier for illegals. Switzerland on board with sanctions against Russia. Boots on the ground in Iraq. Obama’s new strategy remove Assad. The Islamic State added Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Algeria to its list to invade.

A Conservative Republican Senator Calls for More Government Action

If you think anything is going to change in Washington, think again.
The utter bankruptcy of Republican conservatism can be seen in this brief report on Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) called for Republicans to embrace ‘a humble and honest populism’ as they consider changing immigration law and writing a budget that will balance in ten years.
Populism was a far-Left political movement of farmers and radical urban union members in the late 19th century. Their candidate was William Jennings Bryan, who lost his race for the presidency three times: 1896, 1900, and 1908. Populism was replaced by Progressivism, which has run the country ever since. The Progressives enacted into law almost the entire Populist agenda.
As for the balanced budget, it is the Republican Party, under the leadership of Ronald Reagan, that launched the fiscal insanity of massive deficits: $200 billion annual deficits, beginning in fiscal 1983. This is the inflation-adjusted equivalent today of almost $500 billion – exactly where the federal deficit is today. Never before in peacetime had anything like this happened. Reagan was the godfather of today’s deficits.
Who was it who balanced the budget? Bill Clinton – of course, only by counting Social Security debts as off-budget.
Now Sen. Sessions calls for a balanced budget . . . in a decade. This is his hard-core stand. His peers in Congress are unable and unwilling to threaten anything like a balanced budget today.
The political rhetoric of a balanced budget is sheer fantasy. Any voter who believes it does not understand American ‘populism.’ The middle class, which gets most of the welfare payments – Medicare and Social Security – cares nothing about deficits, if the cost of eliminating them is the revocation of Medicare and Social Security, which is in fact the cost.

This post was published at Tea Party Economist on November 13, 2014.

ObamaCare Creator Admits If He Had Told The Truth “It Would Not Have Passed”

Having exposed the disgraceful reality of ObamaCare’s passage into law (and then apologized for being caught saying that “stupidity of the American voter” helped Congress approve the bill); a 3rd and 4th clip of the healthcare law’s architect Jonathan Gruber (who Nancy Pelosi says she has never heard of despite her role in the law’s birth) have surfaced… and it’s not pretty. As CNN reports, the emergence of this video with Gruber repeatedly suggesting that “stupid” voters were misled for their own good by Obamacare supporters is a political problem for Obama as the Supreme Court is set to rule on subsidies.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 11/13/2014.

Chairman Of Joint Chiefs Tells Congress Considering Boots-On-The-Ground In Iraq

Despite President Obama’s “promise” that there would be no combat troop boots-on-the-ground in the fight against ISIS in Iraq (and his doubling of ‘military advisor’ troop levels last week), The Guardian reports that General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, indicated to the House of Representatives armed services committee that the strength of ISIS relative to the Iraqi army may be such that he would recommend abandoning Obama’s oft-repeated pledge against returning US ground troops to combat in Iraq. Dempsey added, rather uncomfortably, that “we’re going to need about 80,000 competent Iraqi security forces to recapture territory lost, and eventually the city of Mosul, to restore the border.” The irony of this is that the ‘not-dead’ leader of ISIS al-Baghdadi spoke today and exclaimed that the US will be soon compelled to come on the ground to fight his group.
As The Guardian reports,

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 11/13/2014.

A Russian Plane Zaps U.S. Warship’s Missile Defense System

An unarmed Russian bomber in April flew over a high-tech U. S. ship. A crew member pressed a button. Poof! No more missile defense system on the ship. No more radar. The ship became a defenseless floating coffin.
Then the plane flew over the blind ship a dozen times. Basically, it was ‘Nyah, nyah, nyah.’
This story got no play in American media.
On 10 April 2014, the USS Donald Cook entered the waters of the Black Sea and on 12 April a Russian Su-24 tactical bomber flew over the vessel triggering an incident that, according to several media reports, completely demoralized its crew, so much so that the Pentagon issued a protest.
The USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) is a 4th generation guided missile destroyer whose key weapons are Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers, and capable of carrying nuclear explosives. This ship carries 56 Tomahawk missiles in standard mode, and 96 missiles in attack mode.
The US destroyer is equipped with the most recent Aegis Combat System. It is an integrated naval weapons systems which can link together the missile defense systems of all vessels embedded within the same network, so as to ensure the detection, tracking and destruction of hundreds of targets at the same time. In addition, the USS Donald Cook is equipped with 4 large radars, whose power is comparable to that of several stations. For protection, it carries more than fifty anti-aircraft missiles of various types.
Meanwhile, the Russian Su-24 that buzzed the USS Donald Cook carried neither bombs nor missiles but only a basket mounted under the fuselage, which, according to the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, contained a Russian electronic warfare device called Khibiny.

This post was published at Tea Party Economist on November 13, 2014.

If WTI Drops To $60, It Will “Trigger A Broader HY Market Default Cycle”, Says Deutsche

A month ago we wrote that with oil plunging, the flipside of the widely documented “secret” deal by Obama/Kerry with the Saudis to crush Russia with low, low oil prices, is that none other than America’s own shale industry would be placed under the microscope soon, as its viability at a price well below the shale industry’s cost curve is suddenly put in doubt.
We concluded that “while we understand if Saudi Arabia is employing a dumping strategy to punish the Kremlin as per the “deal” with Obama’s White House, very soon there will be a very vocal, very insolvent and very domestic shale community demanding answers from the Obama administration, as once again the “costs” meant to punish Russia end up crippling the only truly viable industry under the current presidency. As a reminder, the last time Obama threatened Russia with “costs”, he sent Europe into a triple-dip recession. It would truly be the crowning achievement of Obama’s career if, amazingly, he manages to bankrupt the US shale “miracle” next.”
Since then crude has continued to slide, and both Brent and WTI are now trading at a price where just a year ago would seem ludicrous: in the mid-$70s. And the future of America’s “shale miracle” has only gotten ever murkier since a month ago.
But suddenly it is not just the shale companies that are starting to look impaired. According to a Deutsche Bank analysis looking at what the “tipping point” for highly levered companies is in “oil price terms”, things start to get really ugly should crude drop another $15 or so per barrell. Its conclusion: “we would expect to see 1/3rd of US energy Bs/CCCs to restructure, which would imply a 15% default rate for overall US HY energy, and a 2.5% contribution to the broad US HY default rate…. A shock of that magnitude could be sufficient to trigger a broader HY market default cycle, if materialized. ”
Here are the details:
So how big of an impact on fundamentals should we expect from the move in oil price so far and where is the true tipping point for the sector? Let’s start with some basic datapoint describing the energy sector – it is the largest single industry component of the USD DM HY index, however, given this market’s relatively good sector diversification, it only represents 16% of its market value (figure 2). Energy is noticeably tilted towards higher quality, with BB/B/CCC proportions at 53/35/12, compared to overall market at 47/37/17. We find further confirmation to this higher-quality tilt by looking at Figure 3 below, which shows its leverage being around 3.4x compared to 4.0x for overall market. Similarly, their interest coverage stands at noticeably higher levels, even having declined substantially in recent years (Figure 4).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 11/13/2014.