Archive | Banksters

Los Angeles is ‘epicenter’ of drug cartel money laundering

la-me-garment-district-raid-graphic

Gosh, I’m sure Los Angeles banks, who presumably receive some of this dirty drug money, never question why some businesses have so much cash to deposit. This is the real reason the drug trade continues. Dirty banks, crooked hedge funds, and sleazy investment banks need that drug money in exactly the same way a junkie needs the next fix.

Federal agents raided 70 Los Angeles businesses, including many in the fashion district on Wednesday, seizing $65 million in cash alleged to be from drug cartels. The businesses then, were no doubt just fronts. Their real purpose was to launder the money. Everything else was presumably to provide cover.

Bogus businesses can often be easily spotted. They never seem to have customers yet somehow manage stay in business. Thus, their overt business is not their actual business. Sue and I sometimes assume ourselves by guessing which empty storefront businesses are actually laundries.

“Los Angeles has become the epicenter of narco-dollar money laundering with couriers regularly bringing duffel bags and suitcases full of cash to many businesses,” Robert E. Dugdale, the assistant U.S. attorney in charge of federal criminal prosecutions here, said in a statement.

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War on drugs as excuse to expand police state thuggery and surveillance

war-on-drugs

Ron Paul, sounding like a left wing radical, says war on drugs is being used as an excuse to militarize the police, giving them weaponry far beyond what they need. With Ferguson, Paul says, the war has come home. I completely agree. There is plenty of common ground between the non-authoritarian left and the libertarian right. The war on drugs is of course an abject failure. The drugs flow in because crooked banks and hedge funds need the money.

This process is exactly what happens with the war on terror, which has also mostly been a failure, and which enriches a few to the detriment of the rest. Thus we have atrocities like “baby Bounkham” which, if it happened in another country, the US would roll its eyes in horror and squawk about how that country needed a heap of democracy (preferably enforced by a US-supplied gun ) But when it happens at home, our politicians, except for a very few, are strangely quiet and submissive.  They are bought and paid for, aren’t about to act in anything except their own self-interest and the interests of the class who funds them.

One particularly tragic victim of police militarization and the war on drugs is “baby Bounkham.” This infant was severely burned and put in a coma by a flash-burn grenade thrown into his crib by a SWAT team member who burst into the infant’s room looking for methamphetamine. As shocking as the case of baby Bounkham is, no one should be surprised that empowering police to stop consensual (though perhaps harmful and immoral) activities has led to a growth of authoritarian attitudes and behaviors among government officials and politicians. Those wondering why the local police increasingly look and act like an occupying military force should consider that the drug war was the justification for the Defense Department’s “1033 program,” which last year gave local police departments almost $450 million worth of “surplus” military equipment. This included armored vehicles and grenades like those that were used to maim baby Bounkham. Today, the war on drugs has been eclipsed by the war on terror as an all-purpose excuse for expanding the police state. One particularly tragic victim of police militarization and the war on drugs is “baby Bounkham.” This infant was severely burned and put in a coma by a flash-burn grenade thrown into his crib by a SWAT team member who burst into the infant’s room looking for methamphetamine. As shocking as the case of baby Bounkham is, no one should be surprised that empowering police to stop consensual (though perhaps harmful and immoral) activities has led to a growth of authoritarian attitudes and behaviors among government officials and politicians. Those wondering why the local police increasingly look and act like an occupying military force should consider that the drug war was the justification for the Defense Department’s “1033 program,” which last year gave local police departments almost $450 million worth of “surplus” military equipment. This included armored vehicles and grenades like those that were used to maim baby Bounkham. Today, the war on drugs has been eclipsed by the war on terror as an all-purpose excuse for expanding the police state.

Behind these pretend wars are the banksters and financiers. They profit from war, from drug money, and from pretending to fight the drug cartels.

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France dissolves parliament in attempt to protect banksters

Credit: planetwaves.net

Credit: planetwaves.net

French PM Manuel Valls has dissolved his government after a crisis ignited, forced by the economy minister saying France should stop austerity and not mimic what Germany does. “Austerity” means microscopic interest rates. This benefits banksters and no one else. Banksters borrow virtually free from the central bank and uses the money to speculate. Little if any of it is used to build the economy and jobs.

France has entered uncharted political waters after the prime minister, Manuel Valls, presented his government’s resignation amid a political crisis triggered by his maverick economy minister who called for an end to austerity policies imposed by Germany.

The government is pretending to be tough here. However, the draconian policies of austerity have just toppled their government. Stay tuned.

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Corrupt companies face nonexistent criminal prosecution from the feds

money laundering

Big banks and accounting firms launder money, sometimes for countries designated as terrorists. The feds fine them. No no one goes to prison. This is corruption at the highest levels of finance and government. Our government is running a protection racket. Banksters get to continue their business as usual after paying money to the government.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers was fined a ludicrously low $25 million fine for aiding a Japanese bank in laundering money for Iran, Sudan, and Myanmar. The PWC director, now a partner, at the center of this still works for the company and was not criminally indicted.This is outrageous.

In May 2008, the Japanese bank told PwC that it had a written policy to strip wire messages of any information that related to countries blacklisted by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control, according to the settlement.

The auditors then let the bank’s lawyers dictate specific parts of the report, scrubbing any mention of any special instructions to it employees and said that the data was complete and their methodology was appropriate.

Fedex charged with money laundering. Feds say Fedex knowingly shipped illegal drugs from online pharmacies. And, you guessed it, no executives have been charged.

The three money laundering charges allege the online pharmacies paid their FedEx bills with money obtained illegally.

FedEx Corp. already was facing 15 conspiracy and drug charges that were filed last month for allegedly shipping powerful sleep aids, sedatives, pain killers and other drugs needing prescriptions to use. Rival UPS Inc. paid $40 million last year to resolve similar allegations.

Banks are supposedly under pressure from US regulators to cut down on laundering money from casinos. Really? Our toothless enforcement agencies would of course never attempt to put such criminals in prison, thus their efforts are next to useless. Even so, banksters manage to whine how unfair it is for them to be treated as criminals just because many of them have been laundering money.

Standard Chartered Chief Executive of Asia, Jaspal Bindra, said the penalties are unfair.

“We are supposed to police that our counterparties and clients are not money laundering,” said Bindra, “and if when we are policing we have a lapse, we don’t get treated like a policeman who’s had a lapse, we are treated like a criminal.”

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Senior managers ‘personally liable’ for money-laundering lapses in UK

Money Laundering

This is a fine idea that needs to be implemented in the US too. Put real fear into greedhead money-laundering banksters and their ilk by coming after them personally if they break the law.

Senior management in money services in Great Britain are now personally liable for failures in money laundering. Rather than slap on the wrist fines for the corporation,  executives face prison and unlimited fines “if their neglect leads to money laundering or terrorist financing activities.”

HMRC said that senior managers at money service businesses are responsible for carrying out a risk assessment to identify where their business is “vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing” and for preparing policies and procedures that outline how the company will manage those risks identified.

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New Class Conflict. Proleterianization of the Middle Class

class-conflict

The New Class Conflict arises from the disintegration of the middle class and emergence of two new aristocracies; the tech oligarchy and what Joel Kotkin calls the clerisy, which are policy, media, and academic elites. Neither much cares what happens to the middle class and indeed are dismissive and contemptuous of it, except for how the serfs can be utilized for menial tasks or repairing robots. Both elites mask class war goals behind facades of gee-whiz internet widgets and eco / green policies. We are really just here to help you. Right. Behind both are banksters, who are currently making big money in student loans and renting out foreclosed homes, fine ways to extract money money from the middle class to them.

An “average” skilled worker can expect to subsist on little but rice and beans in the future U.S. economy. If they choose to live on the East or West Coast, they may never be able to buy a house, and will remain marginal renters for life. Left-leaning Slate in 2012 declared that manufacturing and construction jobs, sectors that powered the yeomanry’s upward mobility in the past, “aren’t coming back. Rather than a republic of yeoman, we could evolve instead, as one left-wing writer put it, living at the sufferance of our “robot overlords,” as well as those who program and manufacture them, likely using other robots to do so.

Part of the American Dream has always been home ownership and maybe a small business. Both are increasingly out of reach for many. Homes are too expensive. The government-imposed costs of running a small business are onerous.

There are many explanations for this decline, including the impact of offshoring, globalization and technology. But some reflects the impact of the ever more powerful Clerical regime, whose expansive regulatory power undermines small firms. Indeed, according to a 2010 report by the Small Business Administration, federal regulations cost firms with less than 20 employees over $10,000 each year per employee, while bigger firms paid roughly $7,500 per employee.

Predictably, the new elites mostly favor slow or no-growth. After all, they have their big rooms, and don’t want tacky strip malls nearby. Increasing they support what can only be called neo-Feudalism, with them as nobility and everyone else as serfs.

One would expect that this diminution of the middle class would offend those on the left, which historically supported both the expansion of ownership and the creation of a better life for the middle class. Yet some progressives, going back to the period before the Second World War, have disliked the very idea of dispersed ownership; many intellectuals, notes Christopher Lasch, found a society of “small proprietors” and owners “narrow, provincial and reactionary.”

Increasingly, the media and many urbanists, who see a new generation of permanent renters as part of their dream of a denser America, also embrace this vision as being more environmentally benign than traditional suburban sprawl.

Our emerging new elites are allied in opposition to the rest of us. They don’t care about the social contract or upward mobility for the masses. They have, of course, forgotten about the pitchforks.

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Standard Chartered baffled by their anti-money laundering software

garbage-in-garbage-out

Apparently software Standard Chartered installed to spot suspicious transactions was just so darned complicated that they couldn’t install it correctly. That’s why so many transactions linked to Iran somehow snuck through. The bank has already been fined $667 million for this, and now may be fined again. Drat that pesky software!

The bank installed the problematic transaction-monitoring software system late last decade. It was supposed to flag suspect transactions, and then bank compliance staff could see whether there were signs of possible criminal activity that needed to be reported to authorities, said the other source.

However, the so-called “detection scenarios” that tell the system what activity to flag for human review were not properly calibrated, the source said.

Tragically, the improperly calibrated software ran for years, producing bogus results, without anyone thinking they should double-check the results. Really?

Programmers have a phrase for this – Garbage In Garbage Out. And how very convenient this was for the bank, which is now promising to “scour records” for possible money laundering. I have upmost faith and confidence in them, how about you?

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Twitter stock soars on make-believe earnings

Tinkerbelle pixie dust

Don’t believe the hype. Twitter did not make money in Q2. The “earnings” they reported were non-GAAP, which translates to Making Sh*t Up, ignoring the bad bits, and paying no attention to accounting standards. This is what passes for corporate accounting today. “Analysts” expected Twitter non-GAAP earnings to be -0.02. Instead, Twitter just blasted through and reported a whopping 0.02 per share, which translates to a nosebleed P/E of 2347 at the current stock price. However non-GAAP numbers are garbage as they simply ignore anything inconvenient.

I do apologize for mentioning outmoded concepts such as Generally Accepted Accounting Standards and actual profits being useful in judging a stock. It’s so much easier to sprinkle pixie dust on the financials instead.

The other side of the coin? Twitter’s GAAP net loss totaled $145 million, up from $42 million a year ago. On a GAAP basis, Twitter lost $0.24 per share. Investors, however, were not expecting Twitter to be profitable by GAAP measurements, so the loss isn’t too much of a drag.

I’ll say it again. Non-GAAP measurements are fictitious and rubbish, and symptomatic of a corrupted financial system that bares little resemblance to reality.

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35% of Americans with credit files have delinquent debt

adults-in-debt

Delinquent debt nationwide is at a staggering 35%, according to a study by the Urban Institute. In Nevada, it is a whopping 47%. The more you are in debt, the higher the interest rates. Lots of people make lots of money grinding debtors for payments. Banksters securitize the debt. Entire industries have vested interests in keeping people in debt.

average-debt
The South has the highest percentage of people with debt in collections, however the amounts are low compared to other parts of the country. Debt is collection is only moderately correlated to low income. Higher income people can have debt problems too.

Financial distress is a daily challenge for millions of American consumers. Nearly 12 million adults—5.3 percent of Americans with a credit file—have non-mortgage debt reported past due, and they need to pay $2,258 on average to become current on that debt.14 Further, an alarming 77 million Americans—35 percent of adults with credit files—have debt in collections reported in their credit files,15 with an average debt amount of nearly $5,178.16 Debt reported past due, and in particular reported debt in collections, is more concentrated in the South.

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Banksters refuse to take haircut on Argentina debt, forcing default

vultures

Argentina will probably default shortly on its debt. Wall Street vultures bought Argentina debt cheap and refuse to negotiate or make concessions, even though the vast bulk of creditors have. The vultures want 100% payment. Argentina can’t afford that. Worse, if Argentina pays the holdouts at 100%, a clause in the contracts means that have to pay all other creditors at 100%. Plus, according to US law, it must pay all creditors, not just those who agreed to a haircut.

President Kirchner says that payment would amount to $15bn (£8.8bn), which is about half of the entire central bank foreign exchange reserves, so it’s not feasible for Argentina to do this. Not that the holdout jackals. They have no interest in Argentina beyond extracting money for it.

Argentina may default on July 30, with unpredictable and probably adverse ramifications for the world economy.

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