Posts filed under “Think Tank”
La Narco Sistema: My friend Lucy Komisar has just published a great scoop in The Miami Herald that reports on the role played by the State of Florida in enabling the Ponzi scheme of Allen Stanford and the now-defunct Stanford Group.
Lucy reports: “Florida regulators — over objections by the state’s top banking lawyer — gave sweeping powers to banker Allen Stanford, accused of swindling investors of $7 billion.”
Her story just illustrates how members of the American political class have become complicit in the criminality that is sucking the blood from our society. The fact that the State of Florida is involved here is no surprise. Anyone familiar with the banking market in the Caribbean knows that Miami is now the nexus for drug money and offshore banking in the entire region. State officials in FL are rented hourly by the narcos from Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia, and with the full knowledge of Washington.
Remember, Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez are good buddies. Chavez has allowed the narco traficantes and global terrorists to turn Venezuela into a playground, but President Obama considers Chavez a friend. Indeed, look how Obama is supporting the ousted president of Honduras, a chavista who is trying to turn his country into another haven for drug traffickers and terrorists a la Cuba and Venezuela.
Lucy writes: “The new company was also allowed to sell hundreds of millions in bank notes without allowing regulators to check for fraud. Over the next decade, the Miami office was among Stanford’s busiest in the sale of controversial investments now at the heart of the federal government’s sweeping fraud case against Stanford and his lieutenants. ”There was no lawful way that office should have been opened,” said Richard Donelan, the state’s chief banking counsel who opposed the deal.
Here’s a comment on the story from the Herald web site: “In 1995, the Division of Banking came under the direct authority of the State Comptroller. General Milligan, a Republican, had been elected as the Comptroller the previous fall and he selected and appointed Simon, a Democrat. Back in that time the Governor had no control whatsoever over the Division of Banking. It wasn’t until 2003 that OFR was formed and then the governor had a say in the appointment of the commissioner.”
Below is the link for the story:
Florida aided Allen Stanford, suspect in huge swindle
LUCY KOMISAR, MICHAEL SALLAH AND ROB BARRY
Miami Herald, July 5, 2009
The crux of the argument calling for a 2nd half recovery is predicated on an inventory replenishment cycle, led by the auto sector. The stabilization in the capital markets has also boosted the expectations components (and not current conditions) of many economic indicators. Thus, as we enter Q2 earnings season, forward looking guidance will be…Read More
“Words from the Wise” this week again comes to you in a shortened format as I am still on the road in Europe (also see my post “Gone A.W.O.L. – to Slovenia and Switzerland“) and do not have access to my normal research resources. Although only brief commentary is provided, a full dose of excerpts from interesting news items and quotes from market commentators is included.
The holiday-shortened week saw pundits pondering the depth of the economic rabbit hole as the curtain closed on the second quarter. As investors vacillated, most financial markets were characterized by a roller-coaster ride. Friday’s worse-than-expected US jobs data left no doubt that the economy was in recession.
Given the economic malaise, it is safe to say that there have probably been better fourth of July celebrations than this weekend’s …
Looking at the quarterly performance of the same asset classes, the picture is quite different from the chart above, with risky assets putting in a phenomenal performance to the detriment of the traditional safe havens such as the US dollar and government bonds.
A summary of the movements of major stock markets for the past week, as well as various other measurement periods, is given below. The weekly gains/losses camouflage the fact that many indices experienced a rather bumpy ride during the course of the week.
Click here or on the table below for a larger image.
Stock market returns for the week ranged from top performers Egypt (+8.9%), Uganda (+7.9%), Bangladesh (+6.3%), Pakistan (+6.1%) and China (+5.5%) to Slovakia (-9.3%), Croatia (-8.7%), Vietnam (-5.6%), Mauritius (-4.0%) and Hungary (-3.6%) at the other end of the scale. Emerging markets make up all ten of the best-performing stock indices so far in 2009, led by Peru, Sri Lanka and China. (Click here to access a complete list of global stock market movements, as supplied by Emerginvest.)
Category: Think Tank
Happy Birthday America
July 4, 2009
As we celebrate the nation’s birthday, we may wish to be mindful of the stress that many in our country are under. We may try to be gracious in the face of adversity. We can pause. And reflect. And give aid.
On Friday, in New York, I watched a caring person take 15 minutes to escort a blind woman to her home. They were strangers. There was construction on the street and the blind person needed some guidance. Many passed her by, but thankfully not all. Kindness to a stranger is a value that doesn’t get measured in our national GDP. It gets counted when each of us looks in the mirror.
Two close personal friends sent me the email that I will quote below. It is sourced to a Washington Post story; that link is below as well. It will inspire us as the grill is lighted and the chicken sizzles. America will weather this economic storm if it does not lose its humanity. The risk of that loss is a far greater threat than the federal deficit.
The email story follows:
“Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle-aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.
4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
A young man leaned against the wall to listen, then looked at his watch and walked on.
A 3-year-old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and people’s priorities. The questions raised: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour, are we able to perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context? One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made, how many other things are we missing?”
For details see the story by Gene Weingarten, Washington Post staff writer, Sunday, April 8, 2007; page W10. The link is: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html .
Now to some economics as we celebrate America’s birthday.
Category: Think Tank
Fascinating discussion via Nomura strategist Sean Darby on a new investment theme: Investors are overlooking the domestic growth opportunities of Muslim-dominated countries situated along the ancient Spice Route. We estimate that between 2020F and 2025F, approximately one in every five births will be in countries whose ports were visited by merchants trading along the route…Read More
Category: Think Tank
The WSJ: Wall Street Pay Approaches 2007′s Records Will Ben, Hank, Little Timmy and Congressional leaders explain to the American people how it is possible for Wall Street to have near record remuneration AFTER the US taxpayers were put on the hook for about $12 trillion of guarantees to The Street? And will they explain to Americans that while Street insiders ‘earn’ record pay they must suffer a severe recession or depression, possibly record future inflation, collapsing home values, job losses and an income contraction?
Zero Hedge: NYSE Halts Transparency, Feels Goldman Program Trading Disclosure Is Unnecessary. The Exchange has filed with the SEC to implement the decommissioning of the DPTR requirement following the July 10, 2009 trade date…
From the memo: The New York Stock Exchange LLC (“NYSE”) will be decommissioning the
requirement to report program trading activity via the Daily Program Trading Report (“DPTR”), which was previously approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”).1The last trade date for which member organizations will be required to file the DPTR with the Exchange will be July 10, 2009 and therefore the last required date to submit the DPTR will be July 14, 2009.
Anyone think that Goldman put pressure on the NYSE to halt embarrassing disclosures?
Category: Think Tank
Initial Jobless Claims totaled 614k, 1k less than expected but the prior month was revised up by 3k to 630k. Continuing Claims fell by 53k from last week and was 38k less than expected. There has been a big discussion of late over the expiration of unemployment insurance and how the recent drop in Continuing…Read More
Lost in the payroll news was the ECB press conference where ECB Pres Trichet hinted that interest rates should remain at the 1% level. He is definitely not in the deflation camp when he says that negative inflation will be short lived and is due more to temporary factors (aka falling food and energy prices…Read More
Payrolls fell 467k, 100k more than expected and vs the drop of 322k in May (net revisions were up 8k). The unemployment rate rose to 9.5% but was .1% less than forecasted but at the highest level since 1983 as the household survey fell by 374k and the labor force fell by 155k. The U6…Read More