Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

15/10/2012

10/01/2012

A Nightmare on Wall Street…

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29/12/2011

UK war on free speech and news you’re not allowed to know about

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02/12/2011

“How exactly the Hedge Funds & the Financial Markets are Destroying the 99%” – by a Wall Street Insider (i.e. not me)

I believe this information is important & should be published as widely as possible (“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” – Henry Ford):

I’m writing this in hopes that the OWS movement can have a better understanding of the hedge fund industry and the financial markets. With OWS being the zeitgeist of current politics, I think it’s important to know how exactly the hedge funds, along with the financial markets are destroying the 99%.
Hedge funds. These guys are basically the vehicles of choice for ultra-rich people to get into the financial markets, besides family offices and private wealth managers. What are hedge funds? They are funds that have a 1-5 million deposit minimum, cater to the mega-rich, and can invest in anything without regulatory restrictions, use leverage to pump up their exposure by 15x, and pretty much eat up a vast majority of the industry’s profits.
These guys invest in EVERYTHING. Instruments you’ve heard of – stocks, bonds, forwards, futures, currencies, and instruments that you, me, or anyone else have never even heard of, much less know anything about: commodity future swaptions, FRA/OIS swaps, CLOs, exotic future options, p-notes, index/commodity/equity exposures, and a huge array of OTC (over-the-counter) instruments that no regular investor would ever have access to.
Why I bring this up: the financial markets are rigged. 99% of the investing public has access to services such as basic brokerages, 401k/IRA’s, mutual funds, pension plans, etc. Some of these services, especially pension funds, will invest into hedge funds, who take an additional 2 and 20 (meaning 2% of assets plus 20% of capital gains).
What this means is that if you go any of the traditional retail routes, you are utterly screwed facing off against the hedge funds.
First, you are paying exorbitant fees. Commissions on every stock trade. Mutual fund managers taking a cut – an annual % cut, as well as a % per profit cut. If these managers (i.e. pension plans) invest in another fund, that fund is also taking another % cut. You’re down 2% the minute you invest your money.
Next, if you’re doing the investing yourself, you’re paying ridiculous spreads. The bid/ask spread of a stock will cause you to be down another 2-3% the minute you buy the stock. For example, if you’re buying a share of company at $4.25, you can sell back at only $4.15.
Furthermore, you have absolutely no chance in terms of access to the best services. Hedge funds have a direct line to investment bank’s institutional brokerage teams – these are the guys that spend day and night sucking up to hedge funds, trying to get them the best deals at the cheapest rates. This means that while you’re buying stocks and bonds, hedge funds are getting special rights, warrants, sweetheart deals, private placement deals, options, bigger discounts on bonds, and much better bulk commission rates and lower spreads on stocks. If you’re paying 4.25$ for a 4.15$ stock, they are paying something like 4.16$. And they are eating alive your profits because when the stock goes up to $4.30, they can activate another warrant to purchase 20m shares at $4.25, diluting the value of your shares.
Next, you lack information and exposure. You have no idea what is going on in the market besides what you see on the news – while hedge funds have analysts working around the clock and a bunch of service providers who give minute-by-minute analysis of their portfolio opportunities and weaknesses in all markets with exposures to nearly everything. Meaning, if there is an opportunity in the real estate market (i.e. legislation), it might take you weeks to get in – hedge funds will have gotten in the minute the legislation was passed. Furthermore, when IPOs come out for companies, hedge funds get top billing on the primary market shares – which means investment banks are selling directly to them. Once the secondary market becomes available, hedge funds are up 15-20% on these investments, sometimes within hours.
Finally, you have no capital compared to these hedge funds. The people who invest in these hedge funds are not just the 1%, they are the 0.1%. These are the guys with 500million dollar bank accounts and the ability to do whatever the fuck they want. Hedge funds know this, and they invest without having to care about whether their clients can pay the rent or send their kids to college. All of that is irrelevant. Their sole purpose is to earn money, not to mitigate risk.
What does this all mean? It means the hedge fund industry is making a gigantic proportion of the profits. The top .1% is earning nearly half of the profits in the industry, through not just hedge funds, but other similar vehicles.
The finance industry is a complete scam, designed to funnel money from the 99% investing public into the hands of the top .1%. Sure, some of you will make good money, but stastically, the rest of us will lose, and who is feeding off us? Hedge funds, and the .1%. You have better odds going to a casino and playing slots, the worst-paying game in the house, but still better than the stock market.
Also, the government is in bed with the financial industry. Tax loopholes give hedge funds and other top players the ability to write off losses and not pay taxes on gains for years at a time. For income they derive from the hedge fund (profits), they pay only 15%, rather than the 35% income tax charged to most people earning 80k and above. Meanwhile, you have to pay taxes for not just your own income but also capital gains.
The worst part by far is that the government “encourages” you to put your money into your 401k through ‘tax exemptions’, which basically puts your money with the lowest tier of the financial industry – pension funds, retail wealth managers, and retail asset managers. These guys have shit strategies like long-only or domestic equity (which means they only invest in American stocks), and have nowhere near the capability and reach of hedge funds. These guys are even more likely to lose your money than you are, and even worse is they will take a 2.35% cut while doing so. And you get penalized when you try to take your money out early. How f***ed up is that.
In other words, if you aren’t in the .1%, you have no access to the derivatives markets, you have no access to the special deals that hedge funds and other wealthy investors get, and you have no access to the resources, information, strategic services, tax exemptions, and capital that the top .1% is getting.
If you have any questions about what some of the concepts above mean, ask and I will try my best to answer. I’m a first-year analyst on wall street, and based on what I see day in and day out, I support the OWS movement 100%.
tl;dr: The finance industry funnels money from the masses to the ultra rich, through vehicles like hedge funds which dominate all of the financial markets.

20/11/2011

Britain & the Plot to Attack Iran

from Craig Murray

Matthew Gould was Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Iran, a country which Werritty frequently visited, and where Werritty claimed to have British government support for plots against Ahmadinejad. Gould worked at the British Embassy in Washington; the Fox-Werritty Atlantic Bridge fake charity was active in building links between British and American neo-conservatives and particularly ultra-zionists. Gould’s responsibilities at the Embassy included co-ordination on US policy towards Iran. The first meeting of all three, which the FCO refuses to date, probably stems from this period.

According to my source, there is a long history of contact between Gould and Werritty. The FCO refuse to give any information on Gould-Werritty meetings or communications except those meetings where Fox was present – and those have only been admitted gradually, one by one. We may not have them all even yet.

My source says that co-ordinating with Israel and the US on diplomatic preparation for an attack on Iran was the subject of all these meetings. That absolutely fits with the jobs Gould held at the relevant times. The FCO refuses to say what was discussed. My source says that, most crucially, Iran was discussed at the Tel Aviv dinner, and the others present represented Mossad. The FCO again refuses to say who was present or what was discussed.

On Wednesday 2 November it was revealed in the press that under Fox the MOD had prepared secret and detailed contingency plans for British participation in an attack on Iran.

There are very important questions here. Was Gould really discussing neo-con plans for attacking Iran with Werritty and eventually with Fox before the Conservatives were even in government? Why did O’Donnell’s report so carefully mislead on the Fox-Gould-Werritty axis? How far was the FCO aware of MOD preparations for attacking Iran? Is there a neo-con cell of senior ministers and officials, co-ordinating with Israel and the United States, and keeping their designs hidden from the Conservative’s coalition partners?

The government could clear up these matters if it answered some of the questions it refuses to answer, even when asked formally by a member of parliament. The media have largely moved on from the Fox-Werritty affair, but have barely skimmed the surface of the key questions it raises. They relate to secrecy, democratic accountabilty and preparations to launch a war, preparations which bypass the safeguards of good government. The refusal to give straight answers to simple questions by a member of perliament strikes at the very root of our democracy.

Is this not precisely the situation we were in with Blair and Iraq? Have no lessons been learnt?

There is a further question which arises. Ever since the creation of the state of Israel, the UK had a policy of not appointing a jewish Briton as Ambassador, for fear of conflict of interest. As a similar policy of not appointing a catholic Ambassador to the Vatican. New Labour overturned both longstanding policies as discriminatory. Matthew Gould is therefore the first jewish British Ambassador to Israel.

Matthew Gould does not see his race or religion as irrelevant. He has chosen to give numerous interviews to both British and Israeli media on the subject of being a jewish ambassador, and has been at pains to be photographed by the Israeli media participating in jewish religious festivals. Israeli newspaper Haaretz described him as “Not just an ambassador who is jewish, but a jewish ambassador”. That rather peculiar phrase appears directly to indicate that the potential conflict of interest for a British ambassador in Israel has indeed arisen.

It is thus most unfortunate that it is Gould who is the only British Ambassador to have met Fox and Werritty together, who met them six times, and who now stands suspected of long term participation with them in a scheme to forward war with Iran, in cooperation with Israel. This makes it even more imperative that the FCO answers now the numerous outstanding questions about the Gould/Werritty relationship and the purpose of all those meetings with Fox.

There is no doubt that the O’Donnell report’s deceitful non-reporting of so many Fox-Gould-Werritty meetings, the FCO’s blunt refusal to list Gould-Werritty, meetings and contacts without Fox, and the refusal to say who else was present at any of these occasions, amounts to irrefutable evidence that something very important is being hidden right at the heart of government. I have no doubt that my informant is telling the truth, and the secret is the plan to attack Iran. It fits all the above facts. What else does?

Please feel free to re-use and republish this article anywhere, commercially or otherwise. It has been blocked by the mainstream media. I write regularly for the mainstream media and this is the first article of mine I have ever been unable to publish. People have risked a huge amount by leaking me information in an effort to stop the government machinery from ramping up a war with Iran. There are many good people in government who do not want to see another Iraq. Please do all you can to publish and redistribute this information.

Neocons & Zionists are determined to remove Iran as a block to Israeli aggression & genocidal expansion, & to prevent most Iranian Oil being sold to China (as it increasingly is).  People in the West must wake up & end this Supremacist Conspiracy, before it plunges the world into Nuclear War!

16/11/2011

Can vulture funds be prevented from preying on poor countries?

from Guardian

UK legislation on vulture funds has already had an impact, when Liberia last year reached agreement to repay just over 3% of face value of $43m in debt. The case was brought by two Caribbean-based vulture funds, Hamsah Investments and Wall Capital Ltd, over a debt dating back to the 1970s. The case sparked a furore when the high court ordered Liberia to repay the full debt in 2009. The case mobilised debt campaigners, who pushed for a change in the law – resulting in the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act 2010 being passed.

The law, a world first, requires commercial creditors to comply with the terms of international debt cancellation schemes, which specify a single discount rate for creditors to ensure equal treatment. The law applies to the UK courts and ensures that public money given towards debt cancellation is not diverted to private investors.

However, debt campaigners point out that UK legislation applies only to the 40 Hipc countries and applies to cases before 2004. It is also due to expire next year, unless renewed.

The 1% & their fund managers ruthlessly exploit legal loopholes for profit – even at the cost of environmental destruction & human lives!  The Occupy Movement must expose, challenge & curb such behaviour.

15/11/2011

We Are the Architects of a Revolution that is Here to Stay

from Daily Kos

Our encampments are a physical place for the beginning of the revolution that humanity and this Earth needs to survive.  So long as we continue to meet often, debate, protest, and work for consensus the occupation will go on. We will find new places to gather and we will not be intimidated.

Raiding and closing down Occupy camps only reenforces what protestors have said all along, that people aren’t in charge of their governments. Our governments across the world are doing the bidding of the few and their corruption is on full display as our tents are being scooped up by bulldozers.

Those who have enjoyed unchecked power for decades have good reason be afraid. The occupy movement is stopping the powerful from profiting from putting human health, justice, democracy and equality over a cliff. We are exposing their misdeeds and destroying the myth of trickle down wealth.

It is better to Die Resisting, on our Feet, than to Live in Chains!

15/11/2011

10 Differences Between OWS and The Tea Party

from BusinessPundit

The media is having a field day when it comes to reporting on Occupy Wall Street (OWS).  Presented with a neat and clean narrative that they can hysterically massage into a controversy, they’ve delightfully contrasted Occupy Wall Street with the Tea Party protests. To hear lazy reporters talk, one would think that the hundreds of thousands of OWS protestors across the world could be easily compared to the relatively tiny Tea Party movement that’s despised abroad and is generally unpopular even in the US.  While they share the common vein of being angry at the current system and the direction the country is heading, most of the similarities end there.

To put it plainly, OWS is paying and the Tea Party is collecting, and then the Tea Party is complaining about the taxes while reaping the benefits and furiously denying them to others.   Especially in this light, it’s no wonder that OWS has ballooned, one of its largest protests so far in Oakland has grown to well over 100,000 people.

Tea Partiers are no more than “useful idiots” for the Kochs’ planned Oligarchy – which would enable them, & similar 1%’ers, to rape the US as the Oligarchs raped Yeltsin’s Russia in the 1990’s.

15/11/2011

Crash Tax: Wall Street Should Pay Reparations to the 99%

from AlterNet

The crash tax is, essentially, a sales tax on financial transactions. The middle class pays sales tax on all the stuff it purchases. There should be no special exceptions. The 1 percent should be paying sales tax on the purchase of risky derivatives and on bets that derivatives will fail. This is equity. This is simple fairness.

Some call this levy a Robin Hood tax. But that’s not right. This is not robbing the rich to give to the poor. This is charging the 1 percent a just share.

This is holding speculators accountable. This is individual responsibility, the concept the GOP claims to love. Wall Street bombed the world economy. Now it’s obligated to participate in financing recovery, to pay reparations to Main Street.

A financial transaction tax alone isn’t enough.  ALL income, must be taxed at Income Tax rates – no more income taxed at Capital Gains Tax rates or “deferred” ad infinitum!

14/11/2011

It’s Only Just Begun

from OpEdNews

The necessary regulations that contained and restrained the financial industry came about in 1933 under the Franklin Roosevelt administration and lasted some 60 years before they were undone and completely overturned in 1999 under Bill Clinton. His signing into law the complete deregulation and unmooring of the financial industry solidified its hold during the Bush era and brought about the current gilded age that has yet to be rectified, but has spawned the occupy movement.

No one can predict the eventual outcome of this movement or how the present gilded age will end.

But if history is any guide, when the country endures a great economic dislocation caused by the greedy excesses of the big financial interests and the suffering becomes widespread and intolerable with the injustices, lack of accountability and basic unfairness too great, that gilded age’s reign of impunity will not continue unchallenged. Change will be demanded.

The revolution demanding those changes has just begun.

The 1% have worked for decades to rig the financial, economic & political systems so thoroughly – Occupiers need to be prepared for a long campaign.