You are here

Your government at work

Two time losers

Submitted by Roanman on Fri, 07/13/2012 - 08:34


From Huffington Post

We'll say it again, why bother arguing about new financial regulations, when existing regulations go unenforced?

Our financial system is corrupt our government regulators are at best incompetent and at worst complicit.

Once again regulators across two different presidential administrations of two different political parties had been on notice with regards to problems at a supposedly regulated company, and did nothing to protect the public.


PFG Collapse Hits Some MF Global Victims



When commodities brokerage firm MF Global collapsed last October, losing $1.6 billion in customer funds in the process, Christopher Dickerson was sure he'd dodged a bullet. Just one month before the collapse, Dickerson had taken the bulk of his money out of his MF Global account.

He'd moved his cash, about $250,000 in all, to a smaller commodities brokerage firm based out of Cedar Falls, Iowa, called PFGBest, because it was offering the same services he sought -- Dickerson trades futures contracts in his spare time -- for much lower fees. "I thought that would never happen again," Dickerson said. "Stupid me."

On Tuesday, Peregrine Financial Group, which operates PFGBest, filed for bankruptcy, the same day that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed suit against the firm for fraud. The day before, police in Cedar Falls discovered the firm's founder, Russell Wasendorf, unconscious in his car near the firm's offices after an apparent suicide attempt. According to reports, he has now emerged from a coma.

In the complaint, the CFTC accuses Wasendorf and his firm of illegally tapping into customer funds since at least February 2010, and falsely reporting to regulators that it had over $220 million on its books when in reality the firm had just $5.1 million. The complaint also alleges that Wasendorf falsified some bank records he'd sent to regulators.



To quote Peter Brandt

Submitted by Roanman on Wed, 07/11/2012 - 08:45


We typically try pretty hard to create posts for everyone, knowing of course that we seldom succeed at that goal.

This post is specifically for the about 12 people we know for sure are active in the commodity markets, although the moral should be washing over just about everybody about now.

The financial system across the entirety of "The West" is rotten to it's core, the call for more regulation and the condemnation of laissez fair capitalism miss the greater point, that being that the regulations in place are neither followed nor enforced, and that the regulators cashing the peoples paychecks are at best incompetent and at worst complicit in the now chronic frauds perpetrated by the banks.

To quote Peter Brandt on the issue,



CFTC stands for Commodities Futures Trading Commision.

Sorry about the ad, everybody is getting slicker about keeping their promotions in the vid.


Robot War

Submitted by Roanman on Mon, 07/09/2012 - 07:48


From AlJazeera's Faultlines program.

We'll say it again, AlJazeera is simply the single best news gathering outfit on earth ... bar none ... and it renders what passes for news gathering in the U.S. a joke.


Over the past decade, the US military has shifted the way it fights its wars, deploying more unmanned systems in the battlefield than ever before.

Today there are more than 7,000 drones and 12,000 ground robots in use by all branches of the military.

These systems mean less American deaths and also less political risk for the US when it takes acts of lethal force – often outside of official war zones.

But US lethal drone strikes in countries like Pakistan have brought up serious questions about the legal and political implications of using these systems.

Fault Lines looks at how these new weapons of choice are allowing the US to stretch the international laws of war and what it could mean when more and more autonomy is developed for these lethal machines.



So many secrets at the CIA.

So many bankers at the CIA.




Overpaid unemployment benefits top $14 billion

Submitted by Roanman on Mon, 07/09/2012 - 06:42


From CNN Money.

Overpaid unemployment benefits top $14 billion

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Don't spend that unemployment check too fast. The government might ask you to pay it back.

Overpayments are a rampant problem in the unemployment insurance system. The federal government and states overpaid an estimated $14 billion in benefits in fiscal 2011, or roughly 11% of all the jobless benefits paid out.

Of the states, Indiana was the worst offender, making more improper payments than it did correct ones.

Now, the U.S. Department of Labor and the states are in the midst of a massive effort to try to recoup some of their lost funds and avoid future overpayments.

Where does the money go?

The vast majority of unemployment benefits do go to people in need. In 2010 alone they helped keep 3.2 million Americans out of poverty, according to the Census Bureau.

But of the overpaid funds, most end up in the hands of three types of people: Those who aren't actively searching for a job, those who were fired or quit voluntarily, and those who continue to file claims even though they've returned to work. Any of those circumstances would make a person ineligible for benefits.

The overpayment typically results from an administrative error made either by the government, the employer, the worker or a combination of the three. ...

... In fiscal 2011, there were roughly 2,700 convictions for fraud related to unemployment insurance.


Or roughly 2,700 more convictions than were effected for fraud related to the mortgage debacle and the financial crisis.


Banks and government ..... it goes on and on and on and ...

Submitted by Roanman on Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:51


This story is everywhere and has been for the past 18 hours.

Of the reporting/analysis out there we thought this was the best and most pointed effort.

From the Mark Tapscott at the Washinton Examinor.

The gears above or the photo below will link you up.


Issa report exposes the wink and nudge of 'congressional ethics'



An investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform demonstrates why the House and Senate Ethics committees are as useless as the proverbial screen door on a submarine.

The oversight committee -- which is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. -- reviewed more than 120,000 documents and interviewed legions of witnesses during its three-year probe of how Angelo Mozilo's Countrywide Mortgage gained sufficient influence to block reforms that could have prevented or significantly lessened the Great Recession of 2008.

It's a sordid tale that includes sweetheart mortgage deals for key Senate Democrats, three former Clinton administration Cabinet secretaries, and several strategically placed congressional aides from both sides of the aisle.

The committee estimates that more than 17,000 special mortgages were issued via Mozilo's "Friends of Angelo" VIP program at Countrywide between 1996 and 2008. Among the many recipients, two stand out in the Issa report.

Sen. Chris Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who chaired the powerful Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, initially claimed not to know about his preferential treatment. He was cleared by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics in August 2009, but he then retired in 2010 after the public learned how close a friend of Angelo he had been. Dodd received waivers of all fees on two mortgages whose combined worth was nearly $800,000.

The Issa panel says Dodd must have known more than he has let on so far, because he also "referred Mary Jane Collipriest, communications director for Senator Robert Bennett, to the VIP unit when she refinanced her mortgage in 2002. Countrywide waived processing and junk fees for Collipriest." ("Junk fees" is a trade term for assorted upfront lender charges.)

Collipriest's immediate boss was then the second-ranking Republican on the banking committee. She became Bennett's chief of staff in 2006.

Dodd helped launch the bailout mania that seized Washington in 2008. The Issa report said "on June 17, 2008, the same day he acknowledged for the first time that he was a Countrywide VIP customer, Dodd announced that he was bringing to the Senate floor a housing bailout to help Countrywide and other struggling subprime lenders.

"Dodd's plan, known as the Dodd-Shelby bill, allowed mortgage lenders to dump up to $300 billion of their worst loans on to taxpayers via a new Federal Housing Administration refinancing program."

The Issa report notes that shortly thereafter, this newspaper "obtained a 'confidential and proprietary' document" that made clear the bailout section of Dodd's measure was exactly what Countrywide wanted.


You too can hack a drone for about a grand.

Submitted by Roanman on Tue, 07/03/2012 - 08:09


From which increasingly is becoming one of our favorite news sites.

In a nutshell, the boys over at DHS invited some colege kids to hijack one of their drones ..... so they did.

As usual click on the photo for the whole story.


Texas college hacks drone in front of DHS



There are a lot of cool things you can do with $1,000, but scientists at an Austin, Texas college have come across one that is often overlooked: for less than a grand, how’d you like to hijack a drone?

A group of researchers led by Professor Todd Humphreys from the University of Texas at Austin Radionavigation Laboratory recently succeeded in raising the eyebrows of the US government. With just around $1,000 in parts, Humphreys’ team took control of an unmanned aerial vehicle owned by the college, all in front of the US Department of Homeland Security.

After being challenged by his lab, the DHS dared Humphreys’ crew to hack into a drone and take command. Much to their chagrin, they did exactly that.

Humphrey tells Fox News that for a few hundreds dollar his team was able to “spoof” the GPS system on board the drone, a technique that involves mimicking the actual signals sent to the global positioning device and then eventually tricking the target into following a new set of commands. And, for just $1,000, Humphreys says the spoofer his team assembled was the most advanced one ever built.


Dear Mr. Dimon, Is Your Bank Getting Corporate Welfare?

Submitted by Roanman on Mon, 07/02/2012 - 13:39


From Bloomberg via Zero Hedge here's just one more example of the pervasive collusion between our government the banks and in this case the seemingly ubiquitous J.P. Morgan.

Click on the photo of Mr. Dimon below for the entire story.

Among the real good questions you didn't hear from anyone in Congress during the Jamie Dimon festival of love recently held on Capital Hill.

Dear Mr. Dimon, Is Your Bank Getting Corporate Welfare?

When JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon testifies in the U.S. House today, he will present himself as a champion of free-market capitalism in opposition to an overweening government. His position would be more convincing if his bank weren’t such a beneficiary of corporate welfare.

To be precise, JPMorgan receives a government subsidy worth about $14 billion a year, according to research published by the International Monetary Fund and our own analysis of bank balance sheets. The money helps the bank pay big salaries and bonuses. More important, it distorts markets, fueling crises such as the recent subprime-lending disaster and the sovereign-debt debacle that is now threatening to destroy the euro and sink the global economy.

How can all this be? Let’s take it step by step.


The Illusion of Choice

Submitted by Roanman on Mon, 07/02/2012 - 11:03


Here's the problem.

From Daily Infographic this infographic clearly demonstrates that like our financial system and our political system, far too few people hold far too much control over our media enterprises.

What's worse is that for the most part the same them that control our media companies, also control our banks and our governments.

Is it any wonder then, that we can't get a straight story out of our mainstream press and that rampant financial and government corruption goes on unnoticed and/or unreported by the alleged watchdogs of the fourth estate?

The jpeg below only covers the top 20% of this outstanding infographic, as always click anywhere below for the entire piece.

Way recommended, you should do it.




Who crossed the aisle on the Eric Holder contempt vote?

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 06/30/2012 - 08:11


From via and with some additional reporting ... that reporting thing as opposed to opinion is certainly refreshing ... from Whiteout Press here's a list of them that crossed the aisle on the House vote to bring contempt of Congress charges against Eric Holder.

If you can stomach the bile, the comments are instructive.



Jason Altmire (Pa.)
John Barrow (Ga.)
Dan Boren (Okla.)
Leonard Boswell (Iowa)
Ben Chandler (Ky.)
Mark Critz (Pa.)
Joe Donnelly (Ind.)
Kathy Hochul (N.Y.)
Ron Kind (Wis.)
Larry Kissell (N.C.)
Jim Matheson (Utah)
Mike McIntyre (N.C.)
Bill Owens (N.Y.)
Peterson (Minn.)
Nick Rahall (W. Va.)
Mike Ross (Ark.)
Tim Walz (Minn.)

Update: Two Republicans defected from the party line to vote no on criminal contempt:

Steve LaTourette (Ohio)
Scott Rigell (R-Va.)


As an aside, from the World Socialist Web Site who believe Holder should be indicted for "criminal actions against the democratic rights of the American people" but not for his actions regarding "Fast and Furious", 108 Dems abstained from voting.



Subscribe to RSS - Your government at work