The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets

It's amusing to watch a man argue for his own incarceration.......without realizing it.

Widespread manipulation of key benchmark interest rates such as the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, threatens public confidence in the financial system, and must be prevented through fines and criminal prosecution, Federal Reserve Gov. Jerome Powell said Tuesday.

How about Treasury rates?  Is manipulating them something that must be prevented through fines and criminal prosecution too?

Just curious, Mr. Powell...... and I'm sure you can figure out why.

Dealers at major Wall Street firms are alleged to have manipulated interest rates to benefit their trading positions, and banks were accused of reporting artificially low rates in the financial crisis to conceal their problems. Seven banks and brokerages have settled with regulators over alleged manipulation, and some of their employees have been criminally charged.

The Fed is a private bank; yes, they operate under a government charter but in fact so do all federally-linked banks -- which is basically all of them.

So if it's improper to manipulate various rates if you're JP Morgan, why isn't it equally improper to manipulate rates at the Federal Reserve through programs such as "QE"?

Heh Powell, did you grab one of these?

Suicide by genesis

and set yourself up for a pair of these with that speech?

Handcuffs by genesis

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)

The point raised here is a good oneand the platitude provided is false.

Google's Android mobile operating system takes a lot of criticism from security researchers for various security flaws and weaknesses. This week, Rapid7 security researcher Todd Beardsley stronglycriticized Google for not patching a security vulnerability that he disclosed to the search giant.

The security flaw disclosed by Beardsley is in the WebView component that is part of the default Android Web browser in versions of Android prior to 4.4 KitKat. According to Beardsley, Google told him it would not patch any versions of Android prior to 4.4 for WebView.

The article goes on to talk about how you could simply load a different browser that is not impacted, such as Chrome.  

This is not a fix, however, because any app that can display web pages inside it, which happens to be a whole lot of them, remains vulnerable!

Let me point out that many apps, including some very popular ones, are really nothing more than front-end parsers and display modules for traditional web sites.  There are a whole host of these in the Android Play Store and its analogues; indeed, it's the usual way to provide such an app since it's simple and leverages existing back-end infrastructure used for people on traditional (desktop and laptop) computers.

As such problems with the WebView interface infest any app that provides this sort of visualization service and that can only be fixed by repairing the flaw in the underlying code!

Contemplate that not only does this flaw impact a huge percentage of installed and in-use Android devices but that financial institution applications may be using this interface as well for the same reason that everyone else does.

Now add to this that mobile operators, at least in the United States, "gateway" software; that is, they demand the ability to choose when (or if) to release updates at all.  IMHO this should result in the carriers being held responsible when a patch is available, a compromise occurs, and their lack of timely release of same is implicated in the resulting breach.

Still sleeping well, are you?

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)

I'm simply stunned when I see someone transform themselves like Bill Black has -- from a guy who did the right thing, prosecuting and putting in prison more than 1,000 people after the S&L crisis, to a guy advocating the exact same sort of theft as official government policy.

Let's not mince words or dance around the issue: The S&L Crisis arose because banks created money by emitting credit that was unbacked by anything and then tried to hide what they had done when the losses they made were exposed as exceeding their net available capital.  When those who had lent them money (depositors, specifically) tried to collect their funds they discovered they had been lost to these bad, speculative, over-levered bets -- that is, the institution had actually created money (via the emission of credit) beyond its capital and earnings power and was unable to pay.

The falsification of the backing claims for these "loans" was the fraud, and fraud is illegal everywhere and anywhere because you are asserting something that is not true for the explicit purpose of inducing someone to take a financial action that has no rational means of being economically sound but for your intentional deception.

The sad reality is that this is how governments get in trouble too.  It's how Detroit got in trouble, for example -- they promised to pay (via issuance of bonds and pension obligations) predicated on tax revenues that had no hope, given the arithmetic, of being able to be realized.  That's fraud.

Greece got in trouble the same way.  They issued billions of Euros worth of debt far beyond their ability to tax in the present or reasonable future -- that is, by the time of the bond's maturity -- to ever pay the value of said bonds back.

When the markets called their bluff they suddenly had a big problem.

The United States has been doing the same thing.  There is no hope in Hell of the United States being able to pay down any of the national debt either now or in the foreseeable future and in fact it has never happened in the modern era, not even under Clinton; every single dollar of said deficit spending is an act of fraud because the only means to pay such a bond is to issue new currency which ratably makes every unit in existence worth less at the instant the bond is issued.  

While you can pay back the dollars promised the inherent promise you made when you issued the bond wasn't to pay dollars but rather than pay value, and you're unable to do that because the value never existed and you never had the ability to raise it via taxation.

But for that implied promise of returned value at maturity nobody would have ever bought the bonds!

That is fraud; you intentionally concealed a material fact that, if known to the buyer, would lead him not to make the purchase.

Greece did the same thing.  They made a promise to pay back the value of the borrowed funds when they issued bonds.  Yes, on the face it says "Euros" but again nobody would buy said bonds unless they expected to receive value, not worthless paper with printing on it.  The act of intentional deception in regard to the intentional destruction of that value, if withheld from the buyer at the time of his purchase, is fraud.

But now, with Greece's tit in the wringer, Bill Black in fact advocates exactly that fraud!

“Front-loading” means that the government makes heavy reductions in net government spending in the early years – when the economy is sure to have seriously inadequate demand. 

Notice what Bill Black doesn't say, because were he to say it then the fraud he is advocating would be manifest and exposed: He is advocating spending more than the Greek Government takes in via taxes, an act that can only occur through the further destruction of the value of the debt Greece issued and which must, mathematically, occur at the instant said deficit spending takes place.

In other words what is being advocated here is the exact fraud Bill Black imprisoned more than a thousand banksters for committing!

The entire reason you would lend a government (or anyone else) money is that you expect to earn some rate of return in value, not digits on a piece of paper.

Whether someone "cares" about the Greek people is not the point. Whether someone advocates stealing from Greek citizens or finding some way to transfer the theft of value to someone else (say, people in Germany) isn't the point either.  The point is arithmetic; there is no escaping it, nor is there any escape of the fundamental fact that it is the previous frauds that led Greece (and the rest of the Euro Zone, along with the United States and other industrialized nations such as Japan and China) into the pickle they find themselves in.

A government promise to pay someone a given value in the future that you cannot raise via tax revenue at that time is in fact fraud exactly as is a private promise to pay someone in the future when you know you can't, or intentionally won't, accumulate that amount of value in the time allotted to you.

Having committed that fraud there is no escape from the consequence for the people who have been defrauded; the funds do not exist, just as they didn't in the S&L crisis.  You can manufacture digits on a screen but you cannot manufacture value out of thin air.  This is why fraud ought to result in prison time because restitution -- that is, righting the wrong -- is not possible.

This is the inherent problem with so-called "new economic perspectives" (otherwise known as "MMT", which I roundly and entirely discredited in 15 seconds on TV with a quick demonstration a couple of years ago) and similar liberal malarkey.  The simple fact of the matter is that borrowing that is never repaid is by definition fraudulent because all such borrowing is a Ponzi scheme.

It is a Ponzi scheme since the mathematical laws of exponents guarantee that the amount due in interest alone for any rate of interest above zero will eventually swallow all revenues. Attempting to evade this fact by setting "negative" rates ultimately destroys all capital instead.

These outcomes are inevitable as they are determined by the laws of mathematics; they are physical constants that cannot be changed.

They always produce an outcome, because the laws of mathematics mandate it, that looks exactly like this -- the only debate is over how fast that occurs, not whether it will.

(If you prefer a longer textual explanation for the above chart -- and how close people typically are before they realize they're screwed by these charlatans -- please read this link.)

Further, and long before either of the above outcomes happen, the so-called "payments" that are made are in fact all short on a value basis, and what was lent to you was not digits on a screen but was value from previous economic output.  When governments that have currency-issuing power issue bonds they take that value from the economy by increasing the number of units of currency in circulation at the instant in time the bonds are sold, and by doing so decrease the value of each unit of "money" that every person who holds said money has by the exact ratable proportion to their holdings.

It is impossible, mathematically, for it to be otherwise.

Not only should the Greek Government (and the US Government, for that matter) be in prison for these acts of fraud but so should those who advocate for and wish to assist in promulgating and hiding even more of it.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)

That's simple -- when the smallest hint of stopping the robbery -- in this case, credit emitted by those with no ability to pay causes said market to collapse by upwards of 7% in a single day.

That's what happened last night in China, and it leads one to ask: Are you really dumb enough to think this is local to China?

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)

While researching backstory on the marijuana law loss in the last election in Florida I ran across an ugly provision in Florida's legal code that is probably little-known (unless you've been bit by it, of course.)

I was unaware of it even though I've lived here for some 15 years.

There is a very nasty little section of law when it comes to simple possession of small amounts (under 20 grams) of cannabis (marijuana) -- a nominal misdemeanor -- and it's not in the referenced section on drug offenses!

Oh no, this little ugly is in 322.055 (driver licenses), which you have to dig around to find.

322.055 Revocation or suspension of, or delay of eligibility for, driver license for persons 18 years of age or older convicted of certain drug offenses.—
(1) Notwithstanding s. 322.28, upon the conviction of a person 18 years of age or older for possession or sale of, trafficking in, or conspiracy to possess, sell, or traffic in a controlled substance, the court shall direct the department to revoke the driver license or driving privilege of the person. The period of such revocation shall be 1 year or until the person is evaluated for and, if deemed necessary by the evaluating agency, completes a drug treatment and rehabilitation program approved or regulated by the Department of Children and Families. However, the court may, in its sound discretion, direct the department to issue a license for driving privilege restricted to business or employment purposes only, as defined by s. 322.271, if the person is otherwise qualified for such a license. A driver whose license or driving privilege has been suspended or revoked under this section or s. 322.056 may, upon the expiration of 6 months, petition the department for restoration of the driving privilege on a restricted or unrestricted basis depending on length of suspension or revocation. In no case shall a restricted license be available until 6 months of the suspension or revocation period has expired.

Note that there is no requirement that the offense have anything to do with driving and the suspension is mandatory.

In other words if you get caught smoking pot in Florida you are ****ed in terms of being able to obtain or hold a job.

(This period was 2 years until it was apparently changed in the 2014 legislative session; the 2013 section of this law specified a 2 year penalty.)

I can understand suspending a driver license if the essence of the charge is that you were driving while stoned.  That's the same penalty associated with driving while drunk, and while in the general sense it offends my sensibilities to set arbitrary limits (rather than testing actual driving ability) there is a fairly-clear public interest issue in keeping drunk (or drugged) drivers off the streets provided they are actually impaired and unable to safely operate a vehicle.

But this sort of penalty associated with a straight low-level marijuana possession charge is particularly obscene because of what it does to a person's future.

First, such a suspension automatically puts you in the "high risk" insurance pool, where your rates will more than double instantly.  If you can't pay then you're subject to getting hammered for driving without insurance, a further offense (and one that shouldn't be an offense at all until and unless you cause an accident and cannot pay!)

Second, driving on a suspended license carries a three-tier series of penalties with the third and subsequent convictions, ever during one's lifetime, being a felony.

There will be those who argue that a "restricted license" resolves this problem and Florida allows the issue of one after six months.  Uh, no.  A restricted license only helps if you have a pre-existing job -- if you're seeking employment it does nothing for you since that use of a car is considered "discretionary" and thus would not fall under the permitted restricted uses.

People have been busted and jailed for stopping at a drive-through for coffee on their way to or from work, a perfectly-arguable work-related purpose and without material diversion from their work-related path, while on a restricted license!

Such a restricted license also makes impossible a search for a new apartment (say, one closer to your job) since you can't (legally) drive there, nor can you move your stuff into the new place using your car.  It prohibits going to the grocery store, doctor or other ordinary and necessary trips for a routine (and law-abiding) life.

If one cannot earn a living and have a routine life utilizing perfectly-legitimate and law-abiding means what does this leave that person with as an option?

Unlawful means such as dealing drugs or theft of various sorts.

Yeah, I get it that in most major metro areas (e.g. Chicago) having a car isn't necessary and in fact is an (expensive) hassle.  I spent a couple of years working for other people, living in the city, where my car essentially never left my garage for other than a recreational (e.g. vacation) purpose.  But this clearly doesn't work in non-urban areas; if you live in a suburb or rural area and cannot legally operate a motor vehicle you are basically screwed in terms of economic opportunity.

Is this what we want to promote as a society?  Taking someone who chooses to smoke pot and gets caught out of the productive workforce forever by, with a high degree of certainty, turning them into a felon?

I understand the sentiment that will be expressed by many -- you did the crime, now do the time.  Ok, I'm on board with that provided the punishment has some cogent nexus to the offense.

This law fails that test in that it facially appears to be intended to do exactly one thing: Create more criminals, specifically, create felons who can no longer find and maintain productive employment out of low-level misdemeanor offenders with a reasonably high degree of certainty.

If you're interested in how this came to be, give thanks to the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) who died last year -- he apparently tucked this little piece of **** into a highway funding bill in 1992.  May that rat bastard burn in Hell for this electioneering-inspired stunt.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)

Main Navigation
Full-Text Search & Archives
Archive Access
Legal Disclaimer

The content on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied. All opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and may contain errors or omissions.


The author may have a position in any company or security mentioned herein. Actions you undertake as a consequence of any analysis, opinion or advertisement on this site are your sole responsibility.

Market charts, when present, used with permission of TD Ameritrade/ThinkOrSwim Inc. Neither TD Ameritrade or ThinkOrSwim have reviewed, approved or disapproved any content herein.

The Market Ticker content may be reproduced or excerpted online for non-commercial purposes provided full attribution is given and the original article source is linked to. Please contact Karl Denninger for reprint permission in other media or for commercial use.

Submissions or tips on matters of economic or political interest may be sent "over the transom" to The Editor at any time. To be considered for publication your submission must include full and correct contact information and be related to an economic or political matter of the day. All submissions become the property of The Market Ticker.