BATR April 16 2014
No one has ever claimed that the financial markets are a level playing field. Equities, bonds, currencies, options and futures are not arenas that operate by equivalent standards for all parties. Great fortunes were built not by chance, but on superior information, known to the few. Professional traders are not risk gamblers, but operate on the premise of special advantage. Through advance and proprietary techniques that reduce exposure hazards and provide exclusive head start triggers, which virtually guarantee profits, the elite firms dominate Wall Street.
Business Week states in the article, Is High-Frequency Trading Insider Trading?, that
“Classically defined, insider trading means having access to material, non-public information before it reaches the rest of the market; it’s like getting a heads-up about a merger before it’s announced, or maybe a phone call from a Goldman Sachs (GS) board member saying that Warren Buffett is about to invest $5 billion in the bank.”
With the introduction of super computers and Financial Algorithmic Trading, the era of generated trading strategies emerged that fill automatically, when predetermined prices are reached. Some would argue that exchanges were simply applying the latest technology to the time honored system of flipping positions.
Best-selling author Nomi Prins warns, “Never before have the Government and the Fed collaborated so extensively by propping up the banking system to the detriment of the population.” Prins lays out a long history of the relationships between U.S. Presidents and bankers that date back to Teddy Roosevelt and JP Morgan.
On her new book titled “All the Presidents’ Bankers,” Prins contends, “That connection with Teddy Roosevelt was a very powerful established entity between two people that has allowed all this stuff that has happened in the last hundred years to really happen. The friendships, the social ties, the idea that the bankers could sort themselves out with Treasury Department help if it needed to. Of course, it’s epic now. All of that was solidified then. Banks being hands-off with respect to the oval office was all solidified then. We’ve only been consolidating that message throughout the century since.”
In what may have big implications for the organic-food industry, Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s WMT largest unit, Walmart U.S., has teamed up with Wild Oats to sell a collection of pantry staples that will be much cheaper than national branded organic foods already on Walmart shelves.
Wild Oats, formerly the No. 2 U.S. organic grocer which Whole Foods WFM -0.53% agreed to buy in 2007 before it was forced to sell it in 2009 on anti-trust concerns, will offer about 100 items, from salsa to pasta, exclusively at about 2,000 Walmart stores across the country. Walmart eventually plans to roll the line out to its 4,000-store fleet and carry additional items. For Wild Oats, the introduction marked the brand’s relaunch.
“We are trying to disrupt the market,” Jack Sinclair, Walmart U.S.’s executive vice president of grocery, said in an interview. “What it is that makes organic products so expensive? Where’s the point of inefficiency? We want to bring accessibility” to organic items.
Walmart said the Wild Oats products will be priced at least 25% below those of the national organic brands it carries. For instance, Wild Oats has a 15-ounce organic tomato sauce that will sell for 88 cents, versus $1.38 for a rival national organic brand. Walmart, which currently carries 1,600 organic grocery items, said Wild Oats’ collection will be priced on par with other national non-organic brands. Its own Great Value private-label line, which doesn’t feature organic products, will still have the lowest price. Walmart has its own organic fresh produce under the Marketside label.
This is pretty interesting. ~G
David Horowitz, founder of an organization called the “Freedom Center,” argued that blacks should not be paid reparations for the enslavement of their ancestors. Among his reasons are that:
- There Is No Single Group Clearly Responsible For The Crime Of Slavery
- Most Americans Have No Connection (Direct Or Indirect) To Slavery
- Reparations To African Americans Have Already Been Paid
But slavery, in its various forms of physical and mental torment, has been a part of U.S. history from the beginnings of our country to the present day. There are numerous modern-day corporations who profited immensely – themselves or their predecessors – from slave labor. Only token amounts have been paid back, along with a few scattered apologies.
Four eras of abuse can clearly be identified.
First Era: Before Emancipation
Prior to the Civil War, King Cotton was the rallying cry for the South. With cotton accounting for 60 percent of all U.S. exports, and 75 percent of all the cotton purchased by Great Britain, slaves were needed more than ever. African-Americans in tens of thousands were herded to the deep south, chained neck to neck as they became the hapless tools of industry.
Mary Jo White, Chair, Securities & Exchange Commission
Since bestselling author Michael Lewis appeared on 60 Minutes on March 30 to promote his new book, “Flash Boys,” and explained how the U.S. stock market is rigged; and Brad Katsuyama, the head of IEX, an electronic trading platform who plays a central role in the Lewis book, did the same on CNBC a few days later, the debate has gone viral.
But Lewis and Katsuyama were not the first to blow the whistle on rigged U.S. stock markets. Sal Arnuk and Joseph Saluzzi, Wall Street insiders and co-founders of Themis Trading LLC literally wrote the book on “Broken Markets” in 2012 and have been exposing details of the rigging on their blog ever since.
Wall Street Journal reporter, Scott Patterson, mapped out the exotic and corrupt order types permitted by the stock exchanges to fleece the little guy in his 2012 book, “Dark Pools,” which follows the trading career of Haim Bodek, who has set up his own web site to blow the whistle on just how badly the stock market is rigged.
Following all the media hoopla, the FBI has recently announced that it has opened an investigation into the allegations. But under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the FBI is not in charge of rigged stock exchanges — the Securities and Exchange Commission is. But according to insiders, the SEC has stood down in much the same fashion that it ignored warnings about Bernard Madoff from whistleblower Harry Markopolos for years. The explanation for the SEC’s inaction, many traders feel, is that the SEC itself is rigged against Main Street in favor of big Wall Street firms. That view has found support among the SEC’s own insiders.
In a case that is a perfect storm illustration of an arbitrary and incompetent federal government running roughshod over its citizens, “a single sentence tucked into the farm bill” had led to outrageous behavior. Marc Fisher of the Washington Post:
A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice’s tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government — a very old debt.
When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.
Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for a swindle pulled off by the world’s biggest banks, using a form of derivative called interest-rate swaps; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has now joined a chorus of litigants suing over it. According to an SEIU report:
Derivatives . . . have turned into a windfall for banks and a nightmare for taxpayers. . . . While banks are still collecting fixed rates of 3 to 6 percent, they are now regularly paying public entities as little as a tenth of one percent on the outstanding bonds, with rates expected to remain low in the future. Over the life of the deals, banks are now projected to collect billions more than they pay state and local governments – an outcome which amounts to a second bailout for banks, this one paid directly out of state and local budgets.
It is not just that local governments, universities and pension funds made a bad bet on these swaps. The game itself was rigged, as explained below. The FDIC is now suing in civil court for damages and punitive damages, a lead that other injured local governments and agencies would be well-advised to follow. But they need to hurry, because time on the statute of limitations is running out.
The Largest Cartel in World History
On March 14, 2014, the FDIC filed suit for LIBOR-rigging against sixteen of the world’s largest banks – including the three largest USbanks (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup), the three largest UKbanks, the largest German bank, the largest Japanese bank, and several of the largest Swiss banks. Bill Black, professor of law and economics and a former bank fraud investigator, calls them “the largest cartel in world history, by at least three and probably four orders of magnitude.”
GizaDeathStar April 13 2014 (Thanks, Minty)
This one is a stunner; there’s no other way to put it folks, and it is such a stunner that one simply cannot avoid some High Octane Speculation concerning it, and I suspect, that it may venture even beyond that, into Oxygen Deprived Speculation. Zero Hedge has reported on a story that Goldman Sachs may be abandoning the HFT(high frequency trading) which has served it so well in the past:
Triple Whammy Shocker: Goldman Shutting Down Sigma X
The heart of the matter, as far as Goldman is concerned, and as far as Zero Hedge is reporting, is that the high frequency trading that has now become the bread-and-butter of the American securities markets is in danger of a “Flash crash times ten”:
“And if Goldman is willing to exit not only HFT, not only legacy lit markets entirely, but also its dark pool, then something truly big and transformational is coming to not only the existing market structure, but something that will be so disruptive, that for once we can’t wait to find out just what Goldman has up its sleeves, sleeves which also happen to house the key lawmakers in the Beltway.
“Why is Goldman doing this now? We don’t know. It is worth noting however that on page 234 of Flash Boys, Michael Lewis cites Ron Morgan and Brian Levine, Goldman Partners and co-heads of Goldman’s global stock markets, who said that ‘Unless there are some changes, there’s going to be a massive crash, a flash crash times ten.‘”