Archive for the ‘The Market Ticker’ tag
by Karl Denninger
As if all the other insults of Obamacare aren't bad enough, here's a new one I just became aware of.
When you go into the exchange to buy insurance the site verifies you're a person, and a citizen. Well, so it says.
What it actually does is contact Experian to "verify" your identity.
If you have no credit record because you've never applied for or held credit in your name, the system refuses to confirm you, and in fact even after an hour-long phone call they will still refuse!
The only way to confirm in that case is to send a paper copy of your driver license and Social Security card (and sometimes your birth certificate) to them for manual processing, which of course, may take a while — and during which you can't do anything.
This is true even if all of the below are true:
You have a Social Security Number and yes, it's yours.
You have a job and thus W-2 income tax has been withheld and deposited in your name.
You have filed tax returns and thus the IRS knows damn well you exist, because they've taken your money and (in many cases) refunded your overpayments, all linked (of course) to your Social Security Number.
You have a bank account for which, I might add, you had to supply said Social Security Number.
You have a Real ID Compliant Driver License for which you had to supply both your Social Security Card and your Birth Certificate to the state to obtain and which, I might add, they kept copies of in a database.
If you're male, you have registered for Selective Service (as required by law.)
You might even have a Passport, which of course requires that your citizenship has been vetted by the State Department.
If you have done all of the above, are a taxpaying citizen, have (or had at some point) a job, have filed and paid taxes, have a Real-ID compliant Driver License and even have a Passport, submitting proof of your citizenship multiple times to various state and federal agencies and are conducting your life with such proof in hand every single day you still do not exist for the purpose of buying health insurance on the "exchange" unless you have been in debt at some point and thus have an Experian Credit File.
If you have chosen to live a life that requires no credit (or are too young to have wanted it), which incidentally is a good thing not bad, from the standpoint of Obamacare you do not exist.
I'm not kidding.
I didn't believe it until I verified it.
WTF is wrong with you, America, for putting up with THAT?
by Karl Denninger
An identity theft service that sold Social Security and drivers license numbers; as well as bank account and credit card data on millions of Americans purchased much of its data from Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, according to a lengthy investigation by KrebsOnSecurity.
Experian apparently sold data on millions of Americans, including social security, bank account and driver license numbers to a “service” that operated for the explicit purpose of stealing people’s identity.
The worst part of this is that there was no notification of the breach and there is still, a couple of years later, not only no means of redress for those harmed , but also no means to prevent it in the future.
They caught the guy who was behind the ring, but that’s not the point. The point is that the company that sold him the data (1) got it from you in a form you can’t opt out of and (2) has never been held accountable for the economic and non-economic harm done as a consequence, nor is there any evidence they ever will be.
The solution to this is for your data to be yours, and not anyone else’s. Never mind that it’s supposed to be against the law to require your social security number for anything other than Social Security purposes.
Of course that was then (got an old card laying around? Have a look at it) and this is now when you’re a sheep and you’ll go”Baaaaaahhh!”so long as you can have an iPhone right now on credit.
Welcome to your own self-built Hell folks; mind if I try to slay the devils you’ve been feeding?
broadcast by Karl Denninger
It’s not just the NSA. It’s also the IRS. And “Homeland Security.” And everything else. It not only has made us less-safe, it is destroying our economic environment — piece by piece. We’ll go through it and the implications, with a focus on not only the social and political issues, but the economic ones as well.
When insiders sell stock, that’s usually a strong sell signal for everyone else. As I mentioned in a previous post, many of Facebook’s early investors cashed out rather than hang onto their shares, and the stock price plummeted from the IPO price of $38 (at one point the share price had risen to $45) to close at $21.94 on Friday. In after-hours trading, Facebook (ticker symbol FB) traded down another 1.33% to $21.65. Trading was closed Monday and Tuesday due to Hurricane Sandy, but trading reopens today.
After trading hours on Friday, October 26, several senior Facebook officers made required filings of 4s forms to the SEC reporting that on October 25, they converted their newly unlocked restricted shares from Class B common shares, which get ten votes, to Class A common shares which only get one vote. Unlike the Class B shares, the Class A shares can be traded in the public market. In fact, the only reason to give up the ten times voting rich Class B shares for Class A shares is to ready yourself to sell the shares, since Facebook offers no economic value when the exchange is made. In other words, as soon as their shares were unlocked, Facebook’s officers got them ready for sale in the open market.
That’s not a surprise, right? After all, when the rats start abandoning the ship, one is usually wise to look for the lifeboats and life jackets lest you find the water rising around your ankles.
The bigger problem Facebook has is the intrusion issue. Janet noted something that I’ve noticed as well on my page in the last couple of weeks — the company has ramped up it’s abuse of users in the form of “liking things.”
That is, suddenly my top-level page has all sorts of product and service “touts” that I don’t think people intentionally posted there. But it sure looks like it from a casual glance. This, incidentally, led me to update my status warning people that I’d be more than happy to prune those who are “friends” and both have and will continue to do so.
The funny thing about this is that FacePalm seems to think that they’re the “creator of value” with such stunts. They’re wrong. Like so many other allegedly “value-creating” enterprises on The Internet the mistake they make is thinking they can appropriate the actions of their users and sell them on a forward basis without eventually pissing people off.
That has never proved to work in the history of The Internet and it won’t this time either.
I maintain my view that Facebook is ultimately a zero; it’s cost of operation will exceed its revenue eventually, and when it does it will simply bleed out until the carcass is washed into the drain of history, much as happend with Myspace.
Disclosure: I own PUTs.
by Karl Denninger
There are two things every American needs to know about Bank of America.
The first is that it’s corrupt. This bank has systematically defrauded almost everyone with whom it has a significant business relationship, cheating investors, insurers, homeowners, shareholders, depositors, and the state. It is a giant, raging hurricane of theft and fraud, spinning its way through America and leaving a massive trail of wiped-out retirees and foreclosed-upon families in its wake.
The second is that all of us, as taxpayers, are keeping that hurricane raging. Bank of America is not just a private company that systematically steals from American citizens: it’s a de facto ward of the state that depends heavily upon public support to stay in business. In fact, without the continued generosity of us taxpayers, and the extraordinary indulgence of our regulators and elected officials, this company long ago would have been swallowed up by scandal, mismanagement, prosecution and litigation, and gone out of business. It would have been liquidated and its component parts sold off, perhaps into a series of smaller regional businesses that would have more respect for the law, and be more responsive to their customers.
I can easily argue all that’s true.
So why did this happen? And is it limited to one firm?
Let’s dispose of the latter first — it most-certainly is not!
Let’s refer back to Citi’s former chief risk officer who testified under oath before the FCIC that the firm knew that by 2007 80% of the loans they were writing on houses did not meet their published quality guidelines. They sold them to investors anyway, much like a meat-packing house knowingly selling tainted meat to consumers.
The outrageous behavior of these institutions is not really much of a surprise when one looks at history. Glass-Steagall’s eviscertation by Greedscam and then it’s ultimate repeal (and ex-post-facto legalization of the Traveler’s merger at the same time) made clear that if you were a large financial institution you could do literally anything and not go to prison. This has been reinforced since in that virtually every one of the large financial institutions has committed for more than instances of chargable fraud; under “three strikes” laws were you or I to do the same thing we’d be cooling our heels serving a life sentence in prison.
The fraud and deception starts with our youth. A few years ago I was a chaperone for the local school (including my kid) on a “field trip” to a number of important everyday local institutions. One was the post office where the kids saw the process that mail goes through to get from the big truck to your local carrier’s bin on its way to your mailbox.
The other was a local bank in which they proudly showed off their vault and stated that they took deposits and made loans, leaving the impression that when you deposited money it was “safe” and when loans were made it was with money the bank actually had.
Both statements were lies, of course.
In truth lending out money you never received unbacked by anything is nothing more than counterfeiting — a naked short, if you will, on the currency. Yet this is the model we have today.
“One Dollar of Capital” solves this problem but makes the bubble-blowing games impossible. It also makes asset-stripping really, really difficult. Both of those salutary changes to our economic posture for the 99% would, of course, make the 1% earn their money instead of stealing it and thus are found unacceptable.
The real question is why we, the people, tolerate this crap. The game thus far since 2007 has been to run fear — claims of “tanks in the streets” and similar, all of which were you to do it would constitute a serious felony known as “terroristic threats.” So how is it that a Treasury Secretary gets away with it?
Well, again, because we the people allow it.
In short the screwings will continue until the people rise and demand it be stopped. Unfortunately the imbalances that the “powers that be” are trying to continue in an futile attempt to fake a “recovery” are simply digging a deeper and deeper hole when it comes to federal deficits and thus the inevitable size of the contraction that must come in government as a whole.
Definitely worth watching… I’m on about half-way in.
I think you’ll find the interview enlightening — enjoy.
Here is the interview recorded with Jim Puplava of Financial Sense discussing Leverage: How Cheap Money Will Destroy The World, available at all the usual places (click the book at right to order your copy!.
It’s hard-hitting, but is it correct.
To a large degree, yes it is.
Let’s talk about what Bain, and other “private equity” firms really do. Their task — how they make money — is to find companies that are “inefficient” and turn them into more-efficient entities. Their reward for doing so is that they take some of the spoils for themselves — frequently as much as a quarter of the value in the firm or more.
Efficiency is not a bad thing, and driving out inefficiency is, on balance, good. The problem is how that efficiency comes about.
We live in a world where our government has conspired with banks to make cross-border arbitrage profitable. Very profitable. The result has been the evisceration of our working-class population — the vast majority of America. Our manufacturing has been made “more efficient” by moving it to China, where people labor under effective slave conditions — conditions so good that recently a group of employees at Foxconn threatened to commit suicide en-masse.
But it doesn’t end there. The abuse of leverage makes possible the taking of more and more debt by firms that then gets paid out to these private-equity raiders. The putative argument for this sort of structure is that the debt will help grow the company and thus everyone will benefit.
But it doesn’t always work out that way.
KB Toys is one example outlined in that video that is truthful. KB was larded up with debt and ultimately collapsed under the load. Yet Bain made a monstrous profit on what was, objectively, a failed transaction.
This sort of “strip it and steal it” model is entirely legal. But the question is not whether something is legal — it is whether it’s a model we ought to encourage and base our economy upon, and whether someone who has practiced this destruction of American jobs and the offshoring of capital should be elected President.
The answer, quite simply, is no.
Leverage outlines a whole host of lawful offenses in this regard. They are all enabled and in fact made profitable by the explicit actions of government. Government’s role is to protect the rule of law, and yet when it comes to trans-national arbitrage what’s legal in one place may not be in another. The exploitation of workers and destruction of the environment may be perfectly legal in China, but here in America we made both unlawful. This is where government has a proper role via the imposition of tariffs and imposts, which so-called “free traders” oppose. In point of fact, however, this is not “free trade” at all — it’s free and legal abuse that firms like Bain make a huge amount of money exploiting.
It is not possible for me to endorse or support a candidate that believes in and has personally profited from this sort of arbitrage. That something is legal does not make it right. It is lawful, for example, for 10 year olds to be sold into sexual slavery in some nations, and yet we recognize this as an unspeakable evil and in fact have a Federal Law on the books that states that if you travel to those nations for that purpose you will, if caught, be sentenced to prison.
Our labor and environmental laws are either just and defensible or they are not. If they are not then we should repeal them. If they are then we must defend them. Since we cannot force other nations to adhere to our model of environmental and labor law, our only means of enforcement of our standards in this regard is via tariffs.
There are those who say that it’s unfair to penalize Bain, and Romney, because they exploited a perfectly-legal means of arbitrage, or that Romney left Bain before some of these events occurred. But that something is lawful does not make it right, and the leadership of an entity defines what it is and does. .
The willful and intentional destruction of American industry and jobs may be legal but it is a fair question as to whether you want a man who was actively engaged in this, and became wealthy doing so, to be President. especially when any denouncement you make of an entity’s actions wait until after you declare your candidacy and make off with the money gained from those practices.
During my time in business I have had many opportunities to take actions that were legal but I found distasteful. It would have been easy to justify those actions by saying that there was nothing legally wrong with them, but that’s not how I live. Money is how we keep score in a capitalist society, but when money becomes the only means of keeping score then we’ve got a problem, because rich and powerful people can always bribe their way to redefinition of the law to suit their pocketbooks.
I believe we need, and should demand, a higher standard in our elected officials.
Karl Denninger On The Edge
by Karl Denninger
Look folks, it’s simple — what the IMF wants, what the banksters want, here, there, everywhere, is the same thing: Your money, as much as they can get, and they don’t care what happens to you.
Austerity policies are now widely regarded as having failed, and this failure is increasingly obvious in the country elected to act as Austerity’s Child. The banking collapse, and the legacy bequeathed by the Irish state’s extraordinary September 2008 bank guarantee, has seen society in Ireland reshaped as a petri dish for IMF, European commission and ECB experimentation. Successive waves of cuts have been stipulated by the Troika in return for its loans, but implemented without resistance, and arguably, a degree of enthusiasm, by the two governments of the “post-sovereign” era.
Yep. I said originally that Ireland should give the finger to the banksters, and if the government refused then the people should give the finger to the government, ejecting and replacing it.
What is “give the finger”?
Simple; you tell them this: You made a bad loan, you’re going to eat it. Period.
Yes, I know, pension funds and others bought the paper. Guess what — they did no diligence (or insufficient diligence) and they’re going to lose money as a result. That’s what’s supposed to happen when you do something stupid!
In point of fact it is the only way by which the market works. When you do smart things you make money. When you do dumb things you lose money. When you do really stupid things you go bankrupt.
There’s still time Ireland. Tell the banksters to get stuffed. Right here, right now.
As for Europe, same deal among their governments — including Greece. Tell the banksters to go to Hell.
As for here? Same deal. Got a loan out and are you tired of the “ethics” of these firms? Consult a tax and legal advisor, find out what can be done to you (if anything) if you tell them to go to Hell, and if that’s the correct business decision then tell them to blow their alleged debt out their ass.
Note carefully folks: American Airlines — a big corporation — just did exactly that.
They filed a preemptive bankruptcy to avoid paying for things they had agreed to pay for because they determined it was no longer to their advantage to do so.
WAKE UP IRELAND. WAKE UP GREECE.
And wake up AMERICA and AMERICANS.
There is NO moral obligation to pay. There is only the ability (or not) to enforce a contract.