Saturday, September 28, 2013

About This Proposal -- and What Do I Think Will Happen

I don't believe it is constitutional for the US government to be engaging in massive surveillance of its citizens. But most people seem to agree that the government is going to do this no matter what, and many people argue it's necessary for American safety. If it must be done, then, let's apply it equally. As I imply elsewhere, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. If all 300 million of us Americans' private communications need to be monitored in order to protect our personal safety against a threat that is about as common as shark attacks, then it seems only fair and appropriate that our financial apparatchiks' communications should all be monitored too. In order to prevent a clear and present crime that is not only picking people's pockets directly, as well as depleting the budgets of our States and Cities and major retirement funds, but also sapping tens of billions of dollars from the world economy in a time of incredibly severe economic downturn.

I suspect our politicians and our financial elite share a common belief: that surveillance is for the "little people", that they themselves are above the law and above reproach. I don't believe the financial elites will want this high-tech scrutiny turned upon them, and I believe the financial elites have the power to make sure it doesn't happen.

So if we manage to insert this concept into the public political discussion -- and if we are successful to the point where perhaps some Senators start drafting legislation that would bring this about... it's going to be fun to watch...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Latest Evidence, #1 in a series

Matt Taibbi's reports, "Everything Is Rigged", will obviously figure prominently on this blog. Matt isn't the only reporter covering this beat, but he aggregates everything conveniently. Scratch the surface of how our finances are handled by major players, mainly by private mega-banks like Goldman Sachs, but also including government agencies such as the Federal Reserve and Fannie Mae, and you quickly realize that the scale of the financial fraud that occurs every hour dwarfs the economy of some entire First World countries.

"Everything Is Rigged, Vol. 9,173: This Time It's Currencies"
Traders at some of the world's biggest banks manipulated benchmark foreign-exchange rates used to set the value of trillions of dollars of investments, according to five dealers with knowledge of the practice... Employees have been front-running client orders and rigging WM/Reuters rates by pushing through trades before and during the 60-second windows when the benchmarks are set, said the current and former traders, who requested anonymity because the practice is controversial. Dealers colluded with counterparts to boost chances of moving the rates, said two of the people, who worked in the industry for a total of more than 20 years. The $4.7-trillion-a-day currency market, the biggest in the financial system, is one of the least regulated. The inherent conflict banks face between executing client orders and profiting from their own trades is exacerbated because most currency trading takes place away from exchanges.
One after another, it's the same thing: Insiders rigging benchmark rates, shaving money from basically everyone on earth, systematically and over periods of many years. It's the ultimate taxation-without-representation story...