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Archive for July 3rd, 2012

“Who? Us?” –JP Morgan

Posted by Charles II on July 3, 2012

Interesting news is pouring out at holiday time.

Katarzyna Klimasinska, Bloomies:

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) is being investigated over potential power-market manipulation that inflated payments for electricity, according to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The FERC, which has pledged to combat manipulation of prices, began its probe after reports last year of bidding practices by JPMorgan that the California and Midwest grid operators deemed to be abusive, according to documents provided by the Washington-based agency.

“Three of the bidding techniques had together resulted in at least $73 million in improper payments,” the agency said in documents filed yesterday, citing estimates by the two system operators.

Morgan response: “Who? Us?”

Also under FERC investigation/scrutiny: Deutsche Bank, Constellation, Barclays.

Posted in banking, crimes, energy | 3 Comments »

No One Expects the Papal Inquisition!

Posted by Charles II on July 3, 2012

Richard Grabman of MexFiles has an interesting story about how the Vatican, by appointing a man with roots in Liberation Theology, who also has urged conciliation with Protestants, to head the Congregation of the Faith could signal a change in the Church’s direction.

The new “Prefect for the Congregation of Faith” appointed today by the Vatican, Bishop (now Archbishop) Gerhard Ludwig Müller may signal a subtle change in Vatican policy towards the Latin American church, and a greater willingness to accommodate itself to the realities of Latin American religious beliefs.

Archbishop Müller’s brief is to head what was, way back called The Inquisition, although the “Congregation of Faith” is also briefed with overseeing cleaning up the various sex scandals that have rocked the Church in recent years and maintaining relations with other Christian sects.

The previous Prefect, U.S. Cardinal William Levada, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 75, was best known in the U.S. for cracking down on nuns, and making nice to the far right-wing, holocaust denying “traditionalist” Saint Pius X Society — a break-away Catholic sect, that was considered heretical, but is somewhat back in the good graces of the Church.

What makes this noteworthy here is that the present Pope, Benedict XVI, had this job under John-Paul II, and was the “holy hit-man” when the Papacy turned against Liberation Theology.

Grabman has much more. Go read it.

Posted in The Vatican, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Willard’s Stash

Posted by Charles II on July 3, 2012

A good article on Bain by Nicholas Shaxson of Vanity Fair.

Offshore bank accounts. Failure to disclose these shady holdings. Unclear whether taxes were paid on these holdings. Blind trusts which aren’t blind. Abuse of use of stock options by putting them into tax free accounts at super-low valuations. Abuse of the carried interest tax gimmick by which hedge fund operators pay taxes at sweetheart rates, about which Shaxson says:

The assertion that he broke no laws is widely accepted. But it is worth asking if it is actually true. The answer, in fact, isn’t straightforward. Romney, like the superhero who whirls and backflips unscathed through a web of laser beams while everyone else gets zapped, is certainly a remarkable financial acrobat. But careful analysis of his financial and business affairs also reveals a man who, like some other Wall Street titans, seems comfortable striding into some fuzzy gray zones.

And Bain went to extraordinary lengths to screw employees:

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Posted in Mitt Romney | 4 Comments »

The Junta: three different takes

Posted by Charles II on July 3, 2012

Truthout carried three interesting pieces today on the elites that are pushing the world into climatological catastrophe through degradation of democratic discourse.

John Pilger talks about a media junta:

A Melbourne journalist, Paul Chadwick, one of the few to rebel against Murdoch, described the media climate as “akin to a small group of generals who sit above the main institutions … a junta in all but name.”

Consider the junta’s rise. In the United States, at the end of the Second World War, 80 percent of newspapers were independently owned. By 1987, most were controlled by 15 corporations, of which six dominate today. Their ideological message is a mantra. They promote global and domestic economic piracy and the cult of “perpetual war.”

And Sara Robinson has a piece on the new aristocracy, based on a review of books by Michael Lind, Colin Woodard, and David Hackett Fischer:

Right now, a lot of our problems stem directly from the fact that the wrong sort has finally gotten the upper hand; a particularly brutal and anti-democratic strain of American aristocrat that the other elites have mostly managed to keep away from the levers of power since the Revolution. Worse: this bunch has set a very ugly tone that’s corrupted how people with power and money behave in every corner of our culture.

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Posted in history, Rupert Murdoch | 4 Comments »

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