sabato 1 maggio 2010

Trichet Calls For BIS To Boss Global Gov

Trichet Calls For Corrupt BIS To Boss Global Government In CFR Speech

ECB President tells insiders that secretive group of international bankers – responsible to no nation state – will become primary engine of world government

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Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com

Thursday, April 29, 2010

In a speech before the elitist Council On Foreign Relations organization in New York earlier this week, President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet called for the imposition of global governance to be bossed by the G20 and the corrupt Bank of International Settlements in the name of safeguarding the global economy.

In an address entitled “Global Governance Today,” Trichet proclaims how the elite need to impose “A set of rules, institutions, informal groupings and cooperation mechanisms that we call “global governance”.

During the course of the speech, Trichet uses the term “global governance” well over a dozen times, outlining how “global governance is of the essence” to avoid another financial crisis.

Section one of Trichet’s speech is entitled, “Why we need global governance,” and from then on he constantly invokes the economic downturn as a justification for empowering secretive, undemocratic and corrupt global institutions with the power to rule the world.

Highlights of Trichet’s speech can be viewed below via the official Council on Foreign Relations You Tube channel.

A full transcript of the speech was also carried by the Bank for International Settlements, an international organization of central banks that has constantly lobbied for a centralized global currency to replace that of nation states. Trichet praises the BIS as being “ahead of the curve” in dealing with the financial crisis during the speech.

The primary outfit that will boss the institutions of global governance, according to Trichet, is the Global Economy Meeting (GEM), which regularly meets at the BIS headquarters in Basel. This group, states Trichet, “has become the prime group for global governance among central banks”. The GEM is basically a policy steering committee under the umbrella of the Bank for International Settlements.

The BIS is a branch of the of the Bretton-Woods International Financial architecture and closely allied with the Bilderberg Group. It is controlled by an inner elite that represents all the world’s major central banking institutions. John Maynard Keynes, perhaps the most influential economist of all time, wanted it closed down as it was used to launder money for the Nazis during World War II.

Financial website Investors Insight describe the BIS as “the most powerful bank you’ve never heard of,” labeling it “the most powerful financial institution on earth”.

The bank wields power through its control of vast amounts of global currencies. The BIS controls no less than 7% of the world’s available foreign exchange funds, as well as owning 712 tons of gold bullion.

“By controlling foreign exchange currency, plus gold, the BIS can go a long way toward determining the economic conditions in any given country,” writes Doug Casey. “Remember that the next time Ben Bernanke or European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet announces an interest rate hike. You can bet it didn’t happen without the concurrence of the BIS Board.”

The BIS is basically a huge slush fund for global government through which secret transfers of wealth from citizens are surreptitiously handed to the IMF.

“For example, U.S. taxpayer monies can be passed through BIS to the IMF and from there anywhere. In essence, the BIS launders the money, since there is no specific accounting of where particular deposits came from and where they went,” writes Casey.

“The bank was a major player promoting the adoption of the euro as Europe’s common currency. There are rumors that its next project is persuading the U.S., Canada and Mexico to switch to a similar regional money, perhaps to be called the “amero,” and it’s logical to assume the bank’s ultimate goal is a single world currency. That would simplify transactions and really solidify the bank’s control of the planetary economy,” adds Casey.

The Bank of International Settlements is responsible to no national government whatsoever. Trichet’s acknowledgment that an offshoot of the corrupt BIS will boss the main engine global government is a startling revelation, and emphasizes once again that world government is inherently undemocratic and dictatorial in nature.

(ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)

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The fact that Trichet unveiled this new approach in the march towards global governance before an audience of CFR insiders is fully appropriate.

The Council On Foreign Relations comprises of influential elitists and powerbrokers from all sectors of government, business, academia and the media. It is the public face of the more secretive Bilderberg Group. The CFR only recruits members sympathetic to its agenda for global government and the elimination of U.S. sovereignty.

The scope of the CFR’s mission was best encapsulated by former Deputy Secretary of State under Clinton and CFR luminary Strobe Talbott, who told Time Magazine in July 1992, “In the next century, nations as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority. National sovereignty wasn’t such a great idea after all.”

As we have emphasized, the global elite have already announced the birth of world government and who will run it. People expecting the UN to be at the helm have been distracted as the G20, alongside the BIS, was being empowered with the tools through which global governance is being coordinated.

In his speech, Trichet acknowledges the role of the G20 in using the financial crisis to mandate developing countries’ “full integration into the institutions of global governance.”

“The G20 has been effective in addressing the global crisis. We are now at the stage where this forum is making the transition from acting in a crisis resolution mode to contributing to crisis prevention,” said Trichet. In other words, the elite exploited the financial crisis in order to allow the G20 to pose as saviors and consequently empower itself to impose global governance regulations on nation states in the name of avoiding another economic crisis.

As EU President Herman Van Rompuy stated during his speech in Brussels, 2009 marked the first official year of world government powers being directly exercised to control the economies of nation states.

“2009 is also the first year of global governance, with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet,” said Van Rompuy.

The Strange Death of Senator Paul Wellstone

Empower The People
Open Letter to Obama



Global Research, April 29, 2010
Nader.org - 2010-04-26

Dear President Obama, Senator Schumer and Senator Shelby:

On the eve of the portentous Senate debate over the extent to which the financial industry is to be so as to avert future megacollapses on the backs of taxpayers, workers and consumers, a great gap has been left unattended.


That gap pertains to the continued powerlessness of the investors and consumers—the people who bear the ultimate brunt of Wall Street’s recklessness, avarice and crimes and who have the greatest interest in strong regulatory enforcement.

Among all the amendments filed for the upcoming Senate debate, only amendment number 29, introduced by Senator Schumer, provides a facility to establish an independent non-governmental non-profit Financial Consumers’ Association (FCA).

Amendment 29 includes the following for funding this unique institution:

“…the financial industry has enjoyed virtually unlimited access to represent its interest before Congress, the courts, and State and Federal regulators, while financial services consumers have had limited representation before Congress and financial regulatory entities;” and

“…the Federal Government has a substantial interest in the creation of a public purpose, democratically controlled, self-funded, nationwide membership association of financial services consumers to enhance their representation and to effectively combat unsound financial practices.”

Anyone modestly familiar with the history of regulatory failures knows that the gross disparity of power and organized advocacy between big business and consumers outside of government leads to an absence of fair standards and law enforcement.

It also leads, as everyone knows, to massive taxpayer bailouts, subsidies and guarantees when these giant banks and other financial firms immolate themselves, after enriching their bosses, while engulfing tens of millions of innocent people in the subsequent economic conflagration.

Given all the privileges and costly rescues for culpable corporations that flow regularly from Washington, D.C., adopting ever so mildly the principle of reciprocity makes a powerful case for facilitating a nationwide Financial Consumers’ Association—one that would be composed of voluntary memberships by consumers who, through their annual dues, will sustain the FCA for an expert place at the table.

Senator Schumer, when he was a Congressman during the savings and loan bailout in the nineteen eighties, introduced such a proposal. But the bankers took the $150 billion bailout and blocked this reciprocal respect for depositors in the House Banking Committee.

Then Representative Schumer and his supporting colleagues on that Committee understood that without the supposed beneficiaries of regulatory authority being organized to make regulation and deterrence work, the Savings and Loan collapse could happen again. And so they became prophetic beyond their wildest nightmares.

Before (October 17, 2002) he died in a plane crash in 2002 (October 25, 2002), Senator Paul Wellstone recognized the need for such a facility, when he introduced the Consumer and Shareholder Protection Association Act.

A key enhancing feature in amendment 29 is a requirement that invitations to membership in the FCA be included in the billing envelopes or electronic communications of financial institutions with their customers. At no expense to these vendors, these notices would ensure that the maximum number of consumers are invited to join and fund such a democratically run, educational and advocacy organization.

In early 2009 I met with Chairman Christopher Dodd and explained the nature and importance of the FCA and Senator Schumer’s earlier role in advancing this civic innovation. He seemed receptive to the idea and urged us to have his colleague Senator Schumer take the lead, which he has done with amendment 29 just a few weeks ago. Senator Shelby and I have also discussed the FCA proposal.

The major valiant but overwhelmed consumer groups, who experience daily this enormous imbalance of power between corporations and consumers, presently stacked by unprecedented amounts of federal funds and bailout facilities for the misbehaving companies, support the creation of a self-funded FCA.

The Federal Government has long paid for facilities in the U.S. Department of Agriculture for agricultural businesses to band together and assess themselves to promote beef, corn, cotton and other commodities to increase their profits. By contrast the FCA, once launched, would be composed of consumers paying their own way to preserve their hard-earned savings from predatory financial speculators.

Allow one prediction. Even if the ultimate legislation comes out stronger than expected on such matters as derivatives, rating agencies, too big to fail, using depositor funds for speculation, and the consumer financial regulatory bureau, unless the consumer-investor is afforded modest facilities to band together with their experts and advocates, the laws will hardly be enforced with sufficient budgets, personnel and regulatory will power.

Give the consumer a modest round in this prolonged deliberation following the destructive events of 2008.

Sincerely,
Ralph Nader


If We Broke Up Standard Oil, We Can Break Up the Giant Banks

If We Broke Up Standard Oil, We Can Break Up the Giant Banks



Global Research, April 30, 2010
Washington's Blog

If we broke up standard oil, we can break up the giant banks.

Says who?

Senator Ted Kaufman (interviewed recently by The American Prospect's Tim Fernholz):

You and Senator Sherrod Brown have proposed an amendment that would cap the size of the largest banks and, in effect, break them up. How do you sell this to people who are leery of what seems like a radical move?

First off, we've broken up things before. We broke up Standard Oil, we broke up AT&T, we broke up the accountants, too. A lot of the changes we're talking about, the mergers, are just new. When you look at the reasons these banks are so big -- and you know how big they are -- remember the reason JP Morgan Chase is so big is because they bought Washington Mutual when it was in trouble, and Wells Fargo bought Wachovia, and Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch [during the crisis]. It is pretty straightforward, now that these are back on their feet, that it makes sense to break them up.

Alan Greenspan:

U.S. regulators should consider breaking up large financial institutions considered “too big to fail,” former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said.

Those banks have an implicit subsidy allowing them to borrow at lower cost because lenders believe the government will always step in to guarantee their obligations. That squeezes out competition and creates a danger to the financial system, Greenspan told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

“If they’re too big to fail, they’re too big,” Greenspan said today. “In 1911 we broke up Standard Oil -- so what happened? The individual parts became more valuable than the whole. Maybe that’s what we need to do.”

At one point, no bank was considered too big to fail, Greenspan said. That changed after the Treasury Department under then-Secretary Hank Paulson effectively nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Treasury and Fed bailed out Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc.

“It’s going to be very difficult to repair their credibility on that because when push came to shove, they didn’t stand up,” Greenspan said.

Fed officials have suggested imposing a tax or requiring higher capital ratios on larger banks to ensure the firms’ safety and reduce some of the competitive advantage from the implied subsidy. Greenspan said that won’t work.

“I don’t think merely raising the fees or capital on large institutions or taxing them is enough,” Greenspan said. “I think they’ll absorb that, they’ll work with that, and it’s totally inefficient and they’ll still be using the savings”...

“If you don’t neutralize that, you’re going to get a moribund group of obsolescent institutions which will be a big drain on the savings of the society,” he said.

“Failure is an integral part, a necessary part of a market system,” he said. “If you start focusing on those who should be shrinking, it undermines growing standards of living and can even bring them down.”

Former chief IMF economist Simon Johnson:

Writing in the New York Times today, Joe Nocera sums up, “If Mr. Obama hopes to create a regulatory environment that stands for another six decades, he is going to have to do what Roosevelt did once upon a time. He is going to have make some bankers mad.”

Good point – but Nocera is thinking about the wrong Roosevelt (FDR). In order to get to the point where you can reform like FDR, you first have to break the political power of the big banks, and that requires substantially reducing their economic power - the moment calls more for Teddy Roosevelt-type trustbusting, and it appears that is exactly what we will not get.

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich:

Neither the draft bill, nor the Committee, nor anyone on the Hill having anything to do with financial regulation, is raising what I consider to be the two key reforms necessary for avoiding another financial meltdown -- resurrecting the Glass-Steagall Act that once separated commercial from investment banking, and applying antitrust laws to the remaining five biggest Wall Street banks so none is "too big to fail."

One of the world's leading economic historians, Niall Ferguson:

What's needed is a serious application of antitrust law to the financial-services sector and a speedy end to institutions that are "too big to fail."

***

[Geithner is proposing that] there should be a new "resolution authority" for the swift closing down of big banks that fail. But such an authority already exists and was used when Continental Illinois failed in 1984.

Indeed, even the FDIC mentions Continental Illinois in the same breadth as "too big to fail" banks.

And William K. Black - the senior regulator during the S&L crisis, and an Associate Professor of both Economics and Law at the University of Missouri - says that the Prompt Corrective Action Law (PCA), 12 U.S.C. § 1831o, not only authorizes the government to seize insolvent banks, it mandates it, and that the Bush and Obama administrations broke the law by refusing to close insolvent banks. And see this. Whether or not the financial giants can be broken up using the PCA, no one can doubt that the government could find a way to break them up if it wanted.

Break 'em up ...


Washington's Blog is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

When Regulation Isn't Enough

By Jay Diamond
Consortiumnews.com, April 28, 2010

Editor’s Note: Democrats are trying to pass some modest financial reform to rein in Wall Street’s worst abuses; Republicans are playing their usual games, claiming they want a better “bipartisan solution” while using filibusters to block any bill reaching the Senate floor; and the Wall Street titans who were bailed out by public money still think they deserve million-dollar bonuses.

Given the intractable problems with the American political/economic system, some critics, like Jay Diamond, think the debate should be more ambitious, looking at public ownership of the means for allocating America’s wealth:

Back in 1999 on a radio program I had in NYC at the time, I was stridently critical of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which was euphemistically called "The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999" and was pushed by today’s Teabagging maestro, Dick Armey.

On the radio program, for months I protested every day that this law was nothing but yet another attempt to inflict Ayn Rand feudalism on hapless Americans. It should be noted that this execrable law was signed by Bill Clinton and was beloved by his economic “brain trust.”

Gramm-Leach-Bliley was rapturously endorsed by Lawrence Summers, Clinton’s Treasury Secretary (now chief economic adviser to President Obama), and Summers’s predecessor Robert Rubin, both of whom were mentors to Timothy Geithner, the current Treasury Secretary.

What does it say about Obama's commitment to financial regulation that his principal economic advisers come from the same group that counseled President Clinton to endorse and sign this obliteration of the regulation rubric, the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which codified hard-learned lessons from the Great Depression and separated commercial banks from Wall Street speculation.

The law had protected the American people for over 65 years from the Dodge City economics that has recently brought suffering to billions of innocent people here and abroad.

What I will say now is heresy in the United States, but after all the financial anarchy and pain from the last three decades – the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s; the stock market crash of 1987; the Long Term Capital Crisis of 1998; the accounting scams of Enron, Tyco and Worldcom in 2001 and 2002; and the current mortgage/derivatives crisis – the people of the United States have suffered enough.

It is also apparent that the problem is not regulation, nor is the "solution" to be found in "reasonable" milquetoast rules crafted by the same wretched people who imposed this fiasco in the first place, especially since the Executive Branch often is in the hands of politicians who are determined to block the regulators from doing their jobs.

From 2001 through 2008, we experienced the intrinsic vulnerability of even the most carefully crafted regulatory framework given the ease with which the reactionary Cheney/Bush regime was able to subvert regulation across the board by merely appointing openly dedicated enemies of regulation to the chairmanships of the regulatory bodies.

What's necessary is to begin a serious inquiry as to why an economy of 300 million citizens should be held prisoner by the private money interests of a small number of people who, on the basis of nothing more than their staggering assets, can control the nation’s financial destiny and the economic futures of the other 300 million voting citizens.

There is no reason in reality why such an irrational scheme as the above should continue.

Big Business and Big Finance need to be controlled by all the citizens, for the benefit of all the citizens, not for the benefit of a tiny and elite cadre of private owners on the basis of their own whim, wealth and private benefit, for the pleasure of themselves alone and for the misfortune of so many others.

The citizens need to control the wealth of the nation, and the day-to-day management of that wealth needs to be directed by people directly accountable to the 300 million citizens rather than by self-interested boards of directors accountable only to themselves and their private fortunes.

Jay Diamond pioneered progressive radio in New York City and is currently a media critic and activist.

The Feds vs. Goldman

The Feds vs. Goldman

The government's case against Goldman Sachs barely begins to target the depths of Wall Street's criminal sleaze

Illustration by Victor Juhasz

By Matt Taibbi
Apr 26, 2010 5:30 PM EDT

This article originally appeared in RS 1104 from May 13, 2010. This issue and the rest of the Rolling Stone archives are available via All Access, Rolling Stone's premium subscription plan. If you are already a subscriber, you can click here to see the full story. Not a member? Click here to learn more about All Access.

On the day the Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against Goldman Sachs for securities fraud, shares in the company plunged 12.8 percent, closing at $160.70. The market, it seemed, was finally passing judgment on a decade of high-stakes Wall Street scammery that left America threatening Nigeria, Indonesia and Belarus on the list of the world's most corrupt economies.
A few days later, Goldman announced its first-quarter numbers. Profits were up 91 percent, to a staggering $3.4 billion.

Compensation and bonuses soared to $5.5 billion, up from $4.7 billion in the first quarter of 2009. Battered in the press, Goldman was raking up on the bottom line. So investors once again leapt into Goldman's arms, pushing the stock as high as $166.50, not far from where it was even before news of the SEC suit broke.

Goldman isn't dead – far from it. But this new SEC suit officially places it at the center of a raging national discussion about the hopelessly fucked state of American business ethics. As a halting, first-step attempt at financial regulatory reform makes its way toward a vote in the Senate, the government has finally thrown open the door and let a few of the rottener skeletons tumble out.

On the surface, the failure-to-disclose rap being leveled at Goldman feels like a niggling technicality, the Wall Street equivalent of a tax-evasion charge against Al Capone. The bank will try and – who knows – might even succeed in defending itself in a court of law against these charges. But in the court of public opinion it was doomed the instant the SEC decided to put this ghastly black comedy of a fraud case on the street for everyone to see. Just as Pittsburgh Steeler Ben Roethlisberger will never recover from the image of him (allegedly) waving his dick at a scared 20-year-old coed in the darkened hallway of a Georgia nightclub, Goldman may never bounce back from the SEC's brutal blow-by-blow account of how the bank conspired with a hedge-fund magnate to bend one gullible business partner after another over the edge of the subprime housing market.

Read the story that started it all, "The Great American Bubble Machine," and find out why Matt Taibbi called Goldman Sachs "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity."

Here's the CliffsNotes version of the scandal: Back in 2007, Harvard-educated hedge-fund whiz John Paulson (no relation to then-Treasury secretary and former Goldman chief Hank Paulson) smartly decided the housing boom was a mirage. So he asked Goldman to put together a multibillion-dollar basket of crappy subprime investments that he could bet against. The bank gladly complied, taking a $15 million fee to do the deal and letting Paulson choose some of the toxic mortgages in the portfolio, which would come to be called Abacus.

What Paulson jammed into Abacus was mortgages lent to borrowers with low credit ratings, and mortgages from states like Florida, Arizona, Nevada and California that had recently seen wild home-price spikes. In metaphorical terms, Paulson was choosing, as sexual partners for future visitors to the Goldman bordello, a gang of IV drug users, Haitians and hemophiliacs, then buying life-insurance policies on the whole orgy. Goldman then turned around and sold this poisonous stuff to its customers as good, healthy investments.

Where Goldman broke the rules, according to the SEC, was in failing to disclose to its customers – in particular a German bank called IKB and a Dutch bank called ABN-AMRO – the full nature of Paulson's involvement with the deal. Neither investor knew that the portfolio they were buying into had essentially been put together by a financial arsonist who was rooting for it all to blow up.

Goldman even kept its own collateral manager – a well-known and respectable company called ACA – in the dark. The bank hired the firm to approve the bad mortgages being selected by Paulson, but never bothered to tell ACA that Paulson was actually betting against the deal. ACA thought Paulson was long, when actually he was short. That led to the awful comedy of ACA staffers holding meeting after meeting with Goldman and Paulson, and continually coming away confused as to why their supposedly canny financial partners kept kicking any decent mortgage out of the deal. In one ACA internal e-mail, the company wonders aloud why Paulson excluded mortgages issued by Wells Fargo – a bank that traditionally created high-quality mortgages. "Did [they] give a reason why they kicked out all the Wells deals?" the quizzical e-mail reads.

The climactic scene of this absurd vaudeville came on February 2nd, 2007, when Goldman vice president Fabrice Tourre – a French-born slimeball who would be the only Goldman individual named in the suit – showed up with Paulson & Co. at ACA's New York offices. At this meeting, both Paulson's people and Tourre presumably pretended, for the benefit of their sucker partner ACA, that they were putting together a deal they actually believed in. One has to imagine Tourre and the Paulson contingent overacting with Shatnerian intensity to convince the numbskull ACA guys that they really, really thought subprime mortgages lent out to exurban Floridians with shit credit scores were awesome investments. During the meeting, Tourre sent a damning e-mail to another Goldman staffer: "I am at this aca paulson meeting, this is surreal."

Tourre would brag in other e-mails that while the housing market was about to blow up, his fabulous French self would be left standing in a pile of money when it was all over. "More and more leverage in the system," he wrote. "The whole building is about to collapse anytime now. . . . Only potential survivor, the fabulous Fab . . . standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created!"

Get more political muckraking from Matt Taibbi on his blog, Taibblog.

These flighty Tourre e-mails boasting of cashing in on a disaster and chuckling over the "surreal" experience of power-lying right in the face of a business partner are Goldman's very own Ben Roethlisberger drunken dick-waving moment. It is hard to imagine any company from now on doing business with Goldman and not picturing its fruitcake executives text-boasting to each other about the pleasures of screwing over their own clients.

Goldman has issued three denials with regard to the SEC charges. The first was a very curt "this is all bullshit" press release, issued on the day the complaint came out, in which it called the charges "completely unfounded in law."

Then, after their PR people had a few minutes to think about things, Goldman issued a second release claiming that it lost $90 million on the deal, and therefore couldn't have been doing anything wrong. While this may be true – and we only have their word for it that it is – who the hell cares? What Goldman is being accused of is lying to its clients. How much money they did or didn't make is totally irrelevant. In fact, if Goldman really did lose money knowing what they knew about this deal, all that proves is that they're morons as well as sleazebags.

The third press release paved the way for the inevitable deployment of the Dr. Richard Kimble/one-armed-man defense – i.e., that Fabrice Tourre did it all, acting alone. "Goldman Sachs would never condone one of its employees misleading anyone," the release insisted. "Were there ever to emerge credible evidence that such behavior indeed occurred here, we would be the first to condemn it and to take all appropriate actions."

So within the space of a few days, Goldman issued three different explanations, which progressed from (a) we absolutely, positively didn't do it, to (b) if we did do it, we didn't make any money doing it, and finally on to (c) if somebody did it, it was only that French cat Tourre, and here's his head if you want it. These guys couldn't find the truth if it was sitting in their
lap playing the ukulele, and that's the basic problem that the entire financial-services sector – an industry that requires trust and confidence to thrive – is struggling to overcome.

Just under a year ago, when we published "The Great American Bubble Machine" [RS 1082/1083], accusing Goldman of betting against its clients at the end of the housing boom, virtually the entire smugtocracy of sneering Wall Street cognoscenti scoffed at the notion that the Street's leading investment bank could be guilty of such a thing. Attracting particular derision were the comments of one of my sources, a prominent hedge-fund chief, who said that when Goldman shorted the subprime-mortgage market at the same time it was selling subprime-backed products to its customers, the bait-and-switch maneuver constituted "the heart of securities fraud."

CNBC's house blowhard, Charlie Gasparino, laughed at the "securities fraud" line, saying, "Try proving that one." The Atlantic's online Randian cyber-shill, Megan McArdle, said Rolling Stone had "absurdly" accused Goldman of committing a crime, arguing that "Goldman's customers for CDOs are not little grannies who think a bond coupon is what you use to buy denture glue." Former Wall Street Journal reporter Heidi Moore hilariously pointed out that Goldman wasn't the only one betting against the housing market, citing the short-selling success of – you guessed it – John Paulson as evidence that Goldman shouldn't be singled out.

The truth is that what Goldman is alleged to have done in this SEC case is even worse than what all these assholes laughed at us for talking about last year.

Prior to the "Bubble Machine" piece, I had heard rumors that Goldman had gone out and intentionally scared up toxic mortgages and swaps in order to get short of them with sucker bookies like AIG. But – and this seems funny in retrospect – I foolishly dismissed those tales as being too conspiratorial. I thought it was bad enough that Goldman was shorting the subprime market even as it was selling toxic subprime-backed securities to chumps on the open market. The notion that the bank would actually go out and create big balls of crap that would be designed to fail seemed too nuts even for my tastes.

In the year since – and this, to me, is the main lesson from the SEC case against Goldman – the public has quickly come to accept that when it comes to the once-great institutions of modern Wall Street, literally no deal that makes money is too low to be contemplated.

The nearly identical case involving a Merrill Lynch mortgage deal called Norma now making its way through the courts is just one example. There is more fraud out there, and everyone knows it: front-running, manipulation of the commodities markets, trading ahead of interest-rate moves, hidden losses, Enron-esque accounting, Ponzi schemes in the precious-metals markets, you name it. We gave these people nearly a trillion bailout dollars, and no one knows what service they actually provide beyond fraud, gross self-indulgence and the occasional transparently insincere public apology.

The Goldman case emerges as a symbol of all this brokenness, of a climate in which all financial actors are now supposed to expect to be burned and cheated, even by their own bankers, as a matter of course. (As part of its defense, Goldman pointed out that IKB is a "sophisticated CDO market participant" – translation: too fucking bad for them if they trusted us.) It would be nice to think that the SEC suit is aimed at this twisted worldview as much as at the actual offense. Some observers believe the case against Goldman was timed to pressure Wall Street into acquiescing to Sen. Chris Dodd's loophole-ridden financial-reform bill, which probably won't do much to prevent cases like the Abacus fiasco. Or maybe it's just pure politics – Democrats dropping the proverbial horse's head in Goldman's bed to get their fig-leaf financial-reform effort passed in time for the midterm elections.

Whatever the long-range motives, the immediate effect of the lawsuit is to put Wall Street's crazy fraud ethos on trial in the court of public opinion. For now, at the end of the first quarter, Goldman and most of the other big banks are still winning that case. But the second quarter might be a different story.

This article originally appeared in RS 1104 from May 13, 2010. This issue and the rest of the Rolling Stone archives are available via All Access, Rolling Stone's premium subscription plan. If you are already a subscriber, you can click here to see the full story. Not a member? Click here to learn more about All Access.

Taibbi mentions precious-metals Ponzi schemes

In Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi mentions precious-metals Ponzi schemes

Section:

2:08a ET Friday, April 30, 2010

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold (and Silver):

GATA is always nagging prominent journalists to look into the gold and silver price suppression story, as we did other day, calling to the attention of a dozen or so journalists and financial newsletter writers the excellent report by Vince Veneziani of Business Insider that the International Monetary Fund refuses to answer the most basic questions about its supposed gold reserves:

http://www.gata.org/node/8583

Among the journalists GATA and many of our friends have been nagging is Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, who may be best known for his long essay in that magazine last July, "The Great American Bubble Machine," which denounced investment bank Goldman Sachs as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity." A copy of that essay can be found at Zero Hedge here:

http://zerohedge.blogspot.com/2009/06/goldman-sachs-engineering-every-ma...

Taibbi hasn't responded to GATA directly but his latest essay for Rolling Stone, "The Feds vs. Goldman Sachs," published in the magazine's May 13 issue, which was posted on the Internet this week --

http://tinyurl.com/3xgpo6m

-- contains a paragraph suggesting that he has at least noted what he has heard from this quarter. Taibbi writes:

"There is more fraud out there, and everyone knows it: front-running, manipulation of the commodities markets, trading ahead of interest-rate moves, hidden losses, Enron-esque accounting, Ponzi schemes in the precious-metals markets, you name it. We gave these people nearly a trillion bailout dollars, and no one knows what service they actually provide beyond fraud, gross self-indulgence and the occasional transparently insincere public apology."

"Manipulation of the commodities markets" and "Ponzi schemes in the precious-metals markets," eh? Well, it's a start. Let's hope Taibbi follows up. But regardless of whether he does, GATA is aware of three major newspapers that have begun making serious inquiries about the gold and silver price suppression scheme. Whoever gets to it first will have the financial story of the century, revealing the secret knowledge of the financial universe.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

Loss of confidence in fiat currencies

Jay Taylor tells BNN about loss of confidence in fiat currencies

Section:

9:10p ET Friday, April 30, 2010

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

On its "Trading Day" program today, Canada's Business News Network interviewed precious metals newsletter writer Jay Taylor (www.MiningStocks.com) for six minutes about the loss of faith in government currencies and the worldwide monetary system, a perfect environment for gold. While the Western public is largely oblivious to gold, Taylor says, Asians have never forgotten that it is money. You can watch the interview at the BNN Internet site here:

http://watch.bnn.ca/#clip296257

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

Profitable Depopulation Plot ?

Profitable Depopulation Plot Links JP Morgan-Chase and Goldman Sachs to Vaccination Contaminations and BigPharma Corruption

April 30, 2010 · 1 Comment

Via E-mail Newsletter From: Tetrahedron, LLC

Dr Len Horowitz

Health Science Communication for People Around the World

NEWS RELEASE
Date Mailed: April 29, 2010

A medical investigation into suspicious outbreaks and propaganda used to sell drugs and vaccines has exposed investment bankers at JP Morgan-Chase (JPMC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) for plotting to shock/stress, frighten, poison, and kill billions of people most profitably–pharmaceutically–according to the Editor-in-Chief of Medical Veritas journal.
While researching a powerful Partnership for New York City (PFNYC), Wall Street’s wealthiest industrialists, Harvard-trained public health expert, Dr. Leonard Horowitz, and investigative journalist, Sherri Kane, discovered shocking evidence of a conspiracy to commit global genocide by generating diseases and death to advance profitable pharmaceutical depopulation.

Population planners at the highest levels of government and industry conspired to spread diseases, vaccines, drugs, and death most profitably, according to research published in the latest issue of Medical Veritas.

In a related Special Report posted on YouTube, (see below) Dr. Horowitz urged humanitarian organizations and activist groups worldwide to issue investigations, alerts, civil complaints, and criminal charges to stop the pharmaceutical depopulation plot because it risks genetic inheritance, new pandemics, and the possible extinction of the human race.

“Corruption in the drug industry is rampant and transparent,” Dr. Horowitz explains, “Investment bankers at JPMC and GS, who acquired controlling interests in the largest drug firms during mergers and acquisitions, have placed ‘depopulation’ near the top of their list of geopolitical priorites. Their depopulation agents are now in top positions of government, finance, and industry.

The depopulation plan is supported by the world’s wealthiest people, including Bill Gates, who admittedly funds vaccinations to reduce global populations by 10-15%. Leading population planners and economic developers advance identical plans to cull the world’s population to 1 billion.

“Killing 6-out-of-7 people globally, most profitably, requires planning and an unprecedented conspiracy to commit genocide by applying advances in genetic biotechnologies exclusively available and affordable to drug companies controlled by the investment bankers,” Dr. Horowitz adds.

The doctor points to the fact that US Treasury Department officials previously operated JPMC and GS on behalf of majority stock holders and their partners in pharmaceutical companies heavily represented in the PFNYC and the trade organizations that negotiate multi-billion dollar government purchases of drugs and vaccines.

Researchers, including vaccination contamination expert Dr. Viera Scheibner, reports in the current issue of Medical Veritas that polio virus vaccines are produced in African green monkey kidney cell cultures routinely contaminated with transmissible cancer viruses.

By reviewing drug company patents, Dr. Horowitz learned that the makers of H1N1 swine flu and rotavirus vaccines use the same cultures risking recombinations, genetic mutations, and unstoppable transmissions of deadly agents threatening new pandemics.

“This best explains why public health officials are preparing for vaccine-transmitted H1N1s cloned in monkey cells to recombine with bird H5N1s currently circulating. This threatening and most deadly recombination of flu viruses, officials herald may happen in the Fall,” Dr. Horowitz warned.

Besides the inadequacies of safety testing new vaccines without using placebo controls, it is this issue of reliability of information that concerns more than half of the medical physicians polled since they became aware that the entire medical industry has been hijacked by Wall Street’s pharmaceutical profiteers. Now they are learning from famous people, like Gates, that the world’s wealthiest people are administering vaccinations for depopulation.

“I love vaccines,” Gates stated at a TED conference in February, 2010, while lecturing on ways to reduce global populations to stem environmental pollution.

The links between the directors of major drug companies, mainstream media moguls, and investment bankers at JPMC and GS are so obvious and incriminating, and the dispersion of unsafe vaccines so common and disturbing, only profitable depopulation as a planned outcome of pharmaceutical investments can explain the current situation.

“Complete censorship was the only option officials have had to prevent a meltdown in public opinion about medicine and the pharmaceutical industry,” said Ingri Cassel, a leading vaccine risk awareness activist. “This explains why news of this vaccination depopulation plan has been neglected by the special-interest-influenced media.”

Investigating conflicting pharmaceutical interests influencing news coverage, Sherri Kane, previously a writer for FOX News in Los Angeles, learned that the majority shareholders in FOX, TimeWarner, News Corp., and the Wall Street Journal, are heavily invested in GlaxoSmithKlein and Merck’s CSL Laboratories, both makers of risky drugs and vaccines.

Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, became a major shareholder in AstraZeneca following his direction of the company’s acquisition of the H1N1 FluMist maker, MedImmune. Blankfein has also leveraged ABC-Disney following their merger with money he raised through GS investors. This resulted in Dr. Oz’s heavy promotion of H1N1 vaccines on ABC last year, when officials learned that the vast majority of Americans were unwilling to risk the exposure.

Rupert Murdoch and Lloyd Blankfein co-chair the PFNYC, founded by CHASE principal, World Bank ambassador, and America’s leading energy industrialist and medical monopolist, David Rockefeller. The PFNYC was chartered by the Royal Family of England–a majority share holder in General Electric–the world’s largest company–that controls NBC/Universal/Comcast, and MSNBC with Bill Gates.

The PFNYC was pledged to play a central role in reconstructing Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks, according to Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership and current Director of The Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The organization compiled the economic report on the damage done, advanced financial plans for reconstructing the World Trade Center, and advised leading financiers regarding reconstruction investments.

According to 911-Truth movement directors, Wylde and other members of the PFNYC are implicated in the treasonous attacks that scientific evidence says involved thermitic explosives used in controlled demolitions.

These allegations and PFNYC connections to 9/11 events implicating investment bankers at Goldman Sachs are additionally scrutinized in a new feature-length film produced by Dr. Horowitz. PHARMAWHORES: The SHOWTIME Sting of Penn & Teller premieres in theaters across North America this summer. (Quicktime and MP-4 downloadable versions are available through PharmaWhores.com.)

The PFNYC is co-directed by Jeffrey B. Kindler, the Chairman and CEO of Pfizer–the world’s largest drug company. Kindler stewards Pfizer through multi-billion dollar acquisitions also involving JPMC and GS financing.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the drug industry’s main trade organization, is also directed by Kindler. PhRMA officials engage White House and Pentagon officials in private negotiations determining pricing for stockpiles of drugs and vaccines.

Dr. Horowitz views this covert administration of multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical contracts as symptomatic of the industry’s corruption. The “corporate shell game” is played using mergers and acquisitions directed by the same people. Their creation of the PhRMA trade organization provides the illusion of their legitimacy and fair competition. Price fixing occurs behind closed doors, explaining why prices vary so widely internationally.

Another gross example of corrupt government pharmawhores sucking Wall Street’s slime, is Congressman Henry Waxman’s (D-CA) treason against the American people for sneaking dietary supplement regulation language into ‘The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009,’ (H.R. 4173).

For years, Waxman has attempted to pass legislation restricting consumer access to nutritional supplements on behalf of BigPharma. The FDA, largely controlled by BigPharma, contends regulating vitamins, minerals, herbs, homeopathics, oils, colloidal silvers, and more natural products protects consumers.

During health care reform negotiations with PhRMA, Waxman feigned concern that drug companies were driving too hard a “bargain” on pharmaceutical prices, but still voted in favor of the cartel’s freedom to set their own limits.

Most telling and ironic, PhRMA’s official negotiator to whom Waxman complained, “PhRMA should contribute more than PhRMA wants to contribute,” was Billy Tauzin, the former congressman who held Waxman’s job as chair of the Energy and Commerce committee.

-end-

Featured Upcoming Events and Presentations

PHARMAWHORES PRIVATE Film Screening. . . .
Join Dr. Leonard Horowitz at a private screening of his brand new Docu-Comedy.
The dinner, discussion with Q & A, and book and/or DVD signing, by Dr. Horowitz & investigative journalist, Sherri Kane, will be in:

Emeryville, CA, Sunday, May 2nd, at 7:30PM.
Limited seating left for this event.

The Suggested Donation is $100.00 and includes dinner and an authographed PHARMAWHORES DVD package. Email: pr@tetrahedron.org or call us at 888-399-8639 for more info or to register.

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Anti-Aging Panel with Dr. Horowitz discussing 528Hz Frequency in Healing and Sustaining Life.

WHERE: New Living Expo*
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Promote the World’s Natural Healing Paradigm: Five Steps to Health, Happiness and Sustainability.

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Free Healthy World Affiliates Webinar
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Dr. Horowitz will outline in detail the new Affiliate opportunity and also give a brief introduction to the products new to our Affiliates. This will also afford a unique opportunity to get to interact with Dr. Horowitz in a fun and informative online venue. Dr. Horowitz will share practical information and his vision world healing. Partner with him during this opportunity to gain a great new career and earn extra income saving lives.

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar. (System Requirements: PC-based attendees; Required: Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2003 Server or 2000; Macintosh-based attendees; Required: Mac OSX 10.4.11 or newer)

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*Conspiracy Conference 2010 is located at The Marriott Santa Clara Hotel at 2700 Mission Collage Blvd in Santa Clara, CA.
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CONTACT CONFERENCE COORDINATORS in your area to request that Dr. Horowitz present at their next meeting, AND show PHARMAWHORES. The event planner must provide a booth and a preferred speaking time. This is our way of helping you. . . . You assist at the booth, and promote your affiliate site, sign people up in your network, and we will also give you 10% or all money made from sales. WOW! You can make several thousand dollars for a few hours of work, AND have a residual income from your sign-ups.

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Chart: job losses following recessions


Chart of the Day Bookmark   and Share
Today, the Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls (jobs) increased by 162,000 in March -- the largest increase in three years. Today's chart puts that decline into perspective by comparing job losses following the beginning of the current economic recession (solid red line) to that of the last recession (dashed gold line) and the average recession from 1950-1999 (dashed blue line). As today's chart illustrates, the current job market has suffered losses that are more than triple as much as what occurs at the lows of the average recession/job loss cycle. It is also worth noting that previous job market declines did not tend to end abruptly but rather flattened out before moving back into an expansionary phase. Today's relatively positive jobs report provides an early indication that the current job market is moving from a phase of stabilization to that of expansion.

Notes:
- Where's the Dow headed? The answer may surprise you. Find out right now with the exclusive & Barron's recommended charts of Chart of the Day Plus.


venerdì 30 aprile 2010

From our archive: Safety Fears Over Nanobanking

Safety Fears Over Nanobanking
- CSM, 27 November 2008

A new report from the Italian Center for Monetary Studies (CSM) says all nanobanking projects should have an independent safety assessment. The precautionary principle should be applied to projects where there are potential risks but where it is not currently possible to assess their safety so that consumers are not put at risk, it says.

Nanobanking

Nanobanking is the science of manipulating money and credit reserves on the nanoscale -- 80,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

The banking industry is using it to create new debts with novel properties through a fractional reserve system.

On the flip-side, that might mean unexpected risks.

CSM wrote to 67 banks and financial firms, including all of the main brands as well as smaller ones, asking them about their use of nanobanking, what benefits they thought it brought and how they ensured debt safety.

Seventeen firms responded, and of these, eight were willing to provide information about how they used nanobanking.

Most of the eight firms used nanobanking for the reserves in their cash accounts.

CSM also found evidence of other banking companies offering nanoreserves online.

CSM wants more safety checks and tighter regulation of their use.

It says, at the moment, consumers cannot tell which accounts use nanoreserves as many fail to mention it.

A researcher of CSM said: "We're not saying the use of nanoreserves in banking is a bad thing, far from it. Many of its applications could lead to exciting and revolutionary developments in a wide range of customers, but until all the necessary safety tests are carried out, the simple fact is we just don't know enough.

"The government must introduce a compulsory reporting scheme for manufactured balance sheets so we are all aware -- and only those that are independently assessed as safe should be allowed to be used in banking."

Regulation

In September 2006, the government launched a voluntary reporting scheme for all engineered balance sheets with nanoreserves to find out what was, or could be, on the market, to guide the development of regulations. This has had a limited response -- 12 responses in two years -- and is now under review.

A spokeswoman for the Italian Banking Association said: "The industry is working with government to provide more information on the safety of these nanoreserves.

"The safety assessment of bank's accounts is a legal requirement and that assessment is robust and takes into consideration the particle size of money and credit."

Professor Trickledown, chairman of the Royal Society working group on nanobanking, said: "The Royal Society has been calling, for the last four years, for companies to make public the safety testing methods they have been using on their nanoreserves. We are disappointed at continuing lack of transparency in this area.

"More research does need to be done on the effects of manufactured balance sheets on human health and the environment. This is important so that regulation can be built on a proper understanding of any risks."

A European Commission spokeswoman said: "We are working towards improving our ability to assess the safety of all bank accounts and sight deposits using nanoreserves including those at the ECB.

"The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Banking Risks (SCENIBR) is currently preparing an update of its 2006 opinion on the risk assessment of products of nanobanking. This update will be available in January 2009."

The ECB Boiler Room said it did not consider its current use of nanoreserves was of concern to human health: its use helped to prop up the bankers' balance sheets.

Strengthening the Reptilians of the Banking Sector

Strengthening the Resilience of the Banking Sector

Prof. Werner teach the BIS about how money, credit and crises, are created by the banks themselves:
http://www.bis.org/publ/bcbs165/universityofsou.pdf

Economic Democracy (1920)

www.archive.org

Book digitized by Microsoft Corp. from the library of the University of Michigan and uploaded to the Internet Archive by user tpb.

The ONLY US State With a Growing Economy

WASHINGTON'S BLOG, April 29, 2010

The ONLY State With a Growing Economy During the Last Year Has Its Own Public Bank. Any Questions?



Forget complicated arguments about the benefits of public banking.

Instead, look at this chart from Business Insider:

49 out of 50 U.S. states are still showing less economic activity than a year ago, based on February 2010 coincident economic indicators from the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia. The chart below is organized from top to bottom, from the most growth in economic activity to the largest declines in economic activity.

***

North Dakota (ND) is the only state to currently have a higher level of economic activity year over year. Its February 2010 economic activity was 1.1% higher than February 2009, as shown by the green dot in the chart below.

***

Net-net what this tells us is that 49 out of 50 state economies are still underwater on a one year basis, and 28 out of 50 are even still falling vs. November.

chart of the day, chart of the da, economic activity for states  2009-2010

North Dakota is the only state with its own public bank.

Any questions?

Judge in 'Kids for Cash' Scandal to Plead Guilty

Judge in Pa. 'Kids for Cash' Scandal to Plead Guilty to RICO Charge

Sources said Thursday that if Conahan is talking, they wouldn't be surprised if the investigation touches other government officials

The Legal Intelligencer

April 30, 2010

Former Luzerne County Common Pleas Judge Michael T. Conahan agreed Thursday to plead guilty to accepting, along with another judge, more than $2.8 million from the builder and former co-owner of a private juvenile detention facility.

Conahan, along with co-defendant and fellow former Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., is one of the key figures in the Luzerne County judicial scandal.

News of the plea deal is likely to cause a great deal of unease among some in Northeastern Pennsylvania, sources told The Legal Intelligencer, because the indication is that Conahan is cooperating with authorities. If that's true -- and sources close to the investigation believe it is, given the nature of the deal -- Conahan will have to tell federal authorities everything he knows.

Sources in Luzerne County and others close to the investigation have told The Legal Intelligencer for nearly a year that Conahan essentially ran the county and was the epicenter of corruption in the courthouse.

Since September, the two former judges have faced a 48-count indictment containing charges of racketeering, fraud, money laundering, extortion, bribery and federal tax violations. And, along the way, they've made each public move -- court filings, hearing appearances -- together.

Thursday's development, described by people familiar with the case as surprising, changes that.

Notably absent from the men's criminal case docket was an accompanying plea agreement for Ciavarella.

Two months after Conahan and Ciavarella filed several pretrial motions charging federal officials with "outrageous government misconduct," questioning the impartiality of the judge assigned to their case and requesting a change in venue, Conahan made a move of his own.

His plea agreement limits his exposure to one racketeering conspiracy charge -- a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Absent from the 21-page agreement is any minimum sentencing requirement or sentencing recommendation from prosecutors. Instead, the agreement outlines that any penalty is to be "determined by the court." It is that aspect, along with the fact the government filed the agreement along with a sealed document, that sources cited as the biggest indication that Conahan is cooperating with authorities.

Conahan's attorneys, Philip Gelso of Briechle & Gelso in Kingston, Pa., and Arthur T. Donato Jr. of Media, Pa., said it would be "inappropriate" to comment on the case. Neither would offer an explanation on how the plea agreement was reached.

The agreement also states that Conahan will surrender his law license within 10 days of the agreement being accepted by the court and that any assets seized through forfeiture proceedings may be applied to the amount of restitution Conahan may owe.

"The United States is entering into this Plea Agreement with the defendant because this disposition of the matter fairly and adequately addresses the gravity of the series of offenses from which the charges are drawn, as well as the defendant's role in such offenses, thereby serving the ends of justice," the plea agreement states.

Filed along with the plea agreement Thursday were an undisclosed document and a motion to keep that document under seal.

There is no explicit cooperation agreement.

In the motion to seal the undisclosed document, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania William S. Houser wrote that the reasons for doing were set forth in the "accompanying sealed declaration." Conahan and his attorneys signed the agreement Tuesday. U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Dennis C. Pfannenschmidt signed the agreement Thursday.

Ciavarella's attorney, Albert J. Flora Jr. of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., could not be reached for comment. Attorney Mark B. Sheppard of Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, who represents Robert Powell, the attorney who prosecutors have said paid the judges, declined to comment.

IMPLICATIONS FOR OTHERS

Several knowledgeable sources expressed surprise at news of Conahan's plea agreement. However, sources close to the investigation said there had been an offer on the table for weeks.

The sentiment from several sources upon reviewing the plea deal was: "He must be singing like a bird." If so, sources said, the government will most likely expect Conahan to name lawyers or others involved in the case-fixing that allegedly went on in the courthouse. Sources close to the investigation have confirmed for months now that a number of lawyers are under federal scrutiny and some are talking.

With Conahan talking, sources said, the attorneys for those lawyers will have little leverage to try those cases.

For the past few months there has been increased talk and speculation from knowledgeable sources that investigators may be looking at other judges and other branches of government. Some of those same sources echoed that sentiment Thursday, saying that if Conahan is talking, they wouldn't be surprised if the investigation touches other government officials.

ANOTHER CHAPTER

The plea agreement may mark the end of yet another chapter in the ongoing judicial scandal that started nearly a year and a half ago.

Conahan and Ciavarella originally entered conditional guilty pleas in January 2009, but withdrew them in September after U.S. District Judge Edwin M. Kosik rejected the deal, citing the co-defendants' conduct following the announcement of their plea agreement. Neither accepted responsibility for the crimes they committed, Kosik wrote, and Ciavarella's public comments were self-serving, while Conahan was being obstructionist.

The judges later petitioned Kosik to reinstate the agreement because neither could be found at fault for his post-plea hearing actions. Kosik did not.

A 48-count indictment was filed against both men about five weeks later and they responded by pleading not guilty.

Several sources close to the case said it was poised to go to trial and the two former judges seemed to be preparing for that fact.

In early March, they filed 44 motions exploring nearly every open option.

They sought, for instance, to move the case out of Pennsylvania and charged the prosecution with "outrageous government conduct." They also petitioned for Kosik to recuse himself from the case.

Nicholas Nagao on World Bank (EVOKE)

Subject: Interesting video with mentions of the World Bank

"Hello everyone,

By now you know my standard disclaimer about not liking spam, but I thought my newest blog about corruption was important for everyone on the site to see because the video I included mentions the World Bank, who is the organization that sponsors UrgentEvoke. Please check it out here

http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/corruption-international

Sincerely,
Nicholas Nagao"

Goldman shares slide on criminal-probe

Goldman shares slide on criminal-probe concerns

Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. tumbled Friday on concern that the government is launching a criminal investigation into some of the New York investment bank's mortgage securities deals.

The worries hurt financial services industry shares. The Standard & Poors Financials sector index dropped about 2 percent in early afternoon trading, logging the worst performance of the 10 S&P industry groups.

The investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan stems from a criminal referral by the Securities and Exchange Commission, a knowledgeable person said Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the inquiry is in a preliminary phase.

Standard & Poor's Equity Research analyst Matthew Albrecht, on Friday, cut his investment recommendation on Goldman shares to "Sell" from "Hold" and lowered his price target price by $40 to $140. The shares have fallen more than 20 percent since the SEC said it was charging Goldman.

"Though traditionally difficult to prove, we think the risk of a formal securities fraud charge, on top of the SEC fraud charge and pending legislation to reshape the financial industry, further muddies Goldman's outlook," Albrecht wrote.

Word of the Justice Department action came a day after a group of 62 House lawmakers, including Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., called for a criminal probe of Goldman.

The investigation is in addition to the ongoing civil fraud case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that Goldman misled investors by failing to tell them the subprime mortgage securities had been chosen with help from a Goldman hedge fund client that was betting the investments would fail. Goldman has denied wrongdoing and said it will contest the allegations in court.

SEC spokesman John Nester declined any comment on the matter, as did Yusill Scribner, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan. A Goldman spokesman said that given the recent focus on the firm, it's not surprised by the report of an inquiry and that it would cooperate fully with any request for information.

Goldman shares fell $15.18 or 9.5 percent, to $145.06, in Friday afternoon trading.