excerpts from http://www.zerohedge.com/The jocular ukulele-strumming grandpa, who many years ago railed on and on against derivatives (see his 1982 letter here) then subsequently sold billions in notional of index puts against his earlier oh so sincere advice, has been formally subpoenaed, note - not invited, to testify before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission on the topic of "Credibility of Credit Ratings, the Investment Decisions Made Based on those Ratings, and the Financial Crisis", side by side with Moody's archvillain CEO Raymond McDaniel, the head of a company in which Buffett has (or is that had?) a huge equity stake, up until MCO's announcement it had received Wells Notice together with a recommendation to strip it of its NRSRO status, when it became obvious that Warren had been selling shares of Moody's in the period between the Notice receipt and announcement. What is most interesting is that Buffett had to be forced to participate in the hearing following a formal subpoena receipt, after he had declined participation on two prior occasions. We wonder, if in addition to unmatched hypocrisy and a guilty conscience, the octogenarian has anything else to hide?
Matt Taibbi's Latest: Wall Street's War, And Some New Perspectives On The Fed's Goblin-In-ChiefIt's early May in Washington, and something very weird is in the air. As Chris Dodd, Harry Reid and the rest of the compulsive dealmakers in the Senate barrel toward the finish line of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act – the massive, year-in-the-making effort to clean up the Wall Street crime swamp – word starts to spread on Capitol Hill that somebody forgot to kill the important reforms in the bill. As of the first week in May, the legislation still contains aggressive measures that could cost once-indomitable behemoths like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase tens of billions of dollars. Somehow, the bill has escaped the usual Senate-whorehouse orgy of mutual back-scratching, fine-print compromises and freeway-wide loopholes that screw any chance of meaningful change.
The real shocker is a thing known among Senate insiders as "716." This section of an amendment would force America's banking giants to either forgo their access to the public teat they receive through the Federal Reserve's discount window, or give up the insanely risky, casino-style bets they've been making on derivatives. That means no more pawning off predatory interest-rate swaps on suckers in Greece, no more gathering balls of subprime shit into incomprehensible debt deals, no more getting idiot bookies like AIG to wrap the crappy mortgages in phony insurance. In short, 716 would take a chain saw to one of Wall Street's most lucrative profit centers: Five of America's biggest banks (Goldman, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup) raked in some $30 billion in over-the-counter derivatives last year. By some estimates, more than half of JP Morgan's trading revenue between 2006 and 2008 came from such derivatives. If 716 goes through, it would be a veritable Hiroshima to the era of
Now that the Gulf of Mexico has been (presumably) plugged up, pressure in the earth's core is rising once again, and thus it may be time to refocus on the imminent explosion of Iceland's second and much larger volcano Katla. Why? Because, as MSNBC reports, the Icelandic president Ólafur Grímsson has warned governments around Europe "that a significant eruption at the volcano is close." Seeing how his credibility has not been destroyed by associating with the other Eurozone and IMF idiots, we tend to think he knows what he is talking about. Also disclosed were the findings of a paper by the University College of London which concludes that "given the high frequency of Katla activity, an eruption in the short term is a strong possibility." And just like with the GOM debacle, scientists say that the response by Europe to the first volcanic eruption has been atrocious, as none of the events that have transpired were not unexpected. Of course, when Katla blows up too, there will be terror and panic, as airlines are cut once again, and trade in Europe, already lethargic, crawls to a halt, when as usual, all this could be prevented by spending just a little extra money not on bank bail outs but on prevention measures. Of course, that would mean record European bank bonuses may be lower by a few euros. And that is simply unacceptable.