Wall Street shenanigans

David and Société Générale: Jérôme Kerviel Fights Back

Fighting back: Jérôme Kerviel, the meek-looking French guy who became famous in January 2008 as the junior trader who lost €4.9 billion at French mega-bank Société Générale. Accused of a litany of shenanigans, he was condemned to five years in prison, though he claimed that his bosses had known about and had tolerated his activities. He just couldn’t prove it…. until now.

Orange County’s Oversight Chairman Resigns

Contributed by Chriss Street: In another abrupt surprise, the respected Chairman of the Orange County’s Treasury Oversight Committee resigned on April 16.  It seems he was asked to read into the public record at a meeting of the Board of Supervisors a letter by county Treasurer Shari Freidenrich stating that she had complied with the county’s Investment Policy Statement mandates. The community was already reeling from discovery that….

Orange County’s Iceberg Dead Ahead

Contributed by Chriss Street: Like the Titanic that ignored warnings and ran full-speed into a massive iceberg, Orange County is taking enormous financial risks rather than addressing its gapping cash-flow deficit. The county quietly entered into $518 million of illiquid and unsecured interest rate wagers, mostly financed from payroll and savings accounts of local schools and other government agencies.

The Art Of Extortion: Now At The IMF

Treasury Secretary “Hank” Paulson was the trailblazer with his proposal for TARP in September 2008. He went to the Congress with a list of demands—unlimited powers to hand unlimited amounts of taxpayer money to whomever—and threatened that the whole world would collapse if his demands weren’t met. It worked. So Greek prime ministers imitated him. And now Christine Lagarde, managing director at the IMF, tried it too.

The Strenuously Hushed-Up Basic Flaw In The Tax Code

“Corporate Tax Dodging In The Fifty States” found that the largest corporations paid little or no state income taxes in any state. A prior report found that some of the most profitable corporations paid no federal income taxes. Both reports point at a major problem dogging the US economy: the tax code—and its basic flaw that not even tax reformers dare to mention.

Bailing out Zombies, Again

The government forks over another $13.8 billion to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to cover their losses for the last quarter. The regular drumbeat of bailout billions handed to these zombies barely enters the nation’s consciousness anymore, but it adds up: $184.8 billion since 2008. And there is no end in sight. Supercommittee, where art thou?

Where the Heck is Ron Paul? A Media Boycott Heats Up

NPR’s report on tonight’s GOP debate covered about everything you can cover in a few minutes: Palin’s and Christie’s exit from the race; Cain’s from-the-outside strategy; Romney’s 25% ceiling; and Perry’s effort to make up ground he lost in the last three debates. But where the heck is Ron Paul? And it’s not just NPR.

Dear Ben, Please Make Us Trillionaires

Trillionaire. Just the sound of it! It’s beautiful, Ben. But without your help, we’ll never get there. So, at your meeting next week, think about us. Because the way you make trillionaires is by printing money.

Yakuza: ‘We Have To Evolve Our Business Model’

“And we have to improve our image,” said Masatoshi Kumagai, one of the bosses of the Japanese yakuza, in an interview with French reporters. Yakuza are on decline, he said, and if they don’t change their business model, they might cease to exist.