World View: Barclays Bank Fined $453 Million for Manipulating Markets

World View: Barclays Bank Fined $453 Million for Manipulating Markets

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Merkel and Hollande meet ahead of the new ‘save the euro’ summit
  • Barclays Bank fined $453 million for manipulating markets
  • Barclay CEO Bob Diamond will give up his bonus. Boohoo!
  • Russia may be changing direction on Syria
  • Obama better suited than Romney to handle an alien invasion

Merkel and Hollande meet ahead of the new ‘save the euro’ summit

I heard an analyst say that the Thursday/Friday summit in Brussels will be the 15th “save the euro” summit since the crisis began. It should be noted that each one of these summits leads to a new solution, sometimes even a “shock and awe” solution or even a “nuclear solution,” but it never works, and things soon are worse than ever. This is consistent with what I’ve been saying for years — from the point of view of generational theory, there is NO SOLUTION to the crisis, so no matter what they do, things will continue to get worse.

Like many of the past summits, this one is being spun as Europe’s last chance. Mario Monti, Italy’s prime minister, said last week that Europe has only one week left to save the euro. The most dire warnings have come from the diametrically opposing views of France’s new Socialist president François Hollande, and Germany’s hard-nosed Chancellor Angela Merkel. As soon as Hollande became President of France, the first thing he did was lower the retirement age from 62 to 60. This was sticking his thumb in the eye of Merkel and Germany, where the retirement age is 67. Hollande wants “growth,” which means continuing spending money and going further into debt (even though spending money so far has not produced any growth), and Merkel wants “austerity,” which means reducing spending to cut debt (even though reducing spending so far has just caused a vicious downward spiral). Analysts have been expressing fears that the summit in Brussels would end in a bitter split, triggering a new crisis.

So Merkel traveled to Paris on Wednesday to meet with Hollande. They came out of the meeting smiling, having agreed to a fairly austere growth plan, which really doesn’t do anything.

And so, it looks like the “Kick the Can Theory” will apply again to the 15th “save the euro” summit, and some way will be found to postpone the crisis for a few more weeks. Deutsche Welle and Spiegel

Barclays Bank fined $453 million for manipulating markets

Britain’s Barclays Bank will pay $453 million to settle charges of market manipulation. From 2005-2009, Barclays Bank was in a position to partially control an internationally used interest rate known as LIBOR (London interbank offered rate), calculated based on what it costs major banks to borrow money from each other. This figure is a cornerstone of the credit markets, since banks around the world use LIBOR as a basis to set mortgage rates, business loans, and so forth. As a favor to other bankers, Barclays bankers announced phony Libor rates, allowing these other banks to make millions of additional dollars. The investigation uncovered dozens of e-mail exchanges where, for example, a bottle of Bollinger was offered in exchange for setting the phony rate. Gee, what a shock. Who would ever think that banks would act this way? Independent

Barclay CEO Bob Diamond will give up his bonus. Boohoo!

Barclay’s CEO Bob Diamond will give up his multimillion dollar bonus this year, and will have to survive on his multimillion dollar base salary. This person is a crook, and he and others at Barclays should go to jail. Instead, they get a cosmetic slap on the wrist. Diamond, incidentally, went before Parliament in January 2011 to defend large bonuses. “Frankly,” he said, “the biggest issue is how do we put some of the blame game behind us?”

What’s really surprising about all this is that there was even an investigation. Gen-X banksters knowingly created tens of trillions of dollars in fraudulent synthetic securities, defrauded millions of investors by selling them as AAA rated, and lied about them to their Boomer bosses, who didn’t ask any questions because they were making too much money. But the Obama Administration with Eric Holder is refusing to investigate and prosecute any of these crimes, allowing these people to continue to commit fraud. It’s the most sickening thing I’ve seen in my life.

I don’t know why Barclays was even investigated, but I assume it has something to do with being a British bank, so they don’t contribute money to the reelection campaign. CBS News (Jan, 2011)

Russia may be changing direction on Syria

There’s a chance that the statement that we reported yesterday by Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad that Syria is in a “real war” might possibly have been the last straw for Russia’s full-throated support for al-Assad. By talking about a “real war,” al-Assad was laying the groundwork for an unchecked full-scale military attack on Sunni Arabs in Syria. As a result, Russia now appears willing to consider a plan to have al-Assad step down and live in exile in Moscow. He would be replaced some of his pro-Russian lieutenants, who would make sure that all of Russia’s interests were protected. Kofi Annan, whose collection of peace plans are all in the garbage dump, is calling for an international meeting on Saturday to discuss the plan. Bloomberg

Obama better suited than Romney to handle an alien invasion

According to a survey by the National Geographic Channel, over 36% of all Americans believe that UFOs exist, 17% believe they don’t, and the rest aren’t sure. Which presidential candidate could best handle an alien invastion? 65% say Barack Obama is better suited to handle an alien invasion than Mitt Romney. USA Today