Do you ever feel like you’re in the Twilight Zone?

Financial news is getting more bizarre by the day. Take today’s new for example.

Citibank’s stock price soared over news that it didn’t lose as much money Wall Street expected it to. The quarterly loss was only $966 million and revenue doubled to $24.79 billion.

Is the $45 billion we gave them since October counted in this?

I know it includes the 13,000 jobs cut in the first quarter and the dumping of $116 billion of assets.

The more entertaining part of this news, was their decision to “delay a proposed exchange of billions of dollars of preferred shares into common stock until the U.S. government completes its “stress tests” of large banks to gauge which might need more aid,” as reported by Reuters.

That seems kind of underhanded to me or am I just being sensitive.

Wasn’t the point of the stress tests to identify banks who will be in more trouble if the economy worsens? How can it be a valid test if they are delaying a major exchange of stocks?

Then there’s the report that the Senate candidates are still raising tons of money for the 2010 campaigns.

Now this is a good one, because despite the horrifying economic situation, the candidates last year raised enough cash to bail out at least one bank.

Are institutions getting bailout money allowed to contribute? I don’t see why they should be able to.

Reid has already raised $2.2 million, several Democratic candidates, according to Reuters, have already raised over $1 million, Spector raised almost $2 million and already has 6 million in the bank. Clinton’s replacement has raised over $2 million, but the Reuters story
didn’t total all the millions.

We’re getting thrown out of our homes, dumped from our jobs, surviving without health care and unable to educate our children, yet these people “governing” us, have millions in their campaign “war chests.”

What’s wrong with this picture?

The final irony to today’s news, is the story that “Steven Rattner, the leader of the Obama administration’s auto task force, was one of the investment firm executives involved with payments now under scrutiny in a state and federal investigation into an alleged kickback scheme at New York state’s pension fund,” reported Reuters.

The Treasury Department, when asked if they knew about this when Rattner was appointed, said that Rattner informed them about the pending investigation but refused to comment further.

One would think that treasury would be reluctant to put someone with an investigation into kickbacks, at the head of such a high profile and crucial task force. But no, they apparently saw no problem with it because there he is.

The scarier thought is that maybe Geithner, the tax cheat, has a suspicion that no matter who you appoint from the investment bank industry, they are likely to come under scrutiny for one shady practice or another, and therefore you hire either the one with the least chance of an investigation or the one who is most likely to survive the investigation without being imprisoned.

Either way, I am leaning more and more towards the folks that chant HEY HEY HO HO THE FEDERAL RESERVE HAS GOT TO GO!

Add to that the investment banks, nationally chartered banks, etc. etc. etc.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has his work cut out for him.

I now have to wonder if it was the New Yorkers that were the frauds and the Chicago financial institutions were all above board, or if Cuomo is a pro-active Attorney General and Lisa Madigan is simply remiss in not investigating the Chicago Board of Trade, Mercantile Exchange and the Board of Options Exchange.

Time will tell.

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America by the numbers – updated

1 in 10 Americans are on food stamps – average benefit – $112.82 per person

1 in 50 American children are homeless

3,000,000 Americans have been out of work 27 weeks or longer

5,000,000 Americans have lost their jobs since the “recession” started

8,600,000 American workers are underemployed

5,300,000 Americans are on unemployment, the highest number since 1967

Only 37% of unemployed workers qualify for unemployment benefits

Approximately 1 out of 3 homeless men are veterans

1 in every 466 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing in January

13,000,000 Americans are jobless

7 percent of homeowners with mortgages were at least 30 days late on their loans in February, up more than 50 percent from 2008

Banks closed 8 million credit card accounts in February

4.5 percent of total balances on bank-issued credit cards were at 60 days past due in February, up 32.7 percent from 2008

Welcome to the richest country in the world………

Protest the 2016 Games

No Games Chicago, “a diverse group of citizens who have come together to oppose the Chicago bid for the 2016 Olympics,” is holding a protest rally today at the Federal Plaza at 5pm.

From their website:

The International Olympic Committee will be in town from April 2-8th to evaluate
Chicago’s potential as a Host City for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Let them know
that Chicago 2016 does not speak for the people of Chicago. Let them know that
Chicagoans have other priorities. Let them hear your voice.

RALLY. SPEAK OUT. PROTEST. SHUT DOWN THE OLYMPIC BID!

We need Better Hospitals, Housing, Schools, and Trains — Not Olympic Games.
They Play and We Pay. NO GAMES!

For more information email nogameschicago@gmail.com or call 312.235.2873
On the web: nogameschicago.com
NO GAMES: Chicago on Facebook

Be there or be square…..

Don’t want the Olympics? Sign the petition….

Go to jail, go directly to jail….

Bernie Madoff, Ponzi scheme emperor, was ordered by a federal district judge to go directly to jail while he awaits sentencing.

Madoff pled guilty today to 11 criminal charges. The judge determined “He has incentive to flee, he has means to flee, and he is a risk of flight.”

Justice is served.

And for those who tossed all of their money at him so he could make them richer than they otherwise were, faster than they otherwise could have achieved it and who are now destitute, or as one “victim’s” spokesperson said, “they now have to work menial jobs,” I say never put all your eggs in one basket.

That’s what they teach those of us who tend to work menial jobs.

Since we have less eggs than you people who worked important jobs or didn’t work at all, it was imperative that we learn not to get so greedy that we would turn over our life savings to one guy, with no track record, and risk losing it all, just so we can brag that we’re in with the in crowd.

Perhaps a review of the seven deadly sins –  lust, envy, gluttony, sloth, greed, anger and pride, would be in order here as well.

I believe that Madoff and his investors, probably were guilty of envy, greed, and pride……but careful, don’t let anger get the better of you or you just might end up with Madoff in the federal pen of the government’s choice.

Indicted for identity theft, but I bet they get to keep the money

Congratulations to the feds who caught 6 people, from 3 countries, including our own, who together, stole 31 million credit/debit card numbers from retail databases. The U.S. citizen, used as an informant,  tipped off his pals on the side about the investigation…..nice…..

So while the one guy faces charges in Turkey and we’ve requested extradition, here’s what Reuters said about the U.S. citizen….

n the Boston indictment, the alleged ringleader Albert “Segvec” Gonzalez of Miami was charged with computer fraud, wire fraud, access device fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy. Gonzalez, who is in custody in New York, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison if he is convicted of all the charges.

Gonzalez was a U.S. Secret Service informant who helped the agency take over a Web site being used to transmit stolen identifiers and stolen credit card numbers, U.S. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said at the news conference.

One problem, they can’t figure out how much money or goods or services they got.

I congratulate the feds for this. I truly think it’s great that they caught these lowlifes. What I want to know though, relates more to our wonderful congressional leaders who write the laws these guys are enforcing.

Does anY one of these charges involve SEIZING ALL OF THEIR ASSETS WHICH WERE ACQUIRED THROUGH FRAUD, THEFT, DECEPTION, ETC.?

Let me guess. I bet not.

Wonder if any of them ever sold an ounce of weed…..bet you could take everything they own, their friends own, their kids own, and some stuff you just think they own….but God forbid you should take a dime or a bicycle from people who stole millions from millions and have the capacity to have significantly contributed to the bankrupting of America…..

What am I thinking? Get that ’92 Cadillac from that 16 -year-old drug dealer who’s making minimum wage standing on a corner for 20 hours a day!!! We simply cannot set the example that selling drugs , pays. No, we want kids to go to school and get a high tech education, because if you’re going to bother getting busted for a crime, you may as well make it one where you can live large while you’re doing it, you aren’t noticeable in the neighborhood, you’ll be lauded in court for your computer skills, and your ill-gotten gain will be waiting for you when you get out.

Only in America….

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