Care to guess which banks have pleaded guilty to criminal charges and are paying $5-billion in fines?
UBS got whacked for #$203-million in fines. And Bank of America got hit with a $205-million fine, too.
All of which should erode your confidence in the banking and justice systems, because despite the fines, everyone (wink-wink) knows that most of these guys are too big to fail.
So it will be business (and campaign contributions) as usual.
Disgusting, but that’s how we roll when government is owned by corporate interests to the point where it doesn’t even control the money anymore.
That what? Chicago Fed National Activity Index. Out this morning and up a tad for April:
Led by gains in employment-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) moved up to –0.15 in April from –0.36 in March. Two of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index increased from March, but only one of the four categories made a positive contribution to the index in April.
Markets are set to open down just a bit.
Three Day Weekend Notes
I should have told you Tuesday to fill up the car.
Gas prices as of this morning are up a nickel from a week ago, according to the Triple A Fuel Gauge report.
Tomorrow morning we get the Consumer Price report, and I expect the gas increase (almost 30-cents in the past month) will be blamed for the increase.
Has nothing to do with run-away money printing and buying our own bonds, you don’t suppose, do you?
Greeced and Ready
One of the bigger scams in media, when you read up on Greece debt problems, is how finance writers are all warning of oh, how terrible it would be, to see them opt out of the EU.
Are you kidding? Living on made-up money? And being forced into national indentures run by scoundrels?
Greeks, I reckon, would find a way to care for one another. Because don’t look now but the bankers scree of the EU are “Greeced and ready” to put it to another victim country.
Bailing Out the EU
Meantime, we have to look at NATO – when the US in its stupidity – has not been adequately compensated for since day one.
As smaller countries of Europe are scheming to get permanent NATO forces, including US soldiers, we note the CATO Institute’s recent comment:
U.S. leaders need to face the reality that the United States has weak security dependents, not worthwhile military allies, in NATO. It was a colossal mistake even to bring such nations into the alliance. It would be even greater folly to deepen our existing entanglement. Instead, we need to jettison such unwise commitments before a crisis erupts.
And, what the hell (if you don’t mind me asking) is NATO doing in Afghanistan in the first place? NATO plans to be there through 2016….and don’t take this wrong, but if we can simply embargo Iran into submission, why didn’t we burn the opium poppies and just leave?
Oh, wait…I forgot myself: When the world of consumer goods is flat to declining, there’s not much left in the way of levers to generate instant activity other than war and disease outbreaks, is there?
The Spies Who Love You
NSA types have to be thrilled with the lack of public outrage over the renewal of the Patriot Act.
About the only one standing with any balls on this seems to be Rand Paul, and he’s already been marginalized by the corporate run media.
I figure someone has Mitch McConnell in their pocket…why else would a nominal republican vote for such massive government intrusions to continue? (Campaign money? Control file? Threats? Who knows…but this ain’t the small government crowd that used to be republicans who have largely wandered off disgusted with things…)
Meantime, the FBI/Just-Us Dept are tooting the sacre-me press into a whipped up stampede of lemmings.
All that surveillance, all that social mapping and all that money into fusion centers and we still get shooters in Texas going for cartoonists and the Marathon bombing. So is that worth…’scuse me…how many billions and how many freedoms because from where I sit, we’re not getting our money’s worth.
Oh…but God, ain’t it cool that government funding is underwriting the model airplane hobby by relabeling it UAVs?
Slick but sick…that’s how to read it.
Pissinoff China – US War-making Efforts
China is building military bases on former atolls in the South China Sea. Digging up sea bottom and piling up sand and dirt.
The US is trying to keep that open as “international waters.”
So we go in with surveillance planes.
The press is (pressured?) promoting the idea that the Chinese expansionism is “Over 600 miles from their mainland.”
Yeah…uh-huh. Let me ask you something: How far from San Francisco to one of our unsinkable aircraft carriers like, oh, Guam, for example? (5,798 miles, but don’t tell China that…this is a lop-sided battle for your brain. You ain’t supposed to think this stuff through. Just swallow the pill, right?)
This is merely a side-show until we get to the new war phase in the Middle East. But according to my calendar, that’s not until, oh, about June second, or so. So won tons and weapons in the meantime.
Oh, and sure in the interest of fair and balanced, how far is Diego Garcia from San Fran??
So sure, we will scream “American exceptionalism – World Cops – Up against the wall”.
But in point of fact, the US economic zone expands just a tiny, wee bit further than China which is making its own islands.