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  It's time we all apologized to our neighborhood conspiracy theorists.
  They were right all along. Everything in the world really is being controlled and manipulated. They just blamed the wrong groups.
      The Bilberberg Group? Noobs. The Trilateral Commission? Posers. The Freemasons? Wannabe's.

  Don't believe me? Then you aren't keeping track of the financial news, because it is all written down in court records.

  Here is a list of eight global markets that are proven to have been controlled.
  Everything from the food you eat to your credit card statement to the gas in your car to the budget of the city you live in. There literally is no market pricing free of cartels anywhere, and it isn't the fault of governments.

Money:
 Yes, the value of money itself is manipulated and controlled. Oh, sure. Manipulating the value of money is a primary reason why central banks were created in the first place, but its supposed to wash out in the $5.3 Trillion-a-day foreign exchanges.
    Well, guess what? Funny story. It turns out foreign exchanges are being manipulated.

 Allegations of foreign exchange rate-fixing at major banks are "every bit as bad" as the Libor scandal, the boss of the UK's financial regulator has said.
 Yes, the Department of Justice is also investigating this scandal that is "every bit as bad" as the Libor scandal.
  Speaking of which...
Interest Rates:

  $800 Trillion of assets are affected by the Libor, the mechanism that is supposed to represent market interest rates. Well, guess what? Another funny story. It seems it was all a lie.

  And the best part of this funny story is that even after these banks were caught, they kept on manipulating the Libor.
The U.K. bankers and regulators charged with reviewing Libor in the wake of regulatory probes are resisting calls to overhaul the rate because structural changes risk invalidating trillions of dollars of contracts.
 Libor, schmibor, right? What's that got to do with me?
   It seems that local governments were the ones who got scalped by the Libor manipulation.
 In the U.S., municipal borrowers used swaps to guard against the risk of higher interest costs on variable-rate debt by exchanging payments with another entity and tying how much they pay to an underlying value such as an index. The agreements can backfire if rates move in unexpected directions, resulting in issuers making larger payments.The derivatives were often designed to offset the risks of increases in the short-term rates tied to auction-rate securities, fixing borrowers’ costs by trading their debt- service payments with another party. Instead, rates dropped.
 Jefferson County, Detroit, and Oakland, are just some of the examples of local governments that got screwed by Libor manipulation. Interest-rate swaps were simply a conduit.
  Not that the banks needs to rig the Libor to screw the local governments, because they were rigging the muni bond market as well.
 “The whole investment process was rigged across the board,” said Charlie Anderson, who retired in 2007 as head of field operations for the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt bond division. “It was so commonplace that people talked about it on the phones of their employers and ignored the fact that they were being recorded.”
  By the way, speaking of interest-rate swaps, the price of those were manipulated too.
 It should surprise no one that among the players implicated in this scheme to fix the prices of interest-rate swaps are the same megabanks – including Barclays, UBS, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Scotland – that serve on the Libor panel that sets global interest rates.
 But then why should interest-rate swaps be any different from the rest of the derivatives market, which is heavily manipulated.
   That reminds me of something. I seem to recall derivatives being the source of the 2008 financial crisis.

Oil:
   Can you imagine that? The same industry that allowed Dick Cheney and George Bush to rise to power? Pashaw! Corrupt?
   It seems so.

 The European Commission raided the offices of Shell, BP and Norway’s Statoil this week as part of an investigation into suspected attempts to manipulate global oil prices spanning more than a decade...
   A review ordered by the British government last year in the wake of the Libor revelations cited “clear” parallels between the work of the oil-price-reporting agencies and Libor.
Some traders even claim to have proof. The practice seems to be rather widespread and openly known.
 By mid-2008 the Nymex was fully and totally rigged-out. Goldman Sachs had “goosed prices” to the limit, although with no surprise GS never admitted that it “goosed prices”. Any multi-hundred-million dollar fines it paid for the Sem Group affair and subsequent or related affairs, or unrelated affairs, were “with no admission of wrongdoing”
 Don't get confused that we are only talking about oil. The commission involved is investigating "a wide range of oil products — crude oil, biofuels, and refined oil products, which include gasoline, heating oil, petrochemicals and others."
   Which brings us to...

Energy:
    Yes, the entire energy market. Our second-favorite bank (right behind Goldman Sachs) is JP Morgan Chase. It seems they were caught red-handed.

 JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) manipulated power markets in California and the Midwest from September 2010 to June 2011, obtaining tens of millions of dollars in overpayments from grid operators, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission alleged today.
 Did you think you were paying too much to heat and light your house a few years ago? Well, you were.
  This is not to be confuse with the time Enron did the same thing. Of course, since JP Morgan Chase was involved with aiding and abetting Enron securities fraud, you can be excused for getting confused.

Other Commodities:
    The Senate is opening an investigation of manipulation in the general commodity market. Base metals, like copper and aluminum, are the ones being most looked at, but food products are also being investigated.
   The London Metals Exchange is at the center of the scandal.

Mortgages:
   Since the banks are already manipulating interest rates, it seems only natural that they would manipulate the mortgage market too.

Credit Cards:
   Did you ever get the impression that you were paying too many fees on your credit cards? That's because you were.
  According to the press release, the credit card companies and banks will pay $6.6 billion in cash; furthermore, the companies agreed to a temporary reduction in the level of these interchange fees paid by merchants, with an estimated value of $1.2 billion according to Reuters.
 
Stocks and Bonds:
   Stocks and bonds manipulated?!? Pashaw! That could never happen.
Well, actually it could happen, but it would be legal.
   However, if it was illegal it would be the exception.
   Or if it was widespread then you would be foolish not to.

  Or something like that.

   Are there other markets that are manipulated? No.
Well, maybe.
Possibly.
OK, yes. There are others.
  In fact, the price for everything is being rigged by a very small cartel of wealthy elite. Is there really any wonder why the 1% keep getting richer at our expense?

 "In all the over-the-counter markets, you don't really have pricing except by a bunch of guys getting together," Masters notes glumly.
  However, there is one market that is not being manipulated. Precious metals.
   Sure, they manipulate money, interest rates, oil, energy, pretty much everything under the sun. But manipulate precious metals? Hah! Break out the tinfoil hat, because that's crazy talk!

Parting thought

  1) 30-some years ago the federal government basically decided to stop enforcing anti-trust laws.
  2) the multinational businesses are bigger than ever. They are able to set the prices of commodities and labor through monopoly pricing.
  3) the middle class is vanishing before our eyes.

   Do you kind-of, sort-of think that those three things might be connected somehow?

9:51 AM PT: New York's top regulator is opening an investigation of the major banks for currency market rigging.

10:17 AM PT: I'm not sure if everyone understands the implications of all the markets being rigged.

    Basically it means we are in a post-capitalist society.

Capitalism isn't actually functioning in a way we know it. We are operating outside of all standard economic theories. Our regulators are operating under policy premises that don't really apply. Our politicians are passing laws that are unrealistic.

  What's more, we are dealing with a very small cartel of people, operating above the law, who could make and break nations on a whim. Our current political debates aren't relevant.

  No, I'm not being alarmist. It really does mean this.

11:14 AM PT: I should point out that the above list, despite encompassing almost everything, is only a list of proven examples. They are the instances in which the bankers have been caught.

   Given that, is it really outrageous to speculate that the bankers have managed to get away with other market riggings in which they didn't get caught?


Originally posted to gjohnsit on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 08:29 AM PST.

Also republished by Postcapitalism.

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