News Roundup For Weekly Meeting (3/24)

2 pm – Pre-Meeting Presentation:
“Workers’ Coops, Web Payments & Industrial Credit”

With Nick P. (Karl Trotsky of venturecommunism.com), who asks: “How do we bootstrap an alternative banking system based in real production? What are some of the possibilities given emerging web payments standards?” Nick P. recommends you watch the following video if you get a chance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nORI8r3JIyw#t=14m35s

3-5 pm – Main Meeting!
Followed by dinner/drinks at Amsterdam, 120th & Amsterdam

Here are some current news stories we might discuss:

JPM London Whale – Indictments Coming? Cathy says she’s in the middle of the Senate Whale Report. “It’s crazy fascinating, you should all read it,” she says. On Friday, CNBC reported that the Department of Justice “is in advanced stages of a probe into the so-called London Whale traders… looking deeply… at whether certain trades mismarked intentionally and… hid losses, all of which could be the basis for a securities fraud claim of… criminal nature.”

HSBC Reports. If you can’t get enough of that sort of thing, and given our pickets at HSBC, isn’t time we all read the May 2012 Levin Senate Committee report on HSBC money laundering (executive summary here) and, of course, the December 2012 HSBC settlement with the Justice Department? (Download the four documents here. DOJ press release here.)

Cyprus, continuing crisis. See the post on our blog for links to a primer and analyses of how it developed. As I wrote on Wednesday, however, “it’s all dating fast as the situation unfolds. The people took to the streets, cabinet members resigned, and condemnations are coming from Russia (where many of the depositors actually live). [Tuesday], with the bank holiday in its second day, the Parliament rejected the first bailout plan with no one voting for it.” Since then, as per this coverage in the Guardian, the parliament passed nine new bills imposing controls on capital movement, limiting withdrawals, converting current accounts to time deposits, etc. The bank holiday continues into next week. The EU has set a new ultimatum of Monday for a vote on the bailout deal, which will involve a levy on deposits but no longer on the below the standard insured amount of 100,000 euros. (Coincidentally, right in the middle of this first-ever possible euro exit crisis, the French police raided IMF chief Christine Lagarde’s apartment in Paris as part of an investigation into corruption charges against the government of former President Sarkozy, in which Lagarde was the finance minister.)

Deregulating Derivatives? What could go wrong?
Cathy forwarded the following collection of news stories on the impending gutting of derivatives regulation (such as it is) as a possible discussion topic. I hope some of you will have a chance to review these stories and inform the rest of us. Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow!

Nicholas

Derivatives Collection

Earlier this week, the House Ag Committee marked up some bills deregulating derivatives. I don’t think they were expecting anyone to really notice, but there was a bunch of press on what they did. The next step in the legislative process is for the House Financial Services Committee to look at the bills. That will take place in April. Here’s a round-up.

Bloomberg: Wall Street May Win Swap-Rule Reprieve in U.S. House Legislation

Mother Jones: Sneaky House Bill Would Gut Financial Reform

Huffington Post: Wall Street Deregulation Advances As Top Democrat Warns That Vote Could ‘Haunt’ Congress

The New Republic (by Jeff Connaughton): Financial Reform Is Being Dismantled. Why Doesn’t President Obama Seem to Care?

Salon: Is JPMorgan a farmer?

Huffington Post: Wall Street Deregulation Garners Bipartisan Support Despite Devastating JPMorgan Report

Talk Radio News Service: Get Ready For Another Derivative Meltdown

Jim Himes, House Democrat, Defends Bill To Weaken Dodd-Frank Derivatives Rule