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Friday, 13 July 2012 10:41

Friday Doc Dump: Was Geithner complicit in Libor manipulation?

By:  Obey

David Dayen over at FDL has a piece up casting a positive light on Geithner's role in the manipulation of the benchmark LIBOR lending rate by major banks. He highlights the parts of the Fed's doc dump that show Geithner's concern about the banks distorting LIBOR for their own gain. That is, however, far from the most interesting aspect to his role in the scandal.

The most interesting of the docs I've seen so far (via FT Alphaville) is the transcript, dated April 11, 2008, of an exchange between Fabiolo Ravazzolo of the New York Fed's Markets Group (FR) and a trader at Barclays Bank (BB). After a little personal banter, the banker starts to explain that Barclays has a bit of trouble borrowing from other banks.

 

 

BB: Um, currently, we would say that in the three months, um, if we as a prime bank had to go in the interbank market and borrow cash, it’s probably eight to ten basis points above where LIBOR is fixing.
FR: So you’re above ten to fifteen?
BB: About eight or ten above. If, if, if we had to go in the market and
FR: Yeah.
BB: Properly borrow money, it would be
FR: Yeah.
BB: About eight to ten above and in the one year
FR: Okay.
BB: It would probably be about twenty basis points in the market.
FR: And, and why do you think that there is this, this discrepancy? Is it because banks maybe they are not reporting what they should or is it um…
BB: Well, let’s, let’s put it like this and I’m gonna be really frank and honest with you.
FR: No that’s why I am asking you [laugher] you know, yeah [inaudible] [laughter]

BB: You know, you know we, we went through a period where
FR: Hmm.
BB: We were putting in where we really thought we would be able to borrow cash in the
interbank market and it was
FR: Mm hmm.
BB: Above where everyone else was publishing rates.
FR: Mm hmm.
BB: And the next thing we knew, there was um, an article in the Financial Times, charting our LIBOR contributions and comparing it with other banks and inferring that this meant that we had a problem raising cash in the interbank market.
FR: Yeah.
BB: And um, our share price went down.
FR: Yes.
BB: So it’s never supposed to be the prerogative of a, a money market dealer to affect their company share value.
FR: Okay.
BB: And so we just fit in with the rest of the crowd, if you like.
FR: Okay.
BB: So, we know that we’re not posting um, an honest LIBOR.
FR: Okay.

BB: And yet and yet we are doing it, because, um, if we didn’t do it
FR: Mm hmm.
BB: It draws, um, unwanted attention on ourselves.

FR: Okay, I got you then.
BB: And at a time when the market is so um, gossipy, and
FR: Mm hmm.
BB: Prone to
FR: Mm hmm.
BB: Speculate about other names
FR: Mm hmm.
BB: In the market
FR: Mm hmm.
BB: It’s um
FR: Mm hmm.
BB: Not a useful thing for us as an organization
FR: Mm hmm.
BB: To do. And in fact, wha-what we’ve noticed is almost like um, a um, um perverse thing where people that we know that are paying for money actually put in the lowest LIBOR rates.
FR: Okay.
BB: So it, it’s almost to um, you know the ones that need cash the most put in the lowest, lowest rates.
FR: Mm hmm.
BB: Uh…
FR: And isn’t this, uh, now questioning their LIBOR as a benchmarker? The role of, its role as a benchmarker, because you know

Mm hmm. Here you have a banker clearly saying they intend to manipulate LIBOR, because being "honest" was "Not a useful thing for us as an organization". And the reaction of the New York Fed? "Mm hmm".

But that is not the end of the story. There are two parts to the LIBOR manipulation story.

On one hand banks misstated the rates at which they were borrowing in order to pump up their share price, as the trader here candidly admits. That is, by publishing a lower borrowing rate, the market took that low rate as a sign that they were strong and not likely to become insolvent. And so the market would bid up their share price. It is pretty straightforward fraud, and the regulator's reaction is 'mm hmm'.

The second part of the libor manipulation story is that the traders at the LIBOR-based banks were themselves trading interest rate swaps, financial products on which you could make a lot of money if you knew the level at which LIBOR would be set. And, as other documents have already shown, they were colluding with the unit in charge of the Bank's cash to set LIBOR at a rate convenient to their trading positions.

So if you scroll down the transcript of Ravazzolo's conversation with the Barclay's trader you get this gem of an explanation why the banker really wants the FED to let him lie about the bank's borrowing rate, and publish a rate 10-20 basis points lower than the real rate:

BB: Um, but y-y-you know also um t-talking to a lot of our sales people here, the ones that speak to hedge, um, funds, it’s, it’s quite obvious that a lot of the bigger more active sort of trading derivatives guys in London like Brevin Howard and Blue, uh, Crest that they’ve been um, um on the bandwagon if you like of looking for higher LIBOR OIS spreads and they’re still trading that, that way round of it and they’re, they’re quite aggressive in the market. So you know, the kind of big traders at a lot of firms are all trading on the negative side of it and, um, you know I have to say, I look at Europe and where our spreads, spreads are now and the June IMM and I’ve actually been trying to go the other way round to that. Actually trying to sort of, um, you know, trade that spreads are very high, that June is two, two months away, um, that um, I’m more hopeful that you know continued Central Bank liquidity measures and time will y-y-you know bring back some confidence to the market. So, I was actually y-y-you know trying to sort of come to a view to trade the other way round, but that’s certainly not typical of, um, market flows. You know, the market wants to trade for wider LIBOR OIS spreads.

Here the Barclays banker is not just saying that their share price would benefit by lying about their borrowing rate, he is saying that the market - big hedge funds - are betting on LIBOR rates going up, and he is betting against them; he has a big wager on that LIBOR will go down.

Here a banker is on the phone asking the regulator if it is okay that he manipulate the market, fix a price, so that he can make a lot of money off bets against Hedge Funds.

What was the Fed's response?

FR: Okay. Okay, I think like usual we had an interesting conversation.

Last modified on Friday, 13 July 2012 12:02

comments  

 
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[-] Obey or not obey 2012-07-13 12:35   (permalink)
Just to clarify the background. In the setting of LIBOR, there is supposed to be a strict Chinese wall between the people in charge of managing the bank's cash position, i.e. the people who publish the rates at which the bank is borrowing in the LIBOR interbank market, on the one hand, and the people in the bank trading interest rates derivatives. The reason is obvious - the credibility of LIBOR depends on traders at banks not being involved in setting the LIBOR rate in order to benefit their trades. It would be analogous to sports gamblers fixing matches.

What this conversation shows is that the Chinese wall did not exist. The banker in question is clearly the head of a derivatives trading desk, betting - against hedge funds - that LIBOR will fall. AND at the same time he is intimately involved in setting LIBOR.

AND ... the NY Fed not only knew of this dual role, but saw it as perfectly normal.
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[-] kgb999 2012-07-13 12:49   (permalink)
Holy crap. One could almost excuse the Barclay's folks for imagining their practices were regulator-approved. It certainly doesn't look like they were especially hiding it.

So, we know Geithner sent a letter suggesting some changes to his counterparts in the UK. That sort of seems like passive-voice CYA stuff to me. Is the Fed powerless to act on manipulations of LIBOR because it's technically a "London" number?
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[-] Obey or not obey 2012-07-13 13:12   (permalink)
Replying to: kgb999
I don't know the ins and outs of the legal niceties. But if a US bank is suspected of manipulating the market - as the banker just assumes they are doing - then the New York Fed can be really invasive about onsite monitoring and investigation. There is nothing about LIBOR that makes price fixing in the derivatives market, which is what this is, something outside US jurisdiction.
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[-] Obey or not obey 2012-07-13 13:23   (permalink)
Replying to: Obey or not obey
Again, when I started reading the transcript, and the two were talking about how much the bank was actually paying to borrow in the interbank market, I was assuming that the Fed guy was talking to someone in the cash unit of Barclays, i.e. the people who do the publishing of their borrowing rate. And they are supposed to be totally cut off from the trading units. For the obvious reasons. Then when I get down to the end of the conversation, it becomes clear that he's talking to a trader! A trader acting like HE is in charge of setting LIBOR.

It's not just the casual way they talk about lying about banks' borrowing costs. It's that the Chinese Walls that are supposed to exist are treated like a transparent joke by both regulator and bank. That seems to be operative norm - big bank traders manipulating LIBOR however they want.

In short, "it would be nice if we could be honest about our borrowing costs, but I've got a lot of money riding on costs going down, so ... honesty will have to wait." And the regulator just shrugs, "oh okay then."
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[-] aprescoup 2012-07-13 13:57   (permalink)
This is the shit that irks me most.

While Congress was performing high kabuki for months on end whether to stim or not to stim, and finally decided to split the 730Billion or so baby between corporate tax-cuts and something resembling a Keynesian stimulus, 13Trillion plus (23?) was marching out the door, in the middle of the night, with 868 finding its way into the accounts of an admittedly LIBOR manipulating Barclays.

"Take the Federal Reserve, which was created by Congress to serve the public interest. Reports say that the Fed knew about Barclays' deception back in 2007 and did nothing. No, scratch that: It rescued Barclays and its executives with nearly a trillion dollars in publicly-backed loans.

Thanks to the GAO audit of the Fed -- an audit which it vigorously resisted -- we know that Barclays was the fifth largest recipient of emergency loans. Bailout loans for Barclays came to $868 billion. That means that Barclays probably made billions off the reduced interest rate alone, courtesy of the American people.

Those loans were granted between December 2007 and July 2010. That means the Fed was doling out billions to Barclays after it learned that the bank was lying about its LIBOR rates."

How should "we" frame this so the public can feel justified in not voting for BainMan and Zirpo?
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-13 15:20   (permalink)
Replying to: aprescoup
"How should "we" frame this so the public can feel justified in not voting for BainMan and Zirpo?"

Is that a Trick Question? ;o)

And didn't UBS get a boatload of lovely lucre, too? Thought it was one of the biggies, but my memory is questionable.

My favorite theme right now is the pundits trying to explain Wall Street's irrational exuberance.

No, wait. This is my fave; starts kinda strong, and then:

"To get a sense of magnitude, consider this: If Libor was understated by an average of only 0.1 percentage point for a year, the discrepancy on the roughly $300 trillion in interest- rate swaps outstanding at the time would add up to $300 billion. That’s about a fifth of the aggregate capital of the 16 banks whose reports were used to calculate Libor in 2008. Much of that amount would not be actionable, but it also doesn’t account for other types of financial contracts or potential punitive damages."

So...instead of years of market-killing lawsuits:

"It’s in no one’s interest if the prospect of decades of litigation, and prolonged uncertainty about the ultimate cost, cripples the banking system. It’s certainly the last thing a struggling global economy needs. Bank executives, regulators and prosecutors should be thinking now about how to come clean quickly, compensate the victims and move on."

Ya know, like the BP settlement fund, lol!

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-12/the-worst-banking-scandal-yet-.html
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[-] Obey or not obey 2012-07-13 14:00   (permalink)
I also love this NYT piece on the LIBOR scandal, and in particular the DOJ's policy regarding prosecutions.

The libor scandal is huge. The price fixing has made the banks billions each. Not to mention avoided a few of them outright insolvency thru bank-runs if the market had known their real borrowing costs.

So what does the DOJ do?
Quote:
For the banks, the Barclays settlement provides a template for the type of cooperation the Justice Department expects, and the range of monetary penalties they may have to pay. A nonprosecution agreement is the most likely resolution because a criminal conviction can risk a bank’s ability to operate in the United States, so prosecutors will want to avoid the “Arthur Andersen effect” of putting a large operation out of business.


In short, the DOJ wants to avoid prosecutions because if they get convictions, god forbid, the criminal bank would no longer be able to operate in the US. They would have to be broken up and their various commercial and investment operations bought up by smaller players. It's either restructure the financial sector into more manageable bits or leave the criminals in charge. And the DOJ chooses the latter.

Too big to fail, too big to prosecute.
peachy.
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[-] kgb999 2012-07-13 16:29   (permalink)
Replying to: Obey or not obey
I wonder how much regulator self-interest is involved.

If they break up these companies, the post-public-service job prospects for the government regulator wishing to move into the private sector would change in a significant way. And likely not in a way that would result in the same levels of personal compensation.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-13 15:02   (permalink)
So sorry; my attention is sooo split with a ute mountain ute corruption scandal, lol. Fishy business divvying up the mountain utes' $42.6 miilion portion of the (spits on ground, or at the O admininstration) Indian trust account settlement.

Anyhoo, washingtonsblog linked to this Telegraph piece.

Mega-winds starting; mirrors my mood exactly. Ya oughtta see the dust and ash comin' up the canyon, along with some uranium dust from the mines. Arrgh.

Thanks for the take, Obi-wan.
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[-] juliania 2012-07-14 06:05   (permalink)
Thanks for the Telegraph link, Wendy. There's quite a bit over there that is helpful background.

"The BBA insists that it took some of Mr Geithner’s suggestions into a review of Libor it published in November 2008 but there was no market appetite for them."

In another article by Jonathan Sibor- woops, sorry, Jonathan Sibun:

"That no-one at the Bank or the FSA asked whether that [having the banking industry itself make the corrections Geithner suggests] was the right approach is hardly credible ."

Also, there's another player - the Tibor [Japan].

It certainly doesn't seem that Fed guy was running around with his hair on fire. Um.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-14 06:39   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
LOL on your final sentence! No, no one wants to upset The Industry or undermine investor confidence. ;o)

One of the Telegraph related links indicates that Labour may be pretty irked that banks no longer lend to business, either. That may be one of the worst consequences of the increasingly rigged proprietary trading, along with the new term to me, 'regulatory arbitrage'. Cadres of folks were given jobs expressly to design financial products that skirted existing laws. Sometimes ya have to wonder that they took that step, since no one's really been put in prison for fraud of any sort.

Wonder which other 'self-certifying markets' Tucker was referring to, beyond gold and silver. Obey likely knows.

Lotta fingers pointing, and some folks seem to be admitting just enough to seem moderately credible while covering their butts.

The inevitable analyses about psychopaths, liars, casual sociopathy, etc. are popping up again. That piece on 'Political ponerology' was interesting, but kinda 'Minority Report', imo.
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[-] Obey or not obey 2012-07-14 09:59   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Hey Wendy. Haven't seen the Tucker quote, so not sure what exactly he is referring to. But a lot of derivatives are self-certifying, as in, it's an industry panel that interprets the contracts. But they aren't necessarily designed to 'skirt' any laws. There are no laws to skirt. But, especially in the UK, they do have derivatives that are expressly designed to avoid paying the Stamp Duty, the transactions tax, on equities. Maybe that is what he had in mind...
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[-] juliania 2012-07-14 06:37   (permalink)
I went to look at David Dayen's piece at FDL this morning - could not find it. I had to go to your link above, Obey. Here's an excerpt that I think gives David's attitude towards Geithner as something less than positive:

"Geithner passed the documents around to anyone who wanted them last night. If there can be something less than the bare minimum, a two-page document to the Bank of England – not the banks implicated in the rate-rigging over which the NY Fed has control, but some other regulator – would be it. He didn’t speak out publicly, he didn’t use his regulatory power over the banks he had authority and in defense of the stateside financial products calculated using the Libor benchmark rate, he just wrote a memo."

Wonder why FDL has scrubbed it.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-14 06:50   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
It's there, you just have to click back three times to 'previous entries'. He's a prolific son of a gun; must have a photographic memory. Rayne told me once in an email that Marcy Wheeler's is 'holographic'. I remember looking up the distinctions, but haven't a clue by now.

It would be interesting to know why Emptywheel left; it was a great loss to the site, imo. Glad kgb has her site linked here, though I still forget to check it with any regularity. Some of those issues she'll post about multiple times, and ya have to read a whole lot to catch up.
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[-] Obey or not obey 2012-07-14 09:29   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
Hi Juliania, what bothers me about the coverage of the story, including Dayen, is that they are focussing on Geithner's letter of 'concern' regarding the manipulation of LIBOR. The real story is the extent of collusion between the banks and the NY Fed on his watch.

It wasn't that they SUSPECTED that traders in banks were manipulating LIBOR for the benefit of their trades, they were openly joking around on the phone WITH THE TRADERS IN QUESTION talking about how they were manipulating LIBOR rate submissions in line with their trading strategy. That is what the transcripts show.

See, I originally didn't see that, because I was reading the press, and only read the beginning of the transcript, the bit the media has been hgihlighting - the bit about the anonymous Barclays guy complaining others are manipulating, so he feels free to do the same. But that isn't the story here. Because the assumption there was that the banks Cash Desk, the people in charge of keeping the bank liquid, and making sure they don't run out of money on any given day, was just trying to calm the markets during a crisis, with the consent of the NY Fed. That's *pretty* bad, but you can imagine excuses about exigent circumstances, etc.

The really outrageous part is that towards the end of the transcript you realize the Fed guy isn't talking to the Cash Desk people, the people who are supposed to be walled off from the people who trade on the interest rates set by the Cash Desk. The Fed guy was talking directly to a TRADER BETTING ON FALLING RATES!! And the trader in question is openly saying that HE, not the Cash Desk, is determining the LIBOR rate. And the Fed guy thinks it is perfectly natural.

In other words, the Fed knew not only that the Banks were lying about their borrowing costs during the crisis- which is bad enough. Though THAT is the story the media is running with. But they ALSO knew that the banks were letting their Swaps traders - the traders betting on rising and falling rates - be the ones manipulating the rates for their own benefit. That is the mind-blowing thing that transpires from the conversation between the NY Fed guy and the anonymous Barclays guy: He wasn't even talking to the Cash people at the bank to inquire about LIBOR. He went directly to the traders, as if OF COURSE those are the people in charge of LIBOR.

I can't emphasize this enough. It shows how deeply the Fed was enmeshed in the market manipulation going on, like it was a matter of course.

As for Geithner's letter, there is nothing in there that would have improved the credibility of LIBOR. They're mostly a bunch of light technical tweaks to the process of calculating LIBOR, like having a few more US banks represented, like having two settings a day rather than one (so US traders aren't at a disadvantage), etc. He talks about introducing some guidelines about "best practices", but they already exist, since 1998. It's fucking laughable.

In short: the media is burying the lede.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-14 11:02   (permalink)
Replying to: Obey or not obey
I would have sworn I'd put up a link in my video explanation of Libor thread with the trader's insistence and jive, but i checked a bit, and don't see it. So, in any event, great catch, Obey.

I'd think you'd want to post it over yonder, even if ya say everyone's missing it, including DD. ;o)

Then...go make me some money on some insider swaps info, okay? I yam but a po' blind widdy with six deaf chirren.

p.s. Please remember Timmeh is 'not a regulator'. Got it? He's just a crook.
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[-] Obey or not obey 2012-07-14 11:48   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Yeah, if I have the time I might write something up at the lake. But they don't promote my stuff anymore, and I didn't really have the time to manage two threads. Anyway, it's good to have some content exclusive to this blog, right?
;0)

It *is* frustrating how everyone is downplaying this story in the US. Just checked Felix Salmon, and he is also going with the line "hey, everyone knew this was going on, there are grey areas, yadayada."

But he's not distinguishing two different scandals
1. Cash Desks manipulating LIBOR during the liquidity crisis
and
2. Traders manipulating LIBOR for trading purposes.

(1) is a bit grey in terms of illegalities (since there were no real-world transactions to misrepresent as such. Everyone was just 'estimating' and being optimistic about those estimations regarding their borrowing costs)

But (2) is a fucking huge scandal, and no one seems to be highlighting the fact that the FRBNY knew about it all along.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-14 13:09   (permalink)
Replying to: Obey or not obey
Mumblemumble4#*#....

Yes, but they may front-page it, and if ya make the title so clearly NEWS, people will click in. I will say that there are very few readers at my.fdl any longer...maybe not weird, but not good.

Are you leaving comments where ya can? Ya know, you have a good rep already at NC; you could link to this piece here, even.

Yes, too, on the exclusive content. I teased kgb awhile back for teasing ME about some on my part. I...er...said I had posted some stuff only here... :-*
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[-] Obey or not obey 2012-07-15 11:38   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Hey Wendy. It's been a bit of a lazy weekend. Just kinda stuck this one up because it was bothering me, and didn't really do the right amount of follow-up. Guilty...

Dropping by NC is a good idea. Thanks.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-16 17:32   (permalink)
Replying to: Obey or not obey
Dear Puggus Brilliantus,

I will say that at this point, all bets might be off at fdl, lol.

Last night they front-paged cmaukonen's piece.

Sooooooo.... |8)|

Are we not men? We are Devo!



(It says 'video player is too small' on my Firefox.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62lN2NQsHPw
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[-] Obey or not obey 2012-07-16 18:02   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Hey Wendy. I went over to take a look, but couldn't find Maukonen's piece. Not sure what bets you're talking about...? Do you mean they have turned over a new leaf? Can't quite see it.
;0)
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-16 18:15   (permalink)
Replying to: Obey or not obey
http://my.firedoglake.com/cmaukonen/2012/07/14/cold-war-hot-profits/

Ya had to flip back a few pages, dearest. Not quite sure what I meant; kinda too snarky to tell. Such a place! Oy!

Wot? No giggles on da Devo???
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-16 18:27   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Nah; they'll still love ya if we promise not to wax funny on your posts. ;o)

It's still:



...even over yonder...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56u6g0POvo0
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[-] Obey or not obey 2012-07-16 22:02   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
LOL. Thanks ever so much for the Devo. Yup, "beautiful people everywhere!" That's fdl, yes it is.
;0)
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-17 03:54   (permalink)
Replying to: Obey or not obey
I do love the way a lot of folks on the readers diaries comb their hair, and a lot on the front pages, really. It's just that crowd that goes all pissy, and they good 'uns...leave. Or get tossed out on their heads.

I mean, the place is a ghost town. Some diaries used to get 100, 200 comments.

The video on Beautiful World is something, lol! Mothersbaugh's crazy dance....wild. I er...made the mistake of trying it last night. Scared the horses; not so good on knees, either. ;o)
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[-] juliania 2012-07-14 07:17   (permalink)
Thanks, Wendy. I was simply paging back and then checking News.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-14 09:30   (permalink)
Replying to: juliania
Welcome, darlin'.

No idea why, really, but I'm workin' on a piece about Tess of the D'Urbervilles, lol! Wot? Crazy woman here.... |8)|
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[-] OldFatGuy 2012-07-14 11:44   (permalink)
Very interesting.

As someone that used to work in the blackworld though, I've gotta say that transcript has a, umm, "staged" feel to it though. Can't possibly say for sure not knowing it's details and all, but the part quoted here just feels wrong to me somehow.

But, probably just me being wrong again.

On the upside, I just got a phone call from American Express and discovered my credit card has been used on facebook today 5 times, and three other times all over the world.

I've never had a facebook account in my life. And I haven't even taken that card out of my wallet in days.

Life is so much fun, ain't it?
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[-] OldFatGuy 2012-07-14 11:46   (permalink)
Oh, and OT, but who can I ask about learnin me to author some shit on this here serious wrong turn on the information superhighway?

I've been hankering for doin' some authorin'.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-14 13:00   (permalink)
Replying to: OldFatGuy
I'll answer, but it'll cost you $1.99. (Poor woman, here. I'm also just waking up and muzzy-headed.) Start with the hints here, okay, then ask more questions. I'd (dammit) meant to remember which thread had all my instructions to Murphee on embedding videos.

Sucks about your card; did they catch it early, and since you didn't use it, not charge you? (That sentence is just wrong, but i can't fix it now.)

And good-o on looking on rc's card, j. Later though.

Start *here*.

(I'll get some of these words right yet.)
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-14 14:06   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Are you having any luck, OFG? I'm awake now, and of course feeling guilty I hadn't walked you through it step by step. Ask away; I'll sure help where I can.

But I still can't recall where that whole thing I gave Murphee on videos might be.
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[-] OldFatGuy 2012-07-14 17:34   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Sorry Wendy, I got completely sidetracked and probably won't actually do anything until Monday or Tuesday.

My newphew's birthday today (and I totally forgot) and my son appears to me missing, which has had me in a state all day long.

It's most likely nothing but him being to busy too respond, but I/we are worried now because it's never been this long before, I and his grandmother have left at least 10 messages with the last couple pleading for some kind of response, even an email if he didn't want to talk for some reason.

Don't know what I could've done that has him angry enough to not want to speak to me, but if that's the case he could at least email me letting me know he's ok.

And then today, because his American Express is tied to my American Express card, and with the even I described above, I learned he hasn't used his card since Jun 20th.

And that's what's really got me freaking out and thus not in authorship mode any longer.

Damn I'm scared, he's my only son.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-14 17:57   (permalink)
Replying to: OldFatGuy
Oh, dear, OFG; I feel your terror. Saying 'don't worry, breathe' would be useless and stupid. I will say that any of us reading your comment will be winging prayers (even atheistic ones) and good thoughts your way, and his. Grandma's as well.

How far away does he live? Has he been incommunicado before like this?

I know that any of us with kids have experience terror more than once; in our case, too many times to count. Waiting up all night for one to come home, imagining the darkest scenarios...the not knowing is hideous. And ya wanna slao 'em around when they surface healthy, if careless of your worry.

Not to be Pollyanna, but I'd think if has a card related to yours, in an emergency you'd be contacted? So hard to know how to gear down your worry. I hope that this might help a wee bit; it often does me...if I can allow it to.

Know that you have my love and energy right now, friend, and that I know how you might feel.

OFG's son: PHONE HOME...



The graphics in this healing mantra are better, more restful...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmBj9Ni_CBw
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[-] OldFatGuy 2012-07-14 18:23   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
He's been incommunicado before, and he's never, ever, answered his phone when I've called.

But he's never been incommunicado this long before (it's been over a month) and he usually returns the messages when I leave them when he doesn't answer the phone.

I have left several messages over the last two or three weeks and it's been bothering me for some time, but when I saw he hadn't used his card for ANYTHING, not even gas, which is what he usually used that card for, that freaked me out.

He's about an hour away drive, nothing too bad at all. I hadn't made the trip because I was wondering if I had said or done something that had him upset with me and not wanting to talk.

We (his grandmother and I) agreed that if we didn't hear anything by tomorrow, we were gonna contact the police and drive down there.

I'm scared.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-14 18:44   (permalink)
Replying to: OldFatGuy
I'm a reflexively guilty person, so I understand your leaping to wondering if you'd done something to provoke his silence. I'm almost always wrong about, but I still think the thoughts... Were you to make the trip, it would signal the extent of your concern; I can't think he'd mind.

It does sound like a good plan, and I am so sorry that you're so frightened. Can you think of anything I could do to help?

I must say I've been listening to the videos since I sent them; in the bath, they were even more mellowing, soothing...I think I needed them, too. We have some much less crucial stuff going on here with one of our kids; so easy to get yer stomach in a knot.

Do let me know if you can think of anything more...
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[-] OldFatGuy 2012-07-15 10:15   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Well,

guess it was just another parent over worry.

Called his grandmother today. That's good enough for me. I feel TONS better.

Like I said, he's been incommunicado before, but not this long, and seeing that he hadn't used that credit card since Jun 20th at all, the one he usually used for gas, just freaked me the hell out. All sorts of "what-ifs" were going through my head then.

But all over nothing. Sorry to folks reading about another unhinged parent. Guessing if you're a parent, you understand, and if you're not, you're shaking your head. For those that aren't parents and don't understand, if the day comes where you do become one, you'll understand. Trust me.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-15 10:49   (permalink)
Replying to: OldFatGuy
I'm understanding, but also shaking my head, wondering how long ago he called. Ya great bloody !#%@**! Mr.wd and I were just speaking of not knowing if you'd found him, and if I should hunt for a #@^#* phone number for ya...and call.

(See; I warned ya that once they are found safe and sound, even if blithely inconsiderate, I get pissed.) ;o)

Glad he's safe, and I hope Grandma told him of your worries. I *also* used to tell our kids that I hope to the gods that they suffer the same worries over their kids that they inflicted upon us. Not very Enlightened Mother of me, but tough nugies, I say. ;o)
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[-] Obey or not obey 2012-07-15 11:36   (permalink)
Replying to: OldFatGuy
Good to hear he's okay, OFG.

Now hope you've got some time to blog us some of those hard-hitting no-holds-barred truths you've been promising!
;0)
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[-] OldFatGuy 2012-07-15 13:05   (permalink)
Replying to: Obey or not obey
LOL, I think I've got myself to blame for setting unrealistic expectations.

When commenting at FDL, I didn't hesitate to call something someone posted stupid, bullshit, or some other blunt and to the point criticism. It was this type of bluntness that I thought Jane was trying to curb, because my last couple of comments were moderated out and they were saying the same thing basically. The post or comment I was referring to was stupid IIRC was one of them.

As for hard hitting bloggin, sorry, but you'll have to go to David Dayen for that I guess LOL. I'm gonna give a go to authorin' some shit, but I'm no writer like others here are (Wendy IMO has a gift for it). And while I'm gonna leave no doubt as to my opinion on things, I don't think anything I ever write will ever be mistaken for hard hitting journalism, or whatever blogging is supposed to be.

Is blogging a form of journalism now?? I guess I thought it was but since it's so opinion oriented I guess maybe not.

Anyway, it was commenting at FDL that was blunt. And if I continued to comment there, it would still be blunt. Because there are some stupid damn comments and posts over there sometimes. I can't for the life of me see how a claimed progressive saying they support Obama isn't stupid.

Most progressives believe real change will only come with the kind of activism that led to real changes before. i.e., protesting and making stink. And Obama has told everyone that he will lock up anyone making a stink indefinitely. So how can believing making a stink is necessary and simultaneously support someone who will not allow such a stink NOT stupid?? It's the dumbest fucking thing I've heard in a long time.

"Yeah, we're gonna have to make a stink to get real change. So let's vote for a candidate who's signalled he's willing to lockk up anyone that makes a stink."

That is just STUPID.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-15 13:26   (permalink)
Replying to: OldFatGuy
Well see, OFG, where ya went wrong was fallin' for the honey-traps Seaton set. On the fifth or so 'Why We Must Vote for O!' (or whatever), folks' comments were droppin' like flies; my stars. ;o)

Ya had to pretend to agree with him, then laugh and say ya were just joshin'.

(I remember one of yours that got disappeared: 'Man, that comment is even more stupid than the OP!' (or close); purdy funny, imo. 'And see, mods? My objection was to the ideas presented, and not the diarist!'

Don't sweat the high bar; write what's comfortable, we're only teasing ya.

I do also hope aprescoup brings his introductory diary, even if he does loathe punctuation. (Hear that, aprescoup? We can live without any punctuation other than periods. Or the occasional ???
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[-] juliania 2012-07-14 12:54   (permalink)
And whilst someone is answering OFG;s OT, here's another - do go over to Wendy's card to realitychecker and catch my offering (hint: what's a tuatarium?) It's not PUAC, but pretty close; at least it's my kiwi version. :)
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-15 04:38   (permalink)
Well, the Good News is that twelve, yes twelve, OUTRAGED Senate Dimocrats are demanding that Timmeh investigate the scandal (and well, five of them are on the Senate Banking Committee!

Too bad they had no access to what was goin' on, either, lol.

She was zeroing in on the F Ravozzalo conversation, but didn't see as far as you did, eh?
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[-] Obey or not obey 2012-07-15 11:28   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
Yeah, everyone is only looking at the start of that transcript. It's one thing for the cash desk to be a bit 'optimistic' in their Libor submissions, it's quite another for a derivatives trader to be saying he is setting Libor because it's convenient to his trades.

12 dems? That MANY?!
;0)
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[-] realitychecker 2012-07-15 04:56   (permalink)
Great post, Obey, and thank you. This is going to be a big one, but I've seen market action that could only be explained by manipulation or insider info being used on so many occasions since I started trading actively in the late '80's, no surprises for me anymore, it's clear that this is allowed to be part of the game, the part that assures that the insiders win. (Kinda like the "mean girls, " aka Cluckers, at the other place lol. It is really like a daily or weekly occurrence that something is seen that smells soooooo bad, you know something rotten is happening behind the scenes. The dishonest actors in the financial industry will be with us always, it seems, and operating at every level. For another slant on how they operate in an M&A context, see today's New York Times business section story about the $580 Million Black Hole, involving Goldman Sachs again!!).

I am on the North Shore of Long Island currently, consorting with the privileged, and won't be online much for a few days.
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[-] Obey or not obey 2012-07-15 11:34   (permalink)
Replying to: realitychecker
Hi RC. Yes, lots of insider trading. I've been at enough dinners where insider info was passed around casually like it they were asking for the salt. Insider trading is one thing. Falsifying data is another. Openly colluding with regulators in doing so is still a third. And falsifying data to benefit trades is kinda the trifecta.

Hope you're having a good time, Mr. Privileged Consorter.
;0)
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[-] OldFatGuy 2012-07-16 13:29   (permalink)
My apologies for being so dumb, but I don't even know how to get started writing a diary.

Do I click on "Add New Item?"

I did that, and a screen came up that looks like the screen one would create a diary on, but wasn't sure if it was the right one, and wasn't sure about the "select category" drop down.

In fact, I'm not even sure how to read all the postings here. The only postings I can ever read are the ones on what I guess would be called the home page. I would assume there are more diaries posted here than those, aren't there?

Any advice appreciated, and again, my apologies for asking such dumb questions.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-16 13:35   (permalink)
Replying to: OldFatGuy
Hasn't anything to do with dumb, just inexperienced. Yep, you're on the right track. Have you seen this up in the Meta Corner tab in the upper blue?

http://www.kgblogz.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=7

This is a start; when I wake up a bit, I'll answer some of the rest, unless kgb is here and does before I do.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-16 14:47   (permalink)
Replying to: OldFatGuy
Having any success, OFG? Ask away, it not. Kgb's here, too.

See the list of authors on the left side of the page? Click a name, and you can see their archives. Or...click on someone's name to effect the same thing IF they write articles.

Until you're satisfied with a post, I'd keep the Published button off. The More thing under the compose box gives a break between what shows, and doesn't show...in the final post. We can always help tinker with that for ya.

I still haven't figured out how to wrap text around an image...or around a video (that html code is wicked hard, imo).

Sometimes I'll leave a post showing up only in the Recent Posts lists (not clicking Featured), or just cut it off after the title if I think it won't be of huge interest here, but that's only trial and error...and maybe peculiar to me.
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[-] OldFatGuy 2012-07-17 13:27   (permalink)
Replying to: wendy davis
I wouldn't say I'm not having success, as I still haven't gotten down to the bone and started attempting to write anything (I keep getting interupted by real life).

But I still don't know what the "select a category" drop down does (if anything, maybe I can ignore it??) and I'm still fuzzy on whether I'm supposed to select "Published" or not.

Just not at all sure of what I'm doing so gonna give it some more time to think about whether or not I really need to do this. Probably a collossal waste of everybody's time anyway, so it may be best to just forget it.

At FDL, it took me over two years before I finally wrote my first diary. So, even if I wait a few months I'm still way ahead of that pace here LOL.
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[-] wendy davis 2012-07-17 14:22   (permalink)
Replying to: OldFatGuy
Yes, the category matters. At least one of the other choices was for the Occupy legal cases sections kgb designed, and I'd been uploading until...the whole thing became moot.

You want to choose 'Article', and I click Unpublished until it's all ready to go. Then ya can click Published safely. Kgb and Murphee were talking about a Draft status I'd never noticed, too. You can check that out, play with it.

Also, I have time reading those instructions in one big paragraph. You might copy them into a text document, add some spaces, save it to use as you go.

Ironically, after teaching Murphee how to embed videos, I no long can. Boy, howdy, do I feel like an idiot. Had to put them into the comments today, so...I might not be the best one to be teaching ya. ;o)


And stop it on the 'collossal waste of time' stuff; we want to hear from you.
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