Saturday Reads Around The Internets - Banksters & Bad Trade

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Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly finds that made our eyes pop.

No Charges....Again for the Banksters

AIG, Goldman Sachs, Countrywide...the list goes on and on. To date there have been no real consequences or criminal charges for the people who committed the biggest fraud in history which brought the globe's economy to it's knees. The latest is Lehman Brothers:

The U.S. government's investigation into the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. has hit daunting hurdles that could result in no civil or criminal charges ever being filed against the company's former executives, people familiar with the situation said.

In recent months, Securities and Exchange Commission officials have grown increasingly doubtful they can prove that Lehman violated U.S. laws by using an accounting maneuver to move as much as $50 billion in assets off its balance sheet, which made it appear that the securities firm had reduced its debt levels.

SEC officials also aren't confident they could win any lawsuit accusing former Lehman employees, including former Lehman Chief Executive Richard Fuld Jr., of failing to adequately mark down the value of the large real-estate portfolio acquired in Lehman's takeover of apartment developer Archstone-Smith Trust or to disclose the resulting losses to investors, according to people familiar with the matter.

WTO Rules in China's Favor

So much for the WTO. China was dumping Steel in the U.S. but now the WTO has ruled this legal.

World Trade Organization appeals judges reversed key parts of a ruling that largely backed the U.S. following a Chinese complaint about duties on imports of steel pipes, some off-road tires and woven sacks.

The U.S. announced levies in July 2008 on $200 million of steel-pipe shipments from China, South Korea and Mexico. Chinese exporters of the light, rectangular piping face countervailing duties, used to offset subsidies, of as much as 200 percent of the product’s price. They also face anti-dumping duties, which compensate for goods sold overseas at prices below those at home, of as much as 265 percent.

Germany, France Fighting Bank Transparency

Gotta love how governments back the Banksters. Bloomberg reports Germany & France fighting Basel rules:

Germany and France are fighting global rules that would force lenders such as Deutsche Bank AG and BNP Paribas SA to reveal their reliance on debt, according to an internal note prepared by the European Commission.

The euro region’s two biggest economies are “fiercely against” proposals drawn up by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision for lenders to reveal as soon as 2015 whether they would meet a cap on borrowing, known as a leverage ratio, that may only become binding three years later. Austria and Greece are also opposed, according to the document obtained by Bloomberg News.

Hit 'em in the Pocketbook

This is why you shouldn't bank at Wells Fargo. Seems a bank which funded Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is having customer's accounts withdrawn. Way to go firefighters!

Everybody knows the GOP's biggest weakness is money, so why not hit 'em in the sweet spot? That's what many amazing Wisconsin firefighters did yesterday when they collectively began withdrawing their funds from Madison's M&I Bank -- whose executives and board members were among the highest donors to Governor Scott Walker's campaign.

Domestic Courts Must Defer to NAFTA Courts

God Bless Public Citizen. We have a new report that our courts are being diluted in their power by trade agreements.

Yesterday, I wrote that there were some additional aspects of the Cargill v. Mexico award under NAFTA that were notable that I hadn't covered in my original post last week.

Another dimension of the Cargill v. Mexico arbitration worth mentioning is that Mexico lauched a case in Canadian courts to have the NAFTA award set aside, on the grounds that the ICSID panel erred and exceeded its jurisdiction. Mexico argued that it should only have to compensate Cargill for the damages it suffered in Mexico proper, not for the loss of revenue to the U.S. parent company as a result of not being able to export HFCS to Mexico.

The Ontario court refused to set aside or reduce the damages, and stated that national courts must show a high degree of deference to NAFTA investor-state awards.

China's Currency Manipulation Drives Record Carbon Emissions

Bloomberg overviews a new study which makes the connection between global warming, pollution and China's policies:

China’s undervalued yuan is subsidizing energy-intensive export industries that have led to record carbon dioxide emissions, negating the nation’s conservation efforts, a study said.

China’s “depressed exchange rate” has protected coal- powered export industries, such as iron, steel and cement factories and the supply chains producing laptops, electronics and plastics, according to a report by CO2 Scorecard Group, a Winter Park, Florida-based environmental research group whose executives include a former World Bank economist and former energy specialist at the U.S. White House’s budget office.

“China’s macro-economic policies have made its economy a magnet for energy intensive and greenhouse-unfriendly industries,” it said. “The country is actually reversing the gains it made in energy and emissions efficiency.”

What stories and facts made your eyes pop?

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