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...[National Security Agency chief] Gen. Keith Alexander... told the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on Monday that the costs associated with responding to computer hacking represents “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.” -- The Raw Story -- 07/10/12
The piece in Raw Story begins:
Computer hackers are on the bleeding edge of the class war, and they’re finally cutting deep enough that the leader of the National Security Agency (NSA) is making an active push for some major congressional action.
The article connects the general's appearance with a bill pending in the Senate that would put the NSA in charge of a national cyber-security apparatus authorized to "share information" with providers in the name of keeping our cyber-infrastructure secure and our bank accounts safe (never mind the government-private sector nexus combing through the nation's internet traffic; it would never misuse the information).

General Alexander quoted figures provided by anti-virus heavyweights Symantec and McAfee in his AEI presentation. Symantec placed costs of intellectual property theft at $250 billion per year and global cybercrime at $114 billion per year--$388 billion if you factor in the resulting downtime, as they do. McAfee estimates that $1 trillion is spent yearly on remediation of these scourges.

But consider this: On that very day, the world media was still trying to wrap its head around The LIBOR Scandal -- a scam so massive that financial and trading institutions stole the amount of money Alexander referenced in the time it took the general to make his presentation!

"The greatest transfer of wealth in history"? Not even close.

The good general--and the administration, by extension--propose that we sell the nation's privacy rights down the river for a fraction of the loot that banksters haul in per week from rigging the world's interest rates from the inside.

Make no mistake: computers, the internet, and the technologies related to them have transformed the concepts of money, wealth, and capital; they--along with the systemic and long-standing corruption of the financial sector--are what have made the LIBOR rip-off possible, pervasive, and--until now--private.

Just look at the evolution of America's relationship with cash as an example. Credit and debit cards used to be exceptions rather than the rule. Legal tender--an instant, liquid, universally-accepted medium of exchange provided by government--disappeared into the bowels of computers owned by privately-held banks. Banks began making profits on the mere movement of that money... a penny here... a buck there... fees... charges... it adds up.

Because those banks and those computers are interconnected, banks can control the flow of funds--determine who can have an account, how much that account can hold, how much can be transferred, they can record where funds come from and where they go. And every cent in every one of those banks is affected in some way by LIBOR.

Those "computer hackers" to which General Alexander refers are fleas on the back of a huge dog. What we need to worry about are the banksters who pay the technicians to plug their phony-baloney numbers into the world's banking computers. The entire financial system on which we rely has been exposed as a top-to-bottom fraud. The Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi has taken the lead in reporting this story so far. Taibbi says:

This story is so outrageous that it shocks even the most cynical Wall Street observers. I have a friend who works on Wall Street who for years has been trolling through the stream of financial corruption stories with bemusement, darkly enjoying the spectacle as though the whole post-crisis news arc has been like one long, beautifully-acted, intensely believable sequel to Goodfellas. But even he is just stunned to the point of near-speechlessness by the LIBOR thing. “It’s like finding out that the whole world is on quicksand,” he says.
General Alexander's presentation to the AEI is an embarrassment to his agency and to the Obama Administration at the very least. At worst, it betrays an appalling willingness to turn a blind eye to bankster threats to this nation's personal and financial freedoms in favor of a much less clear and present danger.

"That's our future disappearing in front of us," Alexander said of the relatively paltry sum cited by the antivirus industry. Given the devastation wrought by twelve years of thievery and lawlessness in the banking industry? Again, not even close.

The Taibbi article quoted above is titled "Why Is Nobody Freaking Out About The LIBOR Banking Scandal?" That is an excellent question; one that should be followed up with "why are the NSA and the Obama Administration allied with the anti-virus industry in an attempt to freak us out enough that we cede our most basic privacy rights when Wall Street is in need of a complete overhaul now?"

WTF?!!!

Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:02 PM PT: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner knew about the LIBOR Scandal when he was chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank back in 2008. He sent a series of "recommendations" on addressing it to the head of the Bank Of England on June 1st, 2008. Those recommendations did not originate with Geithner or his staff; they were stove-piped almost verbatim from the banking industry through Geithner's office to the Bank Of England. The Huffington Post story is here. No wonder the NSA hasn't got a clue about "the largest transfer of wealth in history."

Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 9:07 AM PT: OOPS!!! McAfee publishes new study that reduces their initial estimate of the cost of internet hacking to a third of its original size. Who'd a thunk it?

Originally posted to MacDaffy on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:17 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great writing & perspective (31+ / 0-)

    "a scam so massive that financial and trading institutions stole the amount of money Alexander referenced in the time it took the general to make his presentation!"

    Top notch, friend.  

  •  “It's like finding out that the whole world (31+ / 0-)

    is on quicksand."

    There it is. That is our present reality in a nutshell. Thank you plutocrats. Thank you Wall Street. Thank you congress. Thank you mainstream media. Thank you SCOTUS.

    Why is no one freaking out? I dunno, but it's a damned good question.

    Wear Your Love Like Heaven ~ Donovan

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:36:51 PM PDT

  •  Great post! (17+ / 0-)

    This has been a peeve of mine for the longest:

    Credit and debit cards used to be exceptions rather than the rule. Legal tender--an instant, liquid, universally-accepted medium of exchange provided by government--disappeared into the bowels of computers owned by privately-held banks. Banks began making profits on the mere movement of that money... a penny here... a buck there... fees... charges... it adds up.
    We have turned over total control of the entire economy for the banksters to profit from. Not only are mast transactions fed to them where they earn money, they also have all  the unemployment money, charge the most disadvantaged fees to access even that. And they make fees from even foodstamps.

    We, the people, need to address this and stop the plastic.  They offer all kinds of incentives to get and keep folks hooked, but it's time we woke up.

    gjohnsit has new tag line I love:

    Callate o despertaras la izquirda! - protest sign in Spain

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 03:01:44 PM PDT

    •  To use a physics analogy, banks have decided that (7+ / 0-)

      … rather than earn money by storing and transporting energy efficiently, there's more profit to be had in stealing a little off the top of every transaction — in other words, by imposing higher and higher transmission losses and friction at every point in the system and pocketing the difference.

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

      by lotlizard on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 02:01:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've just been slapped awake...What (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DRo

      am I to do now?  I read repeatedly that We, The People, have the power.  I am beginning to think that numbers may serve to empower, but "power" in the sense that these banksters wield?.......I don't know.

      Bottom line:  If you slap me awake, throw me a life line so I can help beat this shit.

      •  Tough to answer (0+ / 0-)

        and no one can do it alone.  As for how to move in unison we need a a movement.  My thoughts are along the lines of  Let's Have A No Swipe Day. One day won't do much but those of us who would do it would be educating others about the problem of how the country has turned over power to the banks and how using that plastic is feeding the beast.

        The less profit we allow them the less they would have to buy the legislators to pass more laws against us.

        Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

        by DRo on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:53:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  For more of my thoughts on this (0+ / 0-)

        Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

        by DRo on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:55:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Money is worthless, but a valuable tool-- (16+ / 0-)

    It is a physical manifestation of a figment of the imagination, very similar, in that sense to the alphabet and the pen and paper we use to record the script.  There's a reason money is also referred to as script.
    Once upon a time, writing and reading were exclusive skills, reserved for scribes and holy men. Just so, restricting access to the tokens of value serves to privilege a hierarchy.

    Imagine if the making of hammers were a monopoly and only the "select" were empowered to have and use one. We could use rocks instead, but the work accomplished would be less efficient and proficient.
    People who don't use money are perceived not to be economic actors.  But, that's like saying people who can't read and write don't communicate, or people who don't get paid, don't work. Of course, that last is still a widespread belief, especially among people who mistake the transfer of token or symbols of value for the real thing.
    If the recent crash tells us anything it should be that when 40 trillion of something can disappear without a trace, there was nothing to it to begin with.
    Yes, people are being deprived of their food, shelter and clothing.  But that's because somebody's not making sure they have enough money to buy the necessities of life. Who? The same people who blithely mouth "There is no free lunch" as they confiscate someone's house.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

    People to Wall Street, "let our money go."

    by hannah on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 03:14:51 PM PDT

  •  alexander: delusional - or a liar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, shaharazade, bnasley

    or both.  

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by bobdevo on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 08:11:34 PM PDT

  •  The banks emptied the cookie jar and (6+ / 0-)

    we're supposed to get excited about what happened to a couple of chocolate chips? Sound like a classic distraction to me. It's too bad that the Very Serous People have the ear of the MSM so that the real scandal will go largely unremarked.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 08:33:11 PM PDT

  •  I don't trust anything said at the AEI (5+ / 0-)

    I would like far more transparency and details about this "cyber-war".

    It sounds like a power grab.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 08:38:01 PM PDT

    •  AEI plus NSA (0+ / 0-)

      sounds like a toxic mix to me. NSA has too much power as it is, and of course they want more.

      The classic right wing tactic: drum up fear of some deadly threat or other, and get people to give you lots of money to protect you from it. "Protection racket" is the old name for this, but the new model allows for expanded police and spying powers too.

      So far, we've been subjected to the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, the Patriot Act, and the Department of Homeland security. Beloved inventions all, and each one a terrific money making machine. So now it's time to declare a war on hacking.

      "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

      by native on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 01:22:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Banks, Hedge Funds and Private Equity (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bnasley, RWood, Joy of Fishes

    are the vultures feeding upon us, as Chris Dodd said in reference to the senate "They own this place"

    You could be listening to Netroots Radio. "We are but temporary visitors on this planet. The microbes own this place" <- Me

    by yuriwho on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 08:38:56 PM PDT

  •  Spotlight. Great. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bnasley, DRo, native

    I don't know how much privacy, or expectation of privacy, we have left, but previous versions of this legislation have left the door open for all sorts of noncriminal censorship abuse and false positives, especially for large sites with mostly user generated content.

    I'm fairly certain that legislation could be developed that addresses the problems as far as reason allows without the broad loopholes.

    99%er. 100% opposed to fundamentalist/neoconservative/neoliberal oligarchs.

    by blueoasis on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 08:42:24 PM PDT

  •  Eh? I don't get the point here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    auron renouille, FG

    Seems like you are mixing apples and oranges.  Financial fraud and business malfeasance is real.  But so is cyber crime.  You have two sets of crooks, both bad.

    Should NSA and Cyber Command have more power?  That's a legitimate debate, one that is by no means over with in Congress.  But that doesn't mean that General Alexander is fabricating the damage caused by cyber crime and intellectual property theft.  In fact, given the likelihood of under-reporting, the figures are probably worse.  

    ID Theft, cybercrime, etc. are real, not some made-up government plot created to justify Big Brother.  We need to be vigilant to defend privacy and civil liberties.  But we also need to be able to protect ourselves from crooks.  Leave the anti-federal government conspiracy theories to the Tea Party...

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 08:51:07 PM PDT

    •  The Point... (11+ / 0-)
      Leave the anti-federal government conspiracy theories to the Tea Party...
      This is no anti-federal theory. It's a matter of proportion and priorities. The scale of the LIBOR Scandal is ridiculous. I never thought I'd type the words "measly trillion dollars," but two trillion dollars is literally pocket change when you consider how pervasive LIBOR is in the setting of interest rates for almost every kind of financial transaction you can imagine.

      Wasting hyperbole like "the greatest transfer of wealth in history" for the antivirus industry on a day that a major mechanism for the ACTUAL "greatest transfer of wealth in history" was exposed is almost as pathetic as Mitt Romney's relationship with black people.

      George W. Bush: Worst President In United States History

      by MacDaffy on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 09:12:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The point is don't make a false equivalence (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      2020adam, DRo

      between the two.  Or worse yet, don't make a big deal about one while ignoring the other.

      •  It's just strange (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FG

        Alexander was there to give a speech on one thing.  His job has nothing to go with Libor...and he is correct on the facts here, if you consider that he is talking about an entire scope of crime, not just one incident or period of time.  China is stealing decades worth of R&D as we type this...no joke.

        "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

        by FDRDemocrat on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 10:11:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ah, but there's a connection (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nuclear winter solstice, DRo

          that the diarist did point out:

          The article connects the general's appearance with a bill pending in the Senate that would put the NSA in charge of a national cyber-security apparatus authorized to "share information" with providers in the name of keeping our cyber-infrastructure secure and our bank accounts safe
          •  But the government can't do anything right, right? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DRo

            That's what the conservatives always say.  Unless of course they want to regulate my wife's uterus or do a little sneak and peak on my pc or cell phone.

            Our government is as capable, and has the same weaknesses, as any large organization.  The question is, "who is it working for?"

            I kinda like a big, powerful government working for me.
            I kinda fear a big, powerful government working for big, powerful corporations.

            We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

            by Mosquito Pilot on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 04:59:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Huh? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rgjdmls, BradyB

          The problem is, when industry suffers, holy hell is raised. When normal schmucks and local governments are screwed, only the most meaningless inquiries are entertained by the folks running our country.

          The greatest transfer of wealth? For serious? The guy isn't some low level NSA nerd speaking off the top of his head.

          •  Cyber Security Affects Us All (0+ / 0-)

            It is not as if it only affects big corporations or wealthy people.  Cybercrime affects everyone.  And yes, there IS a role for the intelligence community, NSA and others in protecting Americans of all economic standings.

            We will have to agree to disagree on whether or not this is a great transfer of wealth or not.  I think if you delve further into what is actually happening in terms of IP theft and cybercrime, you may become more sympathetic to General Alexander.

            BTW General Alexander is a pretty impressive guy:

            *
            Alexander was born in Syracuse, New York, and entered active duty at the United States Military Academy at West Point.  Previous assignments include the Deputy Chief of Staff (DCS, G-2), Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C. from 2003 to 2005; Commanding General of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command at Fort Belvoir, Virginia from 2001 to 2003; Director of Intelligence (J-2), United States Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida from 1998 to 2001; and Deputy Director for Intelligence (J-2) for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 1998. Alexander served in a variety of command assignments in Germany and the United States. These include tours as Commander of Border Field Office, 511th MI Battalion, 66th MI Group; 336th Army Security Agency Company, 525th MI Group; 204th MI Battalion; and 525th Military Intelligence Brigade.  Additionally, Gen Alexander held key staff assignments as Deputy Director and Operations Officer, Army Intelligence Master Plan, for the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence; S-3 and Executive Officer, 522nd MI Battalion, 2nd Armored Division; G-2 for the 1st Armored Division both in Germany and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia.
            In addition to his Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy, Alexander has an M.S.B.A. from the Boston University Graduate School of Management and dual Master of Science degrees in systems technology (electronic warfare) and physics from the Naval Postgraduate School. He also holds a Master of Science degree in national security from the National Defense University.
            His military education includes the Armor Officer Basic Course, the Military Intelligence Officer Advanced Course, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the National War College.
            General Alexander was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for appointment to the rank of general on May 7, 2010[4] and was officially promoted to that rank in a ceremony on May 21, 2010. General Alexander also assumed command of United States Cyber Command in that ceremony.[5]

            "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

            by FDRDemocrat on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 05:06:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  All The More Reason For Him To Be Embarrassed... (0+ / 0-)

              The "greatest transfer of wealth" thing is just plain wrong, no matter the implications for cyber-security. With an impressive resume like that, he--of all people--should be more mindful of the state-of-payplay in the online world. As I said, LIBOR is a scandal facilitated by technology. His job is technology.

              Being caught in such an egregious inaccuracy at such an inopportune time is his misfortune. The comments thread of the original Raw Story article echo my sentiments much more succinctly than I've done here.

              It was and is a dumb thing to say.

              George W. Bush: Worst President In United States History

              by MacDaffy on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 09:05:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, this is an odd hill to die on. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG

      This is a serious issue.  China, with either lax laws or the government's active support (I believe the latter), has gone from a maker of counterfeit purses to a maker of counterfeit space technology.  That ain't nothing, has absolutely nothing to do with banking scandals, and directly relates to our ability to maintain a domestic manufacturing base.  When our technology can be bought by third parties from the Chinese because their R&D was done by hackers who are probably associated with the PLA rather than actual R&D people, we have a serious economic issue.

      So is the diarist's proposition that we can't both walk and chew gum?  That as long as there are any outstanding financial crimes, anywhere in the world - bearing in mind that this LIBOR issue is going to be primarily a British one although one where the remedies, once all of the shit shakes out of the trees, may still be found in US courts - we cannot address other problems?  I think we can handle multiple issues at once, personally.

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 11:52:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama has never been about going after banks (4+ / 0-)

    a little rhetoric here, a little rhetoric there... what little teeth the few things he's done have can be easily undermined. Except for healthcare, choice and gay marriage both of the Republican and Democrat roads to fascism have pretty much the same scenery.

    "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face" & "Polka will never die." - H. Dresden.

    by bnasley on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 09:16:42 PM PDT

  •  I prefer Kaspersky (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigOkie

    Kaspersky anti-virus gets the hell out of the way. Those other guys are so in-your-face it's nauseating. Besides, Kas is made in Russia. I prefer to be overlooked by the KGB instead of the NSA. They're a little bit more incompetent.


    i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

    by bobinson on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 10:45:26 PM PDT

  •  When I was a kid, there were drive-in movies. (8+ / 0-)

    And teenagers who couldn't afford tickets to the drive-ins would go park BEHIND the drive-in and watch it without the sound.  We would make our own loud voice-over commentary while getting drunk.

    Technically, we were STEALING TICKETS TO THEIR MOVIE because we were watching it without paying.

    But none of us had money to watch it, so there's no fucking way you could ever call it a "transfer of wealth."  That goes way beyond mere poetic license into simple willful stupidity.  

    Really, though, the general quoted at the top doesn't really care about any of that shit.  This is about controlling the Internet.  The anti-big-government people feel that the government is never big enough.  So they will try to control it and turn the biggest communication and educational boon to civilization since the gutenberg press into just another phone they can tap and another letter they can steam.

    The justifications are always bullshit.  Remember Janet Reno and the Carnivore program she was pushing?  We can't blame that on Republicans, so let's be fair.  Her argument for why the government should have and NEEDED the right to spy on everybody's internet communications was because of the terrible threat of kiddie-porn.  Yup.  She made a big production of it, too.  Who could be FOR kiddie-porn, really?  If you were against Carnivore, then you were against the government being able to spy on potential child pornographers, who could also be child molesters, etc.  

    So, logically, nobody could ever have any private communications on the Internet because of that.  If you allow privacy, people might do something illegal or immoral.  The argument has a formula to it.  Substitute Islamofascist for child pornographer, or substitute greatest transfer of wealthers... whatever.  There's always some reason that the government could do great good if they could just poke their nose into every single aspect of the lives of every person in the country without any barriers to slow them down.

    That seems perfectly logical to some people.

  •  Previous comments by Alexander (3+ / 0-)

    have been published in which he has pointed the the vast amount of hacking done by foreign agents -- identity and bank theft from people in the old "Iron Curtain" countries, as well as the penetration of most all U.S. corporations of any size by foreign government agents.  

    Please do a google search and do some investigating before you write up this stuff from information that you have gotten from one poorly reported presentation.

    The incredible vulnerability of the web and anything linked to it needs to be more widely acknowledged.  Company research information, marketing strategies, product development plans and discussion have all been downloaded.   Some major public utilities have been manipulated.   Military systems have been broken in.

    We are, right now, in a kind of undeclaired cyber war with at least one other country, and it's important to be aware of it!!

    Please, do more indepth study of this problem before you spout off!  

    •  Maybe I'm off base here, (0+ / 0-)

      but it seems to me that the very nature of the web is to be open. Trying to make it private and secure is like pushing a round stone uphill.

      There are older technologies that long have been, and still could be used for storing and transmitting secret, or strictly private information.

      In general, the intrinsic openness of the internet, its essentially public nature, is a very good thing. I would hate to see that being hampered in any way by laws or campaigns to protect secrecy, in a domain where secrecy really has no place.

      "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

      by native on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 02:06:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Stuxnet Home Edition", from Mossad and the D.H.S. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mosquito Pilot

    That was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 02:06:01 AM PDT

  •  Funny how we are supposed to be afraid/worried (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigOkie, Subterranean, DRo

    about all the wrong things. Here is an absurd one :

    Public schools !
    And surprise, profiteers line up to suck fro the public teat.

    This diary reminded me of Taibbi's epic rant from 2009 :
    http://www.commondreams.org/...

    The latest bailout came as AIG admitted to having just posted the largest quarterly loss in American corporate history - some $61.7 billion. In the final three months of last year, the company lost more than $27 million every hour. That's $465,000 a minute, a yearly income for a median American household every six seconds, roughly $7,750 a second. And all this happened at the end of eight straight years that America devoted to frantically chasing the shadow of a terrorist threat to no avail, eight years spent stopping every citizen at every airport to search every purse, bag, crotch and briefcase for juice boxes and explosive tubes of toothpaste. Yet in the end, our government had no mechanism for searching the balance sheets of companies that held life-or-death power over our society and was unable to spot holes in the national economy the size of Libya (whose entire GDP last year was smaller than AIG's 2008 losses).

    "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

    by Funkygal on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 02:11:16 AM PDT

    •  Alexander spoke to divert us from LIBOR scandal? (0+ / 0-)

      I cannot prove it but I bet he did.  The Obama Adminstration has protected the banks every time they could.  This could be one more attempt to do so.  

      •  More Likely... (0+ / 0-)

        General Alexander was unaware of, or was ignoring, or simply underestimated (by A LOT) the impact of the LIBOR Scandal. The sentence that triggered my BS Meter was "the greatest transfer of wealth in history." I worked in the computer industry for thirty years--almost exclusively with Macs for twenty-five of those years--and I know the store that industry places in fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD). I also ran a small technology consulting business for nine of those years. Malware didn't kill that business; my own shortcomings and the ACTUAL "largest transfer of wealth in history"--the Great Recession--are what killed my business.

        The LIBOR mess is part-and-parcel of that on-going crime. As I said, to have him say what he said when he said it was a contradiction much too strong for me to ignore.

        George W. Bush: Worst President In United States History

        by MacDaffy on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 03:35:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The arc of history bends (0+ / 0-)

    most of the time, towards consolidation of power.  This diary chronicles a small part of that arc--remember, we've already given up the 4th Amendment and habeas corpus, what's a little backdoor in your pc compared to that?  Knowledge is power and there's damn little  'they' don't or can't know about you.

    On rare occasions, usually when the streets are full of mightily pissed off people, the arc of history bends, briefly, toward decentralization of power, which is sometimes referred to as Freedom.

    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 05:10:20 AM PDT

  •  Where do you get the numbers for LIBOR (0+ / 0-)

    fraud? You make it sound as if they have stolen more than GDP of the world which is of course insane. I think you're just using the nominal value of derivatives which is completely meaningless.

    •  The "The LIBOR Scandal" Link... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Subterranean, ozsea1

      The sixth link in m diary points to a chart that lays out the answer to your question:

      • Total US Credit Card Debt = $862 billion
      • UK GDP = $2.48 trillion
      • US Mortgage Debt = $13.64 trillion
      • US GDP = $15 trillion
      • World GDP = $69.95 trillion
      • Total Value of Securities/Loans Affected By LIBOR = $800 trillion

      That $5 billion JP Morgan Chase lost last quarter? That's part of the derivatives market directly affected by LIBOR. $800 Trillion is two trillion bucks PER DAY!

      You're right; it's insane!

      George W. Bush: Worst President In United States History

      by MacDaffy on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 07:41:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As I said, you're using notional value of (0+ / 0-)

        derivatives which is meaningless. When you make completely ridiculous claims it's impossible to take you seriously.

        •  I'd Love To Be Proved Wrong! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1

          The Economist: The LIBOR Scandal -- The Rotten Heart Of Finance is an excellent rundown of the current state-of-play. And when you say that "the notional value of derivatives is meaningless," what's the basis for your contention? The consensus number for their value is $800 trillion. I haven't found one source to counter that number, and you have given me no basis to doubt it.

          The derivatives market has managed to avoid regulation to this point, but the Commodity Futures Trading Commission--the agency formerly headed by the woman who foresaw the economic collapse of 2007-2008, Brooksley Born--is charged with shedding light on the true value of that market. The number is far from "meaningless." It's crucial to characterizing just how much fraud has been committed and LIBOR is a piece of that puzzle.

          George W. Bush: Worst President In United States History

          by MacDaffy on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:45:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nowhere in the Economist article there is a (0+ / 0-)

            claim that 800 trillion were stolen. In fact, no one knows at this point what was the monetary value of these manipulations. My guess it will be in the billions but only a small part of it went to the manipulators. The rest went to buyers or sellers of bonds/derivatives who where likely unaware of what was going on.

            Yeah, Born worried about derivatives and had good reasons for it as we now know. But she didn't worry that we will lose 800 trillion (notional value of all derivatives is actually much higher than that). The problem is that even very small instability can have significant effects given the size of potential liability.

            •  I Never Said That $800 Trillion Was Stolen... (0+ / 0-)

              No one is saying that.

              I said that the take from LIBOR-influenced transactions dwarfs the puny estimation of the virus- and malware-related losses we incur year-to-year. That's a fact.

              George W. Bush: Worst President In United States History

              by MacDaffy on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 10:52:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why do I need to quote your own diary? (0+ / 0-)

                'banksters haul in per week from rigging the world's interest rates from the inside'

                Is this not a claim that 800 trln were stolen?

                What about this:

                'financial and trading institutions stole the amount of money Alexander referenced in the time it took the general to make his presentation!'

                •  You Assume Too Much... (0+ / 0-)

                  General Alexander and his antivirus buddies claim that $1.5 trillion per year is the "greatest transfer of wealth in history." I contend that the aggregate of LIBOR-related transactions exceed that with no problem. That doesn't mean that ALL the money is STOLEN. It means that money that would otherwise go to pension funds, municipalities, and other financial institutions is diverted to the benefit of the banks rigging the rate. "Working the float"--holding onto receipts to make the balance sheet look good--is a time-honored way for banks to fluff their balances. LIBOR-twiddling makes that pretty lucrative (take in a trillion dollar deposit, lend it for a week at a juiced LIBOR rate, collect the vig, and credit the money to the depositor's account. I know jack-shit about banking and I could run that one).

                  George W. Bush: Worst President In United States History

                  by MacDaffy on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:01:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Whoa. Hold up a sec. (0+ / 0-)

        You're asserting that all securities or loans "affected" by LIBOR are invalid because the baseline interest was probably doctored?  You've skipped quite a few steps to reach that conclusion...

        "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

        by auron renouille on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:21:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  How About Some Drone Strikes On Malware Authors? (0+ / 0-)

    Seriously, would anyone complain?

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:59:19 PM PDT

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