"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Madoff, The SEC, Tax "Compromise", And Predator Drones

Quick highlights to wrap up the day:
Jeffry Picower's estate has agreed to settle civil suits to the tune of $7.2 billion. What? He's not a household name? He was an investor in Bernie Madoff's trust fund, and he died back in October of 2009. The $7.2 billion represents the profits of his investment in the Madoff Ponzi Fund.
The SEC has issued subpoenas to a number of banks[1]. Why? It's the next step into their ongoing investigation of how they packaged mortgages for sale to investors. They're looking into the role of the "master servicers", which are the firms that select and maintain the pool of home loans that go into mortgage-backed securities. They also want to know how the performance of the underlying loans were monitored and whether or not the loans were properly transferred to the trusts. At least, that's what the anonymous source says, because it's not public. Why? Beats me[2].
President Obama signed the tax cut "compromise" bill into law today. Christmas is saved.
And we have apparently sent armed drones into Pakistan, where over 50 people have been killed. There's no word on whether or not we asked permission before violating Pakistani air space yet again[3], but we are being assured that only militants have been killed.
[1] Including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo.
[2] It wouldn't be the first time the SEC hasn't bothered to really take action on information, though. I'm not saying that they're going to cover this up. Just that it wouldn't be the first time.
[3] Apparently we launch attack drones into Pakistan on a several times weekly basis.

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