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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 79930 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #6660 on: May 10th, 2012, 08:59am »

Reuters

No survivors found after Russian plane crashes in Indonesia

By Olivia Rondonuwu
MOUNT SALAK, Indonesia
Thu May 10, 2012 7:54am EDT

A rescue team found no survivors but several bodies on Thursday when it arrived at the wreckage of a Russian plane that crashed into an Indonesian mountain during an exhibition flight with 45 people on board.

Russia's first all-new passenger jet since the fall of the Soviet Union, a Superjet 100 aircraft, went missing on Wednesday about 40 miles south of Jakarta.

It was carrying Indonesians, including journalists and businessmen, eight Russians, including embassy officials, pilots and technicians, two Italians, one French citizen and one American, said Vladimir Prisyazhnyuk, the head of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft.

"We haven't found survivors," Gagah Prakoso, spokesman of the search and rescue team, told Indonesia's Metro TV.

Radio contact with the aircraft was lost at about 0800 GMT on Wednesday after it descended to 6,000 feet near Mount Salak, which rises to 7,254 feet above sea level, a rescue official said.

A search resumed at dawn on Thursday and a rescue helicopter later spotted debris on the side of the dormant Mount Salak volcano, sending multiple teams on a trek across steep and heavily forested terrain to reach the site.

A picture taken from the helicopter appeared to show that the plane hit the top of an almost vertical wall of rock. Small pieces of white debris could be seen scattered down an exposed stretch of cliff.

"The airplane crashed at the edge of Salak mountain ... An investigation must be done immediately and thoroughly," President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told a news conference.

AIRCRAFT FOR EXPORT

Sukhoi's chief civil test pilot, Alexander Yablontsev, and his co-pilot, Alexander Kochetkov, flew the plane, Superjet International, the Italian-led venture responsible for marketing the plane to the West, said in a statement on its website.

Yablontsev had accumulated 10,000 flight hours and commanded the Superjet on its maiden flight in 2008.

The aircraft made two demonstration flights on Wednesday.

It returned to Halim Perdanakusuma airport, east of Jakarta, after the first flight where some people got off because it was the time for Muslim prayers and then got left behind, according to Sunaryo. Others who had not planned to fly got on board.

The crash came 45 years after a Dutch-built Fokker F-27 flew into a hill in the Philippines on a promotional sortie due to probable pilot error, said the Flight Safety Foundation.

"There have been losses on demonstration flights and they are not generally the fault of the airplane. But without more information it is impossible to know the circumstances here," said Paul Hayes, safety director at aviation consultancy Ascend.

Sukhoi, which has orders for 170 planes worldwide, plans to produce up to 1,000 Superjets, primarily for foreign markets.

It aimed to sell 42 planes to Indonesia, which is seeing a fast-expanding aviation market that aims to tap travel by a growing middle class in the world's fourth-most populous nation.

Indonesia's Sky Aviation signed a commitment last August to buy 12 Sukhoi Superjet 100s.

"Some of our staff were in the plane. We are waiting for the investigation by the authorities, whether it's human error or plane issues," said Sutito Zainudin, general manager marketing of PT Sky Aviation.

"We will take further action about the Sukhoi (purchase) after the investigation is completed," Zainudin said. A state-run newspaper in Vietnam said Laos was the first country in Southeast Asia to have placed an order for the aircraft.

The jet was developed with Western design advice and technology from companies including Italy's Finmeccanica, as well as avionics and engine equipment from French aerospace firms Thales and Safran.

Built in a converted corner of a Sukhoi fighter factory in Siberia, the Superjet was unveiled in 2007 as part of a drive to restore pride in Russia's aviation industry, but it ran into a series of development delays.

The Superjet 100, with a capacity of 68-103 passengers, is already in service with Russia's Aeroflot and Armenian carrier Armavia and is half way through a 15,500-km (9,630-mile), six-nation Asian tour to try to drum up more international customers.

The aircraft is being marketed internationally in partnership with Finmeccanica subsidiary Alenia Aeronautica.

(Additional reporting by Jakarta bureau, Tim Hepher in Paris and Ho Minh in Hanoi; Writing by Matthew Bigg; Editing by Nick Macfie)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/10/us-indonesia-sukhoi-idUSBRE8480LB20120510

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« Reply #6661 on: May 10th, 2012, 09:01am »

User Image User Image

A photos of the great man! You may recognize him in some of John Wayne's early movies. He usually played a henchman for the evil bad guy Wayne was trying to catch! Always wore a huge Montana crowned Stetson!

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« Reply #6662 on: May 10th, 2012, 09:03am »

Hollywood Reporter

Roger Ebert on Cannes' Wild Past (Q&A)
5:30 AM PDT 5/10/2012
by Todd McCarthy

Having spent nearly three and a half decades on the scene in the French seaside town, Roger Ebert carries a wealth of memories and stories about Cannes. Here, he speaks to THR about the movers and shakers that descended upon the festival during his long run.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: When did you become aware of the Cannes Film Festival?

Roger Ebert: I stumbled upon it. I was on vacation in the early 1970s, had a rental car and had heard it was happening. I found a parking space in front of the Carlton. Yes, unbelievable, but I did. Somehow I got a press pass -- miraculous, but not in those days.

THR: What particularly struck you on your first visit?

Ebert: I loved the morning press screenings -- perfect picture and sound, a knowledgeable audience, essential gossip around the press mailboxes, the tumult of the press conferences, the unbelievably lavish parties.

THR: Who were the important personalities at the festival then?

Ebert: Gilles Jacob, always. The independent publicist who stood out was Renee Furst, who took foreign and indie films under her wing and found them places on the map. She was the most effective publicist I ever met -- and she trained a formidable generation like her assistant Cynthia Swartz. She once sponsored a junket to an offshore island on behalf of [1981's] The Boat Is Full, and once there, we discovered the boat wouldn't be returning until we had interviewed everyone.

THR: The festival used to be dominated by colorful, roguish producers such as Sam Spiegel, Sam Arkoff and Lew Grade, who exemplified the hustler side of Cannes. What do you recall of them?

Ebert: Sam [Arkoff] would throw a brunch at Hotel du Cap for the English-language press. He always gave the same speech: "You all think my films are shit, so let's forget business and have a good time." Once, Rex Reed said of Q, his flying dragon movie: "Sam, what a surprise! A marvelous method performance by Michael Moriarty, right in the middle of all that dreck!" Sam replied, "The dreck was my idea."

THR: How did you send your copy back home in the days before computers and cell phones?

Ebert: I got an AT&T card and sent things via the Telex booth in the Palais. Lots of typos, expensive, but it got the job done. I eventually got online at 300 baud with my old Radio Shack Model 100. I could type faster than it could send.

THR: What are some of the most memorable screenings you've attended in Cannes? And the most disastrous?

Ebert: The world premiere of Apocalypse Now in the old Palais, hands down. I was also blindsided by Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. As for the most disastrous, The Brown Bunny had a particularly loud and hostile reception.

THR: How did it all change after the new Palais opened in 1983?

Ebert: It is saner now -- much larger, less fun. Fortunes are no longer being made in the Marche. The new Palais works well and functions smoothly. In the Palais Ancien, it could get really ugly when people started shoving and the guards had to tear a paper ticket out of a booklet. Remember that someone once got pushed through a plate-glass door?


http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/roger-ebert-cannes-wild-past-2012-322676

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« Reply #6663 on: May 10th, 2012, 09:04am »

on May 10th, 2012, 09:01am, LoneGunMan wrote:
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A photo of the great man! You may recognize him in some of John Wayne's early movies. He usually played a henchman for the evil bad guy Wayne was trying to catch! Always wore a huge Montana crowned Stetson!

Lone


Thanks for that photo Lone, and good morning to you cheesy

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« Reply #6664 on: May 10th, 2012, 09:07am »

You too, M'lady! I added another photo to show him in his movie role!
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« Reply #6665 on: May 10th, 2012, 09:09am »

.



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« Reply #6666 on: May 10th, 2012, 09:13am »

on May 10th, 2012, 09:07am, LoneGunMan wrote:
You too, M'lady! I added another photo to show him in his movie role!
Lone


Thanks Lone,

I love those old westerns!
I'm sure I've mentioned this before but we had a stagecoach in our front yard at our wedding. My Dad drove a stagecoach in Colorado every summer. It was a hoot. And my Mom worked at "Apache Land" on weekends (Arizona) when we were kids. We spent every weekend out there. It was used in many westerns.

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« Reply #6667 on: May 10th, 2012, 1:25pm »

You just cannot beat a western especially the spaghetti westerns, no cars doing summersaults just good old entertainment.
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« Reply #6668 on: May 11th, 2012, 08:48am »

on May 10th, 2012, 1:25pm, hyundisonata wrote:
You just cannot beat a western especially the spaghetti westerns, no cars doing summersaults just good old entertainment.


Good morning Hyundi,








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« Reply #6669 on: May 11th, 2012, 08:50am »






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« Reply #6670 on: May 11th, 2012, 08:54am »

New York Times

May 10, 2012, 9:32 pm
A Shock From JPMorgan Is New Fodder for Reformers
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ

It didn’t take long for bank reformers to say we told you so.

JPMorgan Chase’s $2 billion trading loss, which was disclosed on Thursday, could give supporters of tighter industry regulation a huge new piece of ammunition as they fight a last-ditch battle with the banks over new federal rules that may redefine how banks do business.

“The enormous loss JPMorgan announced today is just the latest evidence that what banks call ‘hedges’ are often risky bets that so-called ‘too big to fail’ banks have no business making,” said Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who co-wrote the language at the heart of the battle between the financial and government worlds, in a statement. “Today’s announcement is a stark reminder of the need for regulators to establish tough, effective standards.”

The centerpiece of the new regulations, the so-called Volcker Rule, forbids banks from making bets with their own money, and a final version is expected to be issued by federal officials in the coming months. With the financial crisis fading from view, banks have successfully pushed for some exceptions that critics say will allow them to simply make proprietary trades under a different name, in this case for the purposes of hedging and market-making.

The missteps by JPMorgan could highlight that murky line between proprietary trading and hedging. The bank unit responsible for losses takes positions to hedge activities in other parts of the bank.

“This is a crucial moment in the debate,” said Frank Partnoy, a professor of law and finance at the University of San Diego, who has been a longtime supporter of tighter rules for the nation’s banks. “It couldn’t have come at a worse time for JPMorgan Chase. After everything we went through in the financial crisis, the fact that something of this magnitude could happen shows that the reform didn’t do the job.”

On Wall Street, few have been more outspoken about the pitfalls of the Volcker Rule than JPMorgan’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon. Mr. Dimon not only attacked the rule, he personally criticized Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman and the regulation’s namesake.

“Paul Volcker by his own admission has said he doesn’t understand capital markets,” Mr. Dimon told Fox Business earlier this year. “He has proven that to me.”

The industry reasons that the Volcker Rule would be a costly burden for the banks. But more important, industry officials say, it would hurt the markets and the broader economy.

“Regardless of how the final rule turns out, it will be a shock to the U.S. financial system, as banking entities will need to take extraordinary measures to attempt to implement it,” said Barry Zubrow, JPMorgan’s executive vice president of corporate and regulatory affairs, in a letter to federal regulators earlier this year. In the letter, Mr. Zubrow defended exactly this kind of trade.

Even Mr. Dimon had to admit Thursday’s disclosure was a setback for JPMorgan and other banks that want more flexibility when the final version of the Volcker Rule is issued. “It plays into the hands of a bunch of pundits but you have to deal with that and that’s life,” Mr. Dimon said Thursday on a conference call with analysts.

As fuel for industry reformers, JPMorgan provides a compelling case study.

Unlike the collapse of MF Global last fall, JPMorgan is a Wall Street giant, and under Mr. Dimon’s oversight, it seemed to have mastered risk management. After all, the bank weathered the financial crisis better than most.

Nor was JPMorgan damaged by rogue traders of the sort that cost UBS $2.3 billion in September, or hit Société Générale with a $7 billion loss in 2008. This was a strategy that the bank itself had devised, with the full knowledge and support of JPMorgan management. In other words, it is the kind of risk that executives like Mr. Dimon say they should be able to manage — but might not be to defend in the wake of the loss disclosed Thursday.

The New York TimesMr. Dimon and other bank executives argue that hedging, when used properly, allows financial institutions to offset the normal risks they face from economic or market shifts, and doesn’t represent the kind of proprietary, directional bet that the Volcker Rule is intended to bar.

In Washington, proponents of stricter regulation say any permitted hedge trade should be tied to a specific position — say a loan to a particular company, or securities being held in inventory for customers on a trading desk. They argue that such trades represent appropriate activities to protect the bank’s balance sheet.

Broader hedges, like the one that proved so costly to JPMorgan, should be forbidden, they argue.

JPMorgan suffered losses in a portfolio of credit investments. Mr. Partnoy said broad economic hedging carries risks of its own — and sometimes they can be bigger than proprietary bets like the one that brought down MF Global.

“They’re playing with fire,” said Mr. Partnoy. “With proprietary trading, you know about the risks. With a hedge, you start to feel safe about it and it lulls people into a false sense of security. It can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Even as Mr. Dimon put the blame squarely on his bank, his arguments on Thursday seemed intended to leave the impression that it was poor execution, not the risks inherent in accumulating big trading positions, that caused the huge loss. In fact, he went out of his way not to blame market shifts or trading reverses.

“Just because we’re stupid doesn’t mean everybody else was,” he said. “There were huge moves in the marketplace but we made these positions more complex and they were badly monitored.”

“This may not have violated the Volcker Rule, but it violates the Dimon Principle.”


http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/a-shock-from-jpmorgan-is-new-fodder-for-reformers/?hp

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« Reply #6671 on: May 11th, 2012, 08:57am »

Reuters

British played central role in foiled bomb operation: sources

By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON
Fri May 11, 2012 12:45am EDT

British intelligence played a central role in the undercover operation to foil an underwear bomb plot involving al Qaeda's Yemeni offshoot, counterterrorism sources told Reuters.

The undercover informant in the plot linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, was a British citizen, possibly of Saudi origin, the sources said on condition of anonymity. The informant was working in cooperation with Britain's two principal spy agencies.

U.S. officials revealed publicly on Monday that AQAP tried to arm a suicide bomber with a non-metallic device that was an upgraded version of an "underwear bomb" that was carried on to a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day 2009, but failed to detonate.

The device that authorities seized in the undercover operation contained what was intended to be a more reliable detonating mechanism, counterterrorism officials said.

U.S. officials said earlier this week that the latest plot was foiled by the CIA and allied foreign intelligence services, without identifying the allies. British authorities put heavy pressure on the Obama administration not to disclose Britain's role in the investigation.

Several U.S. media outlets reported that Saudi Arabia was the key partner in the operation.

But it turns out that British intelligence played what appears to be a more central role in foiling the plot to send a suicide bomber on to an airplane. The operation was a cooperative venture between Britain's domestic and foreign intelligence services known as MI5 and MI6, officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

As details of the operation emerge, it appears to be a striking example of how U.S., European and Middle Eastern intelligence services cooperate on complex counterterrorism missions.

A spokesman for Britain's Foreign Office declined to comment, saying that in such cases it never confirmed or denied the involvement of British intelligence. A spokesman for British intelligence also declined to comment.

LEAK INVESTIGATION

Several U.S. officials said the operation was severely disrupted when leaks of some of the details began to surface. Some officials said they believed the operation could have continued for at least another week or two if the leaks to the media had not occurred. They said the leaks could have compromised operational security.

Once the leaks began to surface, authorities began to wind up the undercover operation and the explosive device was handed over to the FBI, which is examining it at its lab at Quantico, Virginia.

Some officials expressed concern that there may be other prototypes of the improved underwear bomb in circulation. But U.S. officials said they were unaware of any current specific active plots or threats directed against the United States.

U.S. officials said they believed that there was no connection between the discovery of AQAP's latest efforts to launch underwear bombers and the one-year anniversary earlier this month of the U.S. commando raid in which al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was killed at a hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

U.S. officials say the seized underwear bomb bears the hallmarks of fugitive Saudi militant Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, suspected of being a master bomb-maker working with AQAP.

"He is very dangerous, he is smart, he is vicious. He's the type of person that would put his own brother's life at risk for the cause," Representative C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, the senior Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said.

"These are the type of individuals that get up in the morning and they are very smart, they are technical, and their whole focus is to attack the United States or our allies," he said. "So he's an enemy and we have to focus on him and we have to find him."

Ruppersberger would not comment on British involvement in the operation to foil the plot, saying only: "It was a team effort with different countries."

The director of National Intelligence opened an "internal review" of U.S. intelligence agencies to determine whether there were leaks of classified information related to the underwear bomb operation.

Separately, the FBI is conducting a separate criminal investigation into leaks, a law enforcement official said.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, a former CIA director, condemned the leak of classified details about the Yemen operation, saying: "I am fully in favor of a full and thorough investigation of this matter."

Both Panetta and Ruppersberger said leaks of classified information can hamper intelligence gathering.

"When these leaks take place, I can't tell you how much they damage our ability to be able to pursue our intelligence efforts," Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon.

"We are always concerned about leaks, leaks hurt our country, people could get killed, it hurts our credibility where people might not want to give us information or work with us because they are concerned that it will get out," Ruppersberger said.


(Additional reporting by Phil Stewart, Writing by Tabassum Zakaria, Editing by Peter Cooney and Eric Beech)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/11/us-usa-security-plot-british-idUSBRE84919Y20120511

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« Reply #6672 on: May 11th, 2012, 09:06am »

The Hill

Obama raises $15M at Clooney's home
By Emily Goodin
05/11/12 07:11 AM ET

President Obama raised $15 million for his reelection bid at actor George Clooney's Los Angeles home Thursday night.

That amount includes the $40,000 per ticket price and the proceeds from an online auction, where two people were selected to attend the event.

DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, who co-hosted the fundraiser, announced the record amount at the event, according to a White House pool report.

Obama thanked him and Clooney for their support.

"We raised a lot of money because everybody loves George. They like me; they love him," he said.

The fundraiser was filled with famous faces. Spotted in the crowd: Tobey Maguire, Stacy Kiebler, Diane Von Furstenberg, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Salma Hayek, Barbra Streisand, James Brolin and Billy Crystal.

During his remarks, Obama joked about his gray hair, causing Clooney to quip: "Look at me!"

The president also pointed out that Clooney owned a print of Shepard Fairey's "Hope" poster from the 2008 campaign.

"People don't realize that the photograph of me is actually me sitting next to George," he said, noting it was taken when Clooney had come to Washington to speak about Darfur. "We struck up a friendship. And this is the first time that George Clooney has ever been Photoshopped out of a picture."

He added: "Never happened before, will never happen again."

Obama also referred to his support of same-sex marriage in his remarks, an announcement he had made the day before.

"Obviously yesterday we made some news. But the truth is it was a logical extension of what America is supposed to be.”

Obama spent nearly four hours at the fundraiser, an usual amount of time.

The event took place in a tent on Clooney's basketball court at his Tudor-style home, according to the pool report. There were 14 tables that seated 10 people each.

Also attending the fundraiser were the two winners of the Obama campaign’s online sweepstakes: Beth Topinka, from Manalapan, N.J., and Karen Blutcher, from St. Augustine, Fla. Both women brought their husbands.

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who is in a tough primary with fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman, greeted Obama upon his arrival in Los Angeles and rode with him to Clooney's home. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also attended.


http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/226841-obama-raises-15m-at-clooneys-home

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« Reply #6673 on: May 12th, 2012, 08:01am »

New York Times

May 12, 2012
JPMorgan Sought Loophole on Risky Trading
By EDWARD WYATT

WASHINGTON — Soon after lawmakers finished work on the nation’s new financial regulatory law, a team of JPMorgan Chase lobbyists descended on Washington. Their goal was to obtain special breaks that would allow banks to make big bets in their portfolios, including some of the types of trading that led to the $2 billion loss now rocking the bank.

Several visits over months by the bank’s well-connected chief executive, Jamie Dimon, and his top aides were aimed at persuading regulators to create a loophole in the law, known as the Volcker Rule. The rule was designed by Congress to limit the very kind of proprietary trading that JPMorgan was seeking.

Even after the official draft of the Volcker Rule regulations was released last October, JPMorgan and other banks continued their full-court press to avoid limits.

In early February, a group of JPMorgan executives met with Federal Reserve officials and warned that anything but a loose interpretation of the trading ban would hurt the bank’s hedging activities, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting. In the past, the bank argued that it needed to hedge risk stemming from its large retail banking business, but it has also said that it supported portions of the Volcker Rule.

In the February meeting was Ina Drew, the head of JPMorgan’s chief investment office, the unit that suffered the $2 billion loss.

JPMorgan officials declined to comment for this article. But in the company’s annual report, Mr. Dimon wrote: “If the intent of the Volcker Rule was to eliminate pure proprietary trading and to ensure that market making is done in a way that won’t jeopardize a financial institution, we agree.”

He added: “We, however, do disagree with some of the proposed specifics because we think they could have huge negative unintended consequences for American competitiveness and economic growth.”

JPMorgan wasn’t the only large institution making a special plea, but it stood out because of Mr. Dimon’s prominence as a skilled Washington operator and because of his bank’s nearly unblemished record during the financial crisis.

“JPMorgan was the one that made the strongest arguments to allow hedging, and specifically to allow this type of portfolio hedging,” said a former Treasury official who was present during the Dodd-Frank debates.

Those efforts produced “a big enough loophole that a Mack truck could drive right through it,” Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who co-wrote the legislation that led to the Volcker Rule, said Friday after the disclosure of the JPMorgan loss.

The loophole is known as portfolio hedging, a strategy that essentially allows banks to view an investment portfolio as a whole and take actions to offset the risks of the entire portfolio. That contrasts with the traditional definition of hedging, which matches an individual security or trading position with an inversely related investment — so when one goes up, the other goes down.

Portfolio hedging “is a license to do pretty much anything,” Mr. Levin said. He and Senator Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat who worked on the law with Mr. Levin, sent a letter to regulators in February, making clear that hedging on that scale was not their intention.

“There is no statutory basis to support the proposed portfolio hedging language,” they wrote, “nor is there anything in the legislative history to suggest that it should be allowed.”

While the banks lobbied furiously, they were in some ways pushing on an open door. Officials at the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, the main overseer of the banks, as well as the Comptroller of the Currency, also wanted a loose set of restrictions, according to people who took part in the drafting of the Volcker Rule who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no regulatory agencies would officially talk about the rule on Friday.

The Fed and the Treasury’s views prevailed in the face of opposition from both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulate markets and companies’ reporting of their financial positions. Both commissions and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures bank deposits, pushed for tighter restrictions, the people said.

Even some of those who have said the Volcker Rule is fatally flawed agree that, in its current form, the rule would have allowed JPMorgan Chase to do what it did.

“Would the Dodd-Frank law have stopped this?” asked Peter J. Wallison, a fellow in financial policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, who has been a consistent critic of the postfinancial crisis reforms. “No,” he answered. “Dodd-Frank specifically allows hedging and market-making transactions.”

The Volcker Rule was not intended to offer such a broad exemption to the ban on proprietary trading. People involved with the drafting of the Dodd-Frank law itself say that the authors fought repeatedly to tighten the language, in part to specifically exclude portfolio hedging.

In its earliest form, the Merkley-Levin amendment to the Dodd-Frank regulatory law said that any “risk-mitigating hedging activity” — or hedging positions that reduced a bank’s risk — would be allowed. Through several drafts, that exception was steadily narrowed. The final law permitted only hedges tied to specific investments.

But when the proposed rules were released in October 2011, more than a year after Dodd-Frank went into effect, the exemptions were much broader, and allowing a bank to use hedging techniques in a portfolio was included as a potential loophole.

The drafters recognized that the exemption could be a potential problem. In soliciting comments from bankers, they specifically asked if portfolio hedging created “the potential for abuse of the hedging exemption” or make it too difficult to tell whether certain bets are hedging or prohibited trading.

Paul A. Volcker thinks there is a potential for abuse. Mr. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman whose advocacy for the proprietary trading ban was so fierce that his name was attached to it, told a Congressional hearing this year that with hundreds of trillions of dollars of derivatives being traded, “you have to wonder whether they’re all directed toward some explicit protection against some explicit risk.”

Mr. Dimon said on Thursday that JPMorgan’s “synthetic credit portfolio,” an amalgam of derivatives and hedging bets that blew up in recent weeks, was part of “a strategy to hedge the firm’s overall credit exposure.” But “Volcker allows that,” he said.

That was not the intent of the law, said Phil Angelides, who headed the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. “I think the regulators need to go back and sharpen their pencils,” Mr. Angelides said. “The intent of the law was to stop insured depositories from doing propriety trading with this kind of risk profile.” And whatever JPMorgan calls it, “it sure looks like proprietary trading, which Dodd-Frank was designed to stop insured depositories from engaging in.”


Annie Lowrey contributed reporting from Washington and Ben Protess from Chicago.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/12/business/jpmorgan-chase-fought-rule-on-risky-trading.html?_r=1&hp

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Defense News

Complex U.S. Air Sea Battle Strategy Keeps Eye on Iran
May. 11, 2012 - 02:32PM
By CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS

The Air Sea Battle (ASB) concept initiated by the U.S. Navy and Air Force is an effort to make the most of the combined military capabilities of the U.S. The objectives are to carry out the strategies of U.S. commanders and defeat those of an enemy — traditional goals to be sure, but the ASB concept brings together a much wider matrix intended to match capabilities and threats in more efficient ways.

Observers tend to view ASB as aimed at specific threats — China and Iran — while Pentagon leaders insist the concept can be adapted to any adversary. In a May 10 blog post, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert avoided mentioning any specific country, but began with a reference that can quickly be interpreted as aimed at Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Arabian Gulf.

“There’s been attention recently about closing an international strait using, among other means, mines, fast boats, cruise missiles and mini-subs,” Greenert posted. “These weapons are all elements of what we call an ‘Anti-Access/ Area Denial (A2AD)’ strategy.”

The attention on Air Sea Battle comes as the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany, prepare to meet on May 23 with Iran in Baghdad to discuss security concerns about Iran’s development of nuclear facilities. Without significant guarantees about Iran’s intentions, Israel has been preparing a possible military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, an event, Iran has threatened, that would cause a closure of Hormuz.

The ASB concept, Greenert wrote, was developed to defeat A2AD strategies such as the closure of the strait.

“This concept identifies how we will defeat A2AD capabilities such as cyber attack, mines, submarines, cruise and ballistic missiles, and air defense systems and, where applicable, ‘natural access denial’ such as weather, pollution, natural disaster, etc. The concept also describes what we will need to do these operations, especially as the threats improve due to technological advancements,” Greenert posted on his blog.

ASB, he explained, relies on tightly coordinated operations that cross operating “domains” — air, land, sea, undersea, space and cyberspace. ASB concepts include submarines hitting air defenses with cruise missiles in support of Air Force bombers; F-22 Air Force stealth fighters taking out enemy cruise missile threats to Navy ships, or a Navy technician confusing an opponent’s radar system so an Air Force UAV can attack an enemy command center.

The concept is also being used, Greenert posted, “to guide decisions in procurement, doctrine, organization, training, leadership, personnel and facilities.”

Reflecting the joint outlook at the core of ASB, Greenert also advocated for two key Air Force procurement programs.

“The joint force needs the new Long Range Strike Bomber to provide global reach and stealth as well as the new KC-46 tanker, upon which our patrol aircraft and strike fighters depend,” Greenert wrote. “These investments complement the other capabilities of Air Sea Battle such as the Virginia-class submarines, UAVs, Ford-class aircraft carriers, and long-range weapons.”

With Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff, Greenert will continue his ASB discussion May 16 in a public event at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Greenert’s ASB posting can be read by clicking here: http://cno.navylive.dodlive.mil/2012/05/10/projecting-power-assuring-access/


http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120511/DEFREG02/305110004/Complex-U-S-Air-Sea-Battle-Strategy-Keeps-Eye-Iran?odyssey=tab

Crystal
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