Illuminate Yourself


Okay…it’s really ironic that “conspiracy theories” is the topic for this week’s blog posts. I have developed a recent obsession with the Illuminati. The Illuminati conspiracy is a conspiracy theory that holds that there is a global elite that is either in control of the world or is seeking to take control of the world. As with most conspiracy theories, beliefs regarding the Illuminati conspiracy vary widely. As a result, it is basically impossible for me to give you all a brief synopsis of the Illuminati conspiracy, but I will try my best to hit the main points.

Some background: The Illuminati started out as a secret society under the direction of Jesuit priests. Later, a council of five men, one for each of the points on the pentagram, formed what was called “The Ancient and Illuminated Seers of Bavaria.” Their alleged plan and purpose is can basically be summed up to complete world domination. The Illuminati are thought by some to be the primary forces encouraging global governance, a one-world religious ethic, and centralized control of the world’s economic systems. The United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank (to name a few), are all thought to be under the control of the Illuminati. According to the Illuminati conspiracy, the Illuminati are the driving force behind efforts to brainwash the world population through mind control and manipulation– whether it be through the press, education, or political leadership.

The Illuminati are alleged to have a private board of elite members (thought to include the top 1% global earners) who control the world’s major banks. According to the conspiracy theory, they create inflation, recessions, and depressions. They manipulate the world markets, and support certain leaders to advance their goals. It is hard to say what their ultimate goal is, but supposedly it is to create and manage crises (such as the Great Depression and Great Recession) that will eventually convince the global population that centralized economic control and a one-world religious ethic is the solution to all of the problems of the world that we face. This will come to be known as the “New World Order,” and will, of course, be ruled by the Illuminati.

There are signs of the Illuminati all around us. The most notable one that you are all familiar with is the United States dollar bill. You can see from this photo how it is thought to be connected to the Illuminati conspiracy theory.

Image

You may ask yourselves if their is any truth to this. For your entertainment I have attached a YouTube video that you may enjoy if you find yourself curious (or if you just want to scare the crap out of yourself). Decide for yourselves.

What do you think? Is there any truth to the Illuminati conspiracy theory? VOTE!!

Advertisements

What a Dick!


ex-Lehman CEO Dick Fuld

In the eyes of many people affected by the financial collapse of 2008, ex-Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld is, well, his own first name.  They do not like the man.  But where is he now?

It seems like Mr. Fuld is staying relatively quiet in the world; this is slightly by choice and also because the world doesn’t want to hear him anymore.  Since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Dick Fuld has stepped down as CEO and now has a completely different lifestyle.  Once a life full of luxuries and wealth at the top, Fuld is now a relatively hated man who is blamed for the Great Recession.  After being unemployed for a quarter of a year, Fuld finally got work in April of 2009 when he established Matrix Advisors.  This company was designed to consult companies on how to raise capital and mergers and acquisitions.  Some reports had Fuld working 260 hours of work a month at the firm at all hours of the day.  Then, as a way to try to keep his securities license valid, Fuld registered with Legend Securities.  Eventually, he “voluntarily” left Legend when he couldn’t get his state license or bring any business to the company.  So currently Dick Fuld is no longer an employee of Wall Street.

What else is happening in his life?  Well, he is wrapped in a severe amount of litigations involving the collapse.  For example, former debt and equity holders are leading a lawsuit against Lehman and the executives claiming they were given false or excluded important information.  Even though he is attempting to lay low, he HAS been spotted at a hockey game within the past year:

Dick Fuld Sitting at a Hockey Game (Black Suit)

The positive outcome of this hockey match is that he didn’t get physical with anyone this time.  To me, Fuld had no other choice but to go into hiding essentially.  His small business of Matrix Advisors at least keeps him busy.  I don’t think ANYONE would really want to see his face again anywhere near Wall Street for the next few years (or decades).  I think he is giving the people what they want…and they don’t want Dick.  Without licensing or positive relationships, Fuld will probably never get a job on Wall Street again.  A man with that many enemies shouldn’t really show his face.  For example, it is rumored Fuld was knocked out while running on the treadmill in the Lehman gym.  Granted it was at the time of the bankruptcy announcement, but he is clearly not a liked individual.  In the spirit of the American people, I leave you with this game so you can also enjoy the sweet, sweet pleasures of bashing the face of financial collapse:

Enjoy beating up Dick Fuld

Extra sources: Source 1 & Source 2

Blog 6 Prompt: Where are they now?


Prompt 6: Where are they now?

For this week’s blog prompt you will be taking a second look at one of the companies or people we have already covered in class or one related to one we have studied.   In the past we looked at these companies from a historical perspective; however, what we want you to do this week is to look at where these companies or executives are now.  Did they learn from their mistakes or are they still engaged in unethical activities?  Has there been any initiatives taken so that previous mistakes are not repeated?  Or was their situation so dire that they are considered obsolete?

From the society and values side of the class, you can look at whether laws have changed, or social pressure, or media representations, or some other element of what we call social change.

In essence we want you to choose a company or a specific manager who had a major impact at the firm.   Then using your own ethical standards assess how this company or their executives have adjusted after they were accused for immoral practices.  Please use your blogging “muscle” to support your conclusions, such as rating, pics, and polls!

Be sure to use GOOD sources.  For examples, there is this page of news and blog resources on our blog.  This includes Global Issues in Context, an excellent resource you can ONLY GET through Bucknell.  It combines news, blogs, academic articles and so on.  Try putting your chosen case or organization in and see what you get.

Here are some examples to get the ball rolling… you can add to these.  If you do, please be sure to tell us how your example is linked to the original case or example we looked into.

  • Apple: Apple, Foxconn, Mike Diasey, This American Life
  • Nike: Michael Moore, Phil Knight, Jeremy Ballinger, Fair Labor Association, Reebok, adidas, the Aspen Institute
  • Enron: Arthur Anersen (and its partners), Skilling, Richard Causey, SOX law
  • Weekend: Goldman Sachs, Lehman Employees, Tim Geithner, Hank Paulson, Bernanke, Fannie Mae or Freddy Mac
  • Occupy or Tea Party
  • Housing Bubble: Mortgage originators.  Countrywide Financial.  Anything that has been done around trying to either be fairer about foreclosures or to help people avoid foreclosures (I think there may be some class action lawsuits…).
  • AIG: Hank Greenberg, Willumstad, AIG Financial Products Group, Office of thrift Supervision, Ratings Agencies
  • Dodd-Frank, the Volcker Rule, or the new Consumer Finance Protection Bureau

Title and Tag Line Contest!

In addition, we are also hosting a competition to see who can come up with the best new title and tag line for the blog!  The winner will be exempt from doing one question from the next weekly homework.  If you wish to participate, please post your suggestion as a comment on this post.  Best of luck!

Trivia Questions & Answers From Class Discussion


As promised in class, here are the Questions and Answers to the trivia session.

Questions:

1.       Who was the CEO at the time of Lehman’s collapse?

2.       What does CDS stand for?

3.       True or False: Commercial paper usually matures in 270 days or more.

4.       Name the 3 possible players in the commercial-paper market.

5.       On what date (Month/day/year) did Lehman Brothers announce their bankruptcy?

6.       Which company was in danger in failing before Lehman, only to be bought be JP Morgan in a shotgun marriage?

7.       About how much did the commercial-paper market drop within a week of Lehman’s collapse?

8.       Where did investors flock to after losing confidence in the commercial-paper market?

9.       What kind of risk did the collapse of Lehman reveal within the market?

10.   What does CDO stand for?

11.   Before the collapse and subsequent decline in investor confidence, who was the largest buyer of commercial paper?

12.   Name the 2 companies that were mentioned as possible buyers of Lehman Brothers in the weekend before their demise.

13.   Lehman was a top 10 counterparty within the CDS market with contracts amounting to how much money?

14.   True or False: Lehman Brothers’ 3 main areas of business are investment banking, retail banking, and investment management.

15.   What type of portfolio was in so much trouble for Lehman Brothers that it scared away any possible investors?

16.   What is the name of the concept that claims shorting Lehman bonds was basically a self-fulfilling prophecy where speculation led to stock price decline which in turn led to Lehman defaulting?

 

 

 

 

Answers:

 

  1. Dick Fuld
  2. Credit Default Swap
  3. False (270 days or LESS)
  4. Issuers, Investors, Intermediaries
  5. September 15, 2008
  6. Bear Stearns
  7. $500 Billion
  8. Treasuries
  9. Systemic
  10. Collateralized Debt Obligation
  11. Money Markets
  12. Bank of America, Barclays
  13. $800 Billion
  14. False (Capital markets, not retail banking)
  15. Real-estate portfolio
  16. Reflexivity