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11.16 Scotland was first Industrialized Country to Run wholly on Wind in October

11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]

11.15  The long read:  The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]

11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

11.13 What would a smog-free city look like?

11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

11.12  This Land is Your Land:  The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]

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11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 Trump Is Starting to Panic

11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]

11.16 Trump’s latest interview shows a president who’s in way over his head

11.16 Why the political fight in Georgia is far from over

11.16 Florida judge sides with Democrats, giving thousands a second chance to fix their ballots

11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]

11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]

11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]

11.15 Big Oil v the planet is the fight of our lives. Democrats must choose a side

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High Crimes?

11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]

11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]

11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]

International & Futurism

11.17 Saudi crown prince's 'fit' delays UN resolution on war in Yemen

11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]

11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]

11.17 CIA finds Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi killing – report

11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]

11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]

11.14 Israel and Hamas launch hundreds of attacks in Gaza clash

11.14 Mueller seeking more details on Nigel Farage, key Russia inquiry target says

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  Will Hollywood Go The Way Of Enron? Derivatives Come To The Movies

ECONOMIC ANALYSIS:

Will Hollywood Go The Way Of Enron? Derivatives Come To The Movies

It’s such a great system, they want to replicate it.

by Ellen Hodgson Brown, J.D.
Earlier published on her website earlier today, May 3rd, 2010.
Critics are worried that the new exchange will turn Hollywood into another derivatives casino, vulnerable to insider trading. Even if traders aren’t hiding behind bushes waiting to trip up the stars, the exchange could create bizarre incentives for moviemakers to manipulate and distort the market for their own products.

As if attacks from paparazzi and star-crazed fans weren’t enough, Hollywood stars may soon have a literal price put on their heads by investors in the Cantor Exchange, a real-money trading platform where people can bet on the gross profits of upcoming movies. Sales of The Dark Knight skyrocketed after Heath Ledger died unexpectedly, and so did sales after the deaths of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. Will greed-driven investors now be laying in wait for the stars of movies they have bet on?

The Cantor Exchange (CE) is based on a virtual trading platform called the Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX), a web-based, multiplayer simulation in which players buy and sell “shares” of actors, directors, upcoming films, and film-related options. The difference is that where the HSX uses virtual money, CE will turn the game into a real casino using real dollars.

On April 21, Cantor Exchange reported that it had just received regulatory approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which oversees futures exchanges. “This is a significant step forward in achieving our ultimate goal,” it said in a letter, “which is to launch a market in Domestic Box Office Receipt Contracts.”

Having “contracts” out on movies and movie stars, however, has an ominous ring; and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) apparently doesn’t like the sound of it. The Cantor letter said that its tentative launch date of April 22 was being delayed because the MPAA and others “raised concerns about the economic purpose of this market and its usefulness as a hedging vehicle.”

The legitimate hedgers, the moviemakers and equity holders with a real financial interest to protect, don’t want it. But Cantor is pushing forward, because gambling is big business and there are vast sums of money to be made.

Critics are worried that the new exchange will turn Hollywood into another derivatives casino, vulnerable to insider trading. Even if traders aren’t hiding behind bushes waiting to trip up the stars, the exchange could create bizarre incentives for moviemakers to manipulate and distort the market for their own products, perhaps intentionally sabotaging movies they know are losers.

The Derivative Craze

A“derivative” market is one that is “derived” from an underlying asset, but participants don’t have to own the asset to play. Like gamblers at a race track, they can bet without owning a horse. Derivatives have now become a $605 trillion industry, about ten times the gross domestic product of all the countries of the world combined. This money is not contributing capital to businesses, helping the economy to grow. Rather, it is being diverted into wagers. Money is made by taking it from someone else.

Worse, half the wagers are negative: the players want the thing to fail. Warren Buffet called derivatives “financial weapons of mass destruction.” By massively short selling a stock or a currency, speculators can actually force the price down. Derivatives can be used to sabotage not only businesses but whole economies. Derivatives have been blamed for such economic disasters as the collapse of Japan’s stock market in 1987, the Asian crisis of 1998, and the recent collapse of Greece.

Gaming the Hollywood Game

Max Keiser, who founded CE’s virtual forerunner HSX in the 1990s, has firsthand knowledge of how the Hollywood exchange can be abused. When he was CEO of HSX, he says, he came under pressure from fellow board members to give in to studio heads who were offering cash and other inducements to manipulate the prices of projects, either up (to legitimize more marketing dollars) or down (to sabotage competing projects). “These guys, including my own board of directors,” he says, “could not tell the difference between marketing and market manipulation.”

Whether a movie’s stock price rises or falls is considered to be a predictor of the movie’s future success; but Keiser warns that today, the prediction value of market pricing is largely a hoax. Traders using sophisticated computer programs have learned how to manipulate prices, and market rigging has become institutionalized.

“The only difference between the new box office futures contracts being manipulated and blowing up,” he says, “and stocks in companies like Lehman Brothers being manipulated and blowing up, is that people losing their money can imagine getting screwed by Scarlett Johansson instead of Dick Fuld.”

Keiser predicts that his altered HSX computer technology, if approved by the CFTC for use in a real-money exchange, will produce an insider trader’s paradise, with Hollywood going the way of Enron and Lehman Brothers in two years or less.

“But this is what rigged market capitalism is all about,” he says. “It’s not economics really. It’s arson. They bet against a company or a country and then burn it down.”


Ellen Brown

Ellen Brown developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her eleven books include Forbidden Medicine, Nature's Pharmacy (co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker), and The Key to Ultimate Health (co-authored with Dr. Richard Hansen). Her websites are www.webofdebt.com and www.ellenbrown.com, and www.public-banking.com.

Ms. Brown's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on May 3, 2010.
 

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