Saturday, May 18, 2013

President Barack Obama and JP Morgan partnering for another ASSAULT on the American People

OBAMA-CLINTONomics: the never end war on the American middle-class. But we still get the tax bills for the looting of their Wall Street cronies and their bailouts and billions for Mexico’s welfare state in our borders.
While the wealth of the rich is growing at a breakneck pace, there is a stratification of growth within the super wealthy, skewed towards the very top.
In 2014, those with over $100 million in private wealth saw their wealth increase 11 percent in one year alone. Collectively, these households owned $10 trillion in 2014, 6 percent of the world’s private wealth. According to the report, “This top segment is expected to be the fastest growing, in both the number of households and total wealth.” They are expected to see 12 percent compound growth on their wealth in the next five years.
In 2014 the Russell Sage Foundation found that between 2003 and 2013, the median household net worth of those in the United States fell from $87,992 to $56,335—a drop of 36 percent. While the rich also saw their wealth drop during the recession, they are more than making that money back. Between 2009 and 2012, 95 percent of all the income gains in the US went to the top 1 percent. This is the most distorted post-recession income gain on record.


no one knows how to profiteer off the american people more than obama and his criminal banksters!

obama and his crony banksters are swimming in bailouts, corporate welfare and profits… their crimes are soaring also!

"Will California Attorney General Kamala Harris hang tough in her new lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase, the first to target individual bankers accused of defrauding the public? If so, it would be the first time in five years that executives at a major bank have personally paid a price for their misdeeds."

"I'm not here to punish my crony bankster donors." Barack Obama, State of the Bankster Looted Nation.

“But as the Federal Reserve attempts to lower borrowing costs for everyone from households and small businesses to large corporations and Wall Street banks, student borrowers have not been able to benefit.”

 there’s no one more closely tied to criminal banksters JPMorgan than their boy obama!

The Education Department's collection efforts are aided by loan default specialists, including NCO Group Inc., a company owned by JPMorgan... WHO'D A GUE$$ED???

Obama Student Loan Policy Reaping $51 Billion Profit


The Obama administration is forecast to turn a record $51 billion profit this year from student loan borrowers, a sum greater than the earnings of the nation's most profitable companies and roughly equal to the combined net income of the four largest U.S. banks by assets.

Figures made public Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office show that the nonpartisan agency increased its 2013 fiscal year profit forecast for the Department of Education by 43 percent to $50.6 billion from its February estimate of $35.5 billion.

Exxon Mobil Corp., the nation's most profitable company, reported $44.9 billion in net income last year. Apple Inc. recorded a $41.7 billion profit in its 2012 fiscal year, which ended in September, while Chevron Corp. reported $26.2 billion in earnings last year. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo reported a combined $51.9 billion in profit last year.

The estimated increase in the Education Department's earnings from student borrowers and their families may cause a political firestorm in Washington, where members of Congress and Obama administration officials thus far have appeared content to allow students to line government coffers.

The Education Department has generated nearly $120 billion in profit off student borrowers over the last five fiscal years, budget documents show, thanks to record relative interest rates on loans as well as the agency's aggressive efforts to collect defaulted debt. Representatives of the Education Department and Congressional Budget Office could not be reached for comment after normal business hours.

The new profit prediction comes as Washington policymakers increasingly focus on soaring student debt levels and the record relative interest rates that borrowers pay as a potential impediment to economic growth. Regulators and officials at agencies that include the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Reserve Bank of New York have all warned that student borrowing may dampen consumption, depress the economy, limit credit creation or pose a threat to financial stability.

At $1.1 trillion, student debt eclipses all other forms of household debt, except for home mortgages. It's also the only kind of consumer debt that has increased since the onset of the financial crisis, according to the New York Fed. Officials in Washington are worried that overly indebted student borrowers are unable to save enough to purchase a home, take out loans for new cars, start a business or save enough for their retirement.

Policymakers also are worried about the effect that high interest rates on outstanding student debt may have on the broader economy. Congress sets interest rates on federal student loans, with rates fixed on the majority of loans at 6.8 and 7.9 percent.

But as the Federal Reserve attempts to lower borrowing costs for everyone from households and small businesses to large corporations and Wall Street banks, student borrowers have not been able to benefit.

Compared to a benchmark interest rate -- what the U.S. government pays to borrow for 10 years -- student borrowers have never paid more, increasing the burden of their student debt as wage increases and yields on investments and bank accounts fail to keep up with the relative increase in student loan interest payments.

President Barack Obama recently asked Congress to tie federal student loan interest rates to the U.S. government's borrowing costs. In a possible sign of congressional intent, leading Democratic senators on Tuesday proposed legislation that would keep existing interest rates on some student loans for the neediest households fixed at 3.4 percent, rather than allowing them to revert back to their original 6.8 percent rate.

The legislation, dubbed the "Student Loan Affordability Act" and proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), aims to help a small subset of future student borrowers who take out loans over the next two years. The bill does nothing for existing student debtors.

"Today's figures from the CBO underscore the urgent need for Congress to prevent the July 1 interest rate hike and address the crushing debt placed on students," said Tiffany Edwards, spokeswoman for Democrats on the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Rohit Chopra, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official overseeing the regulator's student debt efforts, has warned policymakers to not focus solely on future borrowers.

“The whole student loan problem is a problem that should be of deep concern to this body,” said Richard Cordray, CFPB director, during testimony last month before the Senate Banking Committee. “These are young people that we should care a great deal about.”

“They’re the ones with the ambition, aspirations and dreams, and they're getting saddled with debt that they don't understand,” Cordray said of student borrowers. “It's holding them back and it's making them unable to rise and succeed and become leaders in our society.”

He added: “It's a significant problem and we're going to be doing everything that we can to address it at the bureau.”

The CFPB has been focusing on helping existing borrowers refinance high-rate debt or modify the terms of their loans. In a report earlier this month, the CFPB lamented that borrowers are unable to refinance their obligations after they have graduated from college and secured well-paying jobs.

"Corporate entities, homeowners, and many others have been able to refinance debt at quite low rates, and student loan borrowers are wondering why they can't do the same," Chopra said.

The CFPB suggests that increased concentration in the student loan market may inhibit refinancings and debt workouts. Lenders and the Education Department profit when borrowers pay higher rates than they otherwise would in a normally-functioning market.

Unlike traditional lenders, though, the Education Department's profits are barely dented by loan defaults. For loans made in 2013 that eventually default, the department estimates it will recover between 76 cents and 82 cents on the dollar. Bankruptcy rarely discharges student debt.

The Education Department's collection efforts are aided by loan default specialists, including NCO Group Inc., a company owned by JPMorgan



“Records show that four out of Obama's top five contributors are employees of financial industry giants - Goldman Sachs ($571,330), UBS AG ($364,806), JPMorgan Chase ($362,207) and Citigroup ($358,054).”

Headline: California lawsuit alleges illegal collection practices by JPMorgan Chase

Will Bankers at JPMorgan Chase Finally Pay for Their Misdeeds?

Posted: 05/11/2013

Will California Attorney General Kamala Harris hang tough in her new lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase, the first to target individual bankers accused of defrauding the public? If so, it would be the first time in five years that executives at a major bank have personally paid a price for their misdeeds.

Weekend at Jamie's

Recent revelations have shown the world that JPMorgan Chase comes as close as any institution in America to embodying all this is corrupt, contemptible, and criminal about today's megabanks.  This is gratifying, at least on a personal level, since that was not a popular position when we first started writing about JPM and CEO Jamie Dimon a few years back. In those days Dimon was help up as the "good banker" by the president and the press. His institution was considered well-managed and ethical by some of the more shallow members of the popular press, despite the plethora of scandals and crimes like the Alabama bribery case.

Since then we've had a variety of Chase revelations: the "Burger King kids" details behind its massive foreclosure fraud; its confessed criminal mistreatment of active duty military personnel; its deeds in fraudulently propping up a failed mortgage lender (it was like a financial Weekend at Bernie's); and (speaking of "Bernies") its negligence (at best) in the handling of the fraudulent Madoff accounts, which should have triggered all sorts of red-flag warnings.

Now there's the London Whale scandal and what appears to be a subsequent case of investor deception.

The bank wound up paying a staggering $16 billion in fines and settlements over a four-year period, more than 12 percent of its net income during that time.

The Scandal of Our Time

An ethically healthy society would never have lionized a CEO like Jamie Dimon or an institution like JPMorgan Chase. That's why we've called it "the scandal of our time." What explains Dimon's inability to stem the lawbreaking and correct his organization's broken ethical system? The most generous interpretation is that he's an incompetent manager -- so incompetent that, even after numerous suits, revelations, and settlements, "Jamie didn't know" about all the illegal and unethical behavior that continued unabated in his institution.

Needless to say, there are more plausible explanations.

And yet, in those cases where the bank has been called to account with fines and settlements, it has been shareholders and not the wrongdoing bankers themselves,who have paid cost. Ironically, that even happens when the shareholders themselves are the ones who were defrauded. That's why we say that bank fraud is the only crime on Earth in which the victims make restitution on behalf of the wrongdoers.

Is this ugly pattern finally changing?

Meet the Does

Blogger and finance expert Yves Smith thinks so. California Attorney General Kamala Harris is suing JPMorgan Chase and individual bankers (named as "Does 1 through 100") for "commit(ting) debt collection abuses" against Chase credit card holders, "flooding California's courts with... collection lawsuits based on patently insufficient evidence."

The Harris suit calls on the Court to assess $2,500 against each defendant for each violation of "Business and Professions Code section 17200," and an additional $2,500 penalty for each violation perpetrated against a senior citizen or disabled person.

That may not sound like a lot of money for a banker but, as Smith points out, there are more than 100,000 potential violations. Smith writes: "If (Harris) can get the individuals who were supervising the robosigning operations (better yet, the C level execs ultimately responsible) and the complicit law firms, she might bankrupt some well-placed people. This could be extremely entertaining." Indeed. In fact, I'll buy the popcorn.

Walking the Walk

Fro Yves Smith:

"Now Harris has been widely depicted as an opportunist. But she's kicking up more dirt on the banking front right now than any other official ... This case has enough headline value that Harris might go a few rounds before settling. JP Morgan is known for throwing vast amounts of lawyers at opponents to bury them in legal costs and busywork, so this case, sadly, is unlikely to go to trial. But if she can get the goods on the right sort of DOES, she might make some individuals pay in a serious way, which would have far more deterrent effect.

Adds Smith: "If nothing else, we should applaud what she's so far and press her to keep going."

I generally agree with all of the above. But some of us have been burned by even the most cautious cheerleading for seemingly promising Wall Street investigations and lawsuits.  That's especially been true when the actions in question are being conducted by elected officials with any sort of connection to the Obama White House, an institution which has become synonymous with efforts to protect bankers and restrict their punishment to the merely symbolic. 

Attorney General Harris is considered close to the president. She's undoubtedly being either cajoled or pressured (or both) to cave on this issue.

Reaching Out

So I'm going to emphasize the words "press her" in Smith's last sentence.  If Harris is determined to see this through, her suit is potentially the kind of sea change in banker law enforcement we've been waiting for. But that means she'll need emphatic expressions of support to strengthen her resolve (and to explain to the Administration why she can't and won't back down).

And if this is merely another publicity stunt, she needs to know that a choreographed cave-in will be very poorly received by her constituents.

Harris therefore deserves strong expressions of support, along with statements that citizens expect her to see this action through -- at least far enough to ensure that the malefactors involved pay some personal penalty for their misdeeds.

(Contact information for Kamala Harris, Attorney General for the State of California, can be found here.)

Headline: California lawsuit alleges illegal collection practices by JPMorgan Chase



“The response of the administration was to rush to the defense of the banks. Even before coming to power, Obama expressed his unconditional support for the bailouts, which he subsequently expanded. He assembled an administration dominated by the interests of finance capital, symbolized by economic adviser Lawrence Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.”


“Records show that four out of Obama's top five contributors are employees of financial industry giants - Goldman Sachs ($571,330), UBS AG ($364,806), JPMorgan Chase ($362,207) and Citigroup ($358,054).”


“The response of the administration was to rush to the defense of the banks. Even before coming to power, Obama expressed his unconditional support for the bailouts, which he subsequently expanded. He assembled an administration dominated by the interests of finance capital, symbolized by economic adviser Lawrence Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.”

CRONY KING OBAMA: CURL: The Obamas live the 1 percent life


Records show that four out of Obama's top five contributors are employees of financial industry giants - Goldman Sachs ($571,330), UBS AG ($364,806), JPMorgan Chase ($362,207) and Citigroup ($358,054). 

“Barack Obama's favorite banker faces losses of $2 billion and possibly more -- all because of the complex, now-you-see-it-now-you-don't trading in exotic financial instruments that he has so ardently lobbied Congress not to regulate.”

 Is JPMorgan's Loss a Canary in a Coal Mine?

Posted: 05/16/2012 4:49 pm

That sound of shattered glass you've been hearing is the iconic portrait of Jamie Dimon splintering as it hits the floor of JPMorgan Chase. As the Good Book says, "Pride goeth before a fall," and the sleek, silver-haired, too-smart-for-his-own-good CEO of America's largest bank has been turning every television show within reach into a confessional booth. Barack Obama's favorite banker faces losses of $2 billion and possibly more -- all because of the complex, now-you-see-it-now-you-don't trading in exotic financial instruments that he has so ardently lobbied Congress not to regulate.

Once again, doing God's work -- that is, betting huge sums of money with depositor funds knowing that you are too big to fail and can count on taxpayers riding to your rescue if your avarice threatens to take the country down -- has lost some of its luster. The jewels in Dimon's crown sparkle with a little less grandiosity than a few days ago, when he ridiculed Paul Volcker's ideas for keeping Wall Street honest as "infantile."

To find out more about what this all means, I turned to Simon Johnson, once chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and now a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He and his colleague James Kwak founded the now-indispensable website They co-authored the bestselling book 13 Bankers and a most recent book, White House Burning, an account every citizen should read to understand how the national deficit affects our future.

Bill Moyers: If Chase began to collapse because of risky betting, would the government be forced to step in again?

Simon Johnson: Absolutely, Bill. JPMorgan Chase is too big to fail. Hopefully in the future we can move away from this system, but right now it is too big. It's about a $2.5 trillion dollar bank in terms of total assets. That's roughly 20 percent of the U.S. economy, comparing their assets to our GDP. That's huge. If that bank were to collapse -- I'm not saying it will -- but if it were to collapse, it would be a shock to the economy bigger than that of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and as a result, they would be protected by the Federal Reserve. They are exactly what's known as too big to fail.

Moyers: I was just looking at an interview I did with you in February of 2009, soon after the collapse of 2008 and you said, and I'm quoting, "The signs that I see... the body language, the words, the op-eds, the testimony, the way these bankers are treated by certain congressional committees, it makes me feel very worried. I have a feeling in my stomach that is what I had in other countries, much poorer countries, countries that were headed into really difficult economic situations. When there's a small group of people who got you into a disaster and who are still powerful, you know you need to come in and break that power and you can't. You're stuck." How do you feel about that insight now?

Johnson: I'm still nervous, and I think that the losses that JPMorgan reported -- that CEO Jamie Dimon reported -- and the way in which they're presented, the fact that they're surprised by it and the fact that they didn't know they were taking these kinds of risks, the fact that they lost so much money in a relatively benign moment compared to what we've seen in the past and what we're likely to see in the future -- all of this suggests that we are absolutely on the path towards another financial crisis of the same order of magnitude as the last one.

Moyers: Should Jamie Dimon resign? I ask that because as you know and as we've discussed, Chase and other huge banks have been using their enormous wealth for years to, in effect, buy off our politicians and regulators. Chase just had to pay up almost three quarters of a billion dollars in settlements and surrendered fees to settle one case alone, that of bribery and corruption in Jefferson County, Alabama. It's also paid out billions of dollars to settle other cases of perjury, forgery, fraud and sale of unregistered securities. And these charges were for actions that took place while Mr. Dimon was the CEO. Should he resign?

Johnson: I think, Bill, there should be an independent investigation into how JPMorgan operates both with regard to these losses and with regard to all of the problems that you just identified. This investigation should be conducted separate from the board of directors. Remember that the shareholders and the board of directors absolutely have an incentive to keep JPMorgan Chase as a too-big-to-fail bank. But because it is that kind of bank, its downside risk is taken by the Federal Reserve, by the taxpayer, by the broader economy and all citizens. We need to have an independent, detailed, specific investigation to establish who knew what when and what kind of wrongdoing management was engaged in. On the basis of that, we'll see what we'll see and who should have to resign.

Moyers: Dimon is also on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which, as everyone knows is supposed to regulate JPMorgan. What in the world are bankers doing on the Fed board, regulating themselves?

Johnson: This is a terrible situation, Bill. It goes back to the origins, the political compromise at the very beginning of the Federal Reserve system about a hundred years ago. The bankers were very powerful back then, also, and they got a Federal Reserve system in which they had a lot of representation. Some of that has eroded over time because of previous abuses, but you're absolutely right, the prominent bankers, including most notably, Jamie Dimon, are members of the board of the New York Federal Reserve, a key element in the Federal Reserve system. And he should, under these circumstances, absolutely step down from that role. It's completely inappropriate to have such a big bank represented in this fashion. The New York Fed claims there's no impropriety, there's no wrong doing and he doesn't involve himself in supervision and so on and so forth. Perhaps, but why does Mr. Dimon, a very busy man, take time out of his day to be on the board of the New York fed? He is getting something from this. It's a trade, just like everything else on Wall Street.

Moyers: He dismissed criticism of his dual role yesterday by downplaying the role of the Fed board. He said it's more like an "advisory group than anything else." I had to check my hearing aid to see if I'd heard that correctly.

Johnson: Well, I think he is advising them on lots of things. He also, of course, meets with some regularity with top Treasury officials, and some reports say that he meets with President Obama with some regularity. The political access and connections of Mr. Dimon are second to none. One of his senior executives was until recently chief of staff in the White House, if you can believe that. I really think this has gone far enough. Under these kinds of circumstances with this amount of loss of control over risk management, what we need to have is Mr. Dimon step down from the New York Federal Reserve Board.

Moyers: He told shareholders at their annual meeting Tuesday -- they were meeting in Tampa, Florida -- that these were "self-inflicted mistakes" that "should never have happened." Does that seem reasonable to you?

Johnson: Well, it's all very odd, Bill, and I've talked to as many experts as I can find who are at all informed about what JPMorgan was doing and how they were doing it and nobody really understands the true picture. That's why we need an independent investigation to establish -- was this an isolated incident or, more likely, the breakdown of a system of controlling and managing risks. Keep in mind that JPMorgan is widely regarded to be the best in the business at risk management, as it is called on Wall Street. And if they can't do this in a relatively benign moment when things are not so very bad around the world, what is going to happen to them and to other banks when something really dramatic happens, for example, in Europe in the eurozone?

Moyers: Some of his supporters are claiming that only the bank has lost on this and that there's absolutely no chance that the loss could have threatened the stability of the banking system as happened in 2008. What do you say again to that?

Johnson: I say this is the canary in the coal mine. This tells you that something is fundamentally wrong with the way banks measure, manage and control their risks. They don't have enough equity funding in their business. They like to have a little bit of equity and a lot of debt. They get paid based on return on equity, unadjusted for risk. If things go well, they get the upside. If things go badly, the downside is someone else's problem. And that someone else is you and me, Bill. It goes to the Federal Reserve, but not only, it goes to the Treasury, it goes to the debt.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the increase in debt relative to GDP due to the last crisis will end up being 50 percent of GDP, call that $7 trillion dollars, $7.5 trillion dollars in today's money. That's extraordinary. It's an enormous shock to our fiscal accounts and to our ability to pay pensions and keep the healthcare system running in the future. For what? What did we get from that? Absolutely nothing. The bankers got some billions in extra pay, we get trillions in extra debt. It's unfair, it's inefficient, it's unconscionable, and it needs to stop.

Moyers: Wasn't part of the risk that Dimon took with taxpayer guaranteed deposits? I mean, if I had money at JPMorgan Chase, wouldn't some of my money have been used to take this risk?

Johnson: Again, we don't know the exact details, but news reports do suggest that yes, they were gambling with federally insured deposits, which just really puts the icing on the cake here.

Moyers: Do we know yet what is Dimon's culpability? Is it conceivable to you that a risk this big would have been incurred without his approval?

Johnson: It seems very strange and quite a stretch. And he did tell investors, when he reported on first quarter earnings in April, that he was aware of the situation, aware of the trade -- he called it a "tempest in a teacup," and, therefore, not something to worry about.

Moyers: He's been Wall Street's point man in their campaign against tighter regulation of derivatives and proprietary trading. Were derivatives at the heart of this gamble?

Johnson: Yes, according to reliable reports, this was a so-called "hedging" strategy that turned out to be no more than a gamble, but the people involved perhaps didn't understand that or maybe they understood it and covered it up. It was absolutely about a bet on extremely complex derivatives and the interesting question is who failed to understand exactly what they were getting into. And how did Jamie Dimon, who has a reputation that he burnishes more than anybody else for being the number one expert risk manager in the world -- how did he miss this one?

Moyers:I've been reading a lot of stories today about members of the House, Republicans in particular, saying this doesn't change their opinion at all that we've got to still diminish regulation. What do you think about that?

Johnson: I think that it is a recipe for disaster. Look, deregulating or not regulating during the boom is exactly how you get into bailouts in the bust. The goal should be to make all the banks small enough and simple enough to fail. End the government subsidies here. And when I talk to people on the intellectual right, Bill, they get this, as do people on the intellectual left. The problem is, the political right largely doesn't want to go there because of the donations. I'm afraid some people, not all, but some people on the political left don't want to go there either.

Moyers: The Washington Post reported that the Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into JPMorgan's trading loss. Have you spotted -- and I know this is sensitive -- but have you spotted anything in the story so far that suggests the possibility of criminality? Dodd-Frank is not in existence yet, so where would any possibility of criminality come from?

Johnson: Well Dodd-Frank is in existence but the rules have not been written and therefore not implemented. So yes, it is hard to violate those rules in their current state. And many of those rules, by the way, violation would be a civil penalty, not a criminal penalty. If you violate a securities law -- if you've mislead investors, if there was material adverse information that was not disclosed in an appropriate and timely manner -- that's a very serious offence traditionally.

I have to say that the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have not been very good at enforcing securities law in recent years, including and specifically since the financial crisis. I am skeptical that this will change. But if they have an investigation that reveals all of the details of what happened and how it happened, that would be extremely informative and show us, I believe, that the risk management approach and attitudes on Wall Street are deeply flawed and leading us towards a big crisis.

Moyers: So what are people to do, Simon? What can people do now in response to this?

Johnson: Well, I think you have to look for politicians who are proposing solutions, and look on the right and on the left. I see Elizabeth Warren, running for the Senate in Massachusetts, who is saying we should bring back Glass-Steagall to separate commercial banking from investment banking. I see Tom Hoenig, who is not a politician, he's a regulator, he's the former president of the Kansas City Fed, and he's now one of the top two people at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the FDIC. He is saying that big banks should no longer have trading desks. That's the same sort of idea that Elizabeth Warren is expressing. We need a lot more people to focus on this and to make this an issue for the elections.

And I would say in this context, Bill, it's very important not to be distracted. I understand for example, Speaker Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, is proposing to have another conflict over the debt ceiling in the near future. This is the politics of distraction. This is refusing to recognize that a huge part of our fiscal problems today and in the future are due to these risks within the financial system that are allowed because the people running the biggest banks hand out massive campaign contributions across the political spectrum.

Moyers: Are you saying that this financial crisis, so-called, is at heart a political crisis?

Johnson: Yes, exactly. I think that a few people, particularly in and around the financial system, have become too powerful. They were allowed to take a lot of risk, and they did massive damage to the economy -- more than eight million jobs lost. We're still struggling to get back anywhere close to employment levels where we were before 2008. And they've done massive damage to the budget. This damage to the budget is long lasting; it undermines the budget when we need it to be stronger because the society is aging. We need to support Social Security and support Medicare on a fair basis. We need to restore and rebuild revenue, revenue that was absolutely devastated by the financial crisis. People need to understand the link between what the banks did and the budget. And too many people fail to do that. "Oh, it's too complicated. I don't want to understand the details, I don't want to spend time with it." That's a mistake, a very big mistake. You're playing into the hands of a few powerful people in the society who want private benefit and social loss.

Watch Moyers & Company weekly on public television. See more web-only features like this at

Why hasn’t Obama been impeached? His violations of our borders laws, inducing illegals to vote, sabotage of jobs for Americans, connections to criminal banksters…. WHAT DOES IT TAKE?



For much of Obama’s tenure, Jamie Dimon was known as the White House’s “favorite banker.” According to White House logs, Dimon visited the White House at least 18 times, often to talk to his former subordinate at JPMorgan, William Daley, who had been named White House chief of staff by Obama after the Democratic rout in the 2010 elections.


The JPMorgan scandal also throws into relief the government’s failure to prosecute those responsible for the 2008 financial meltdown. Despite overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing and criminality uncovered by two federal investigations last year, those responsible have been shielded from prosecution.

Records show that four out of Obama's top five contributors are employees of financial industry giants - Goldman Sachs ($571,330), UBS AG ($364,806), JPMorgan Chase ($362,207) and Citigroup ($358,054).

The JPMorgan debacle

15 May 2012

The economic and political fallout from JPMorgan Chase’s sudden announcement last Thursday night that it lost more than $2 billion from speculative bets on credit derivatives continued to grow on Monday. The biggest US bank announced the forced retirement of Ina Drew, who headed up the bank’s London-based Chief Investment Office, which placed huge bets on the creditworthiness of a collection of US corporations. Other top executives and traders are expected to be sacked or demoted.

The bank’s shares fell another 3.2 percent, bringing its two-day market capitalization loss to nearly $19 billion. The Wall Street Journal reported that JPMorgan was prepared for a total loss of more than $4 billion over the next year from its soured stake in credit default swaps—the same investment vehicle that played a central role in the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the government bailout of insurance giant American International Group (AIG) in September of 2008.

In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program on Sunday, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon sought to present the loss as an innocent mistake, resulting from “errors, sloppiness and bad judgment.” Only a month ago, Dimon, who has led the public campaign by Wall Street against even the mildest restrictions on speculative banking practices, dismissed warnings over the massive bets being made by his Chief Investment Office as “a complete tempest in a teapot.”

The scale of the loss and the denials that preceded it raise the likelihood that banking rules and laws against investor fraud and deception were breached.

President Obama, however, rushed to the defense of JPMorgan and Dimon, declaring on a daytime television talk show Monday that JPMorgan was “one of the best managed banks there is” and Dimon was “one of the smartest bankers we got.” At the same time he cited the bank’s loss as a vindication of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill that he signed into law in July of 2010. “This is why we passed Wall Street reform,” he said.

In fact, the JPMorgan debacle demonstrates that nearly four years after the Wall Street crash nothing has changed for the financial aristocracy. No measures have been taken to rein in the banks, which received trillions of dollars in government handouts, guarantees and cheap loans. The same forms of speculation and outright swindling that led to the financial meltdown and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression continue unabated.

The big banks, such as JPMorgan, have increased their stranglehold over the US economy. They have recorded bumper profits by withholding credit from consumers and small businesses, keeping unemployment high, while speculating on credit default swaps and other exotic financial instruments that drain resources from the real economy. On this basis, bank executives and traders, including those at bailed-out institutions, have continued to rake in eight-figure compensation packages. Last year, Ina Drew made $14 million, and Jamie Dimon took in $26 million.

The Dodd-Frank law trumpeted by Obama is a fraud, an attempt to give the appearance of financial reform while enabling the banks to continue their parasitic and criminal activities. A case in point is the so-called Volcker Rule, named after the former chairman of the Federal Reserve and economic adviser to the Obama White House, Paul Volcker.

The rule, incorporated into the Dodd-Frank Act and supposedly one of its most daring provisions, ostensibly bars proprietary trading—speculation by a bank on its own account—by commercial banks whose consumer deposits are guaranteed by the federal government. The idea is to prevent government-insured banks from speculating with depositors’ money.

But the regulation as drafted by federal regulators—under pressure from the Federal Reserve and Obama’s treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, as well as the banks—would actually allow the type of speculative bet made by JPMorgan in the guise of a “hedge” to offset risk in the bank’s overall investment portfolio.

The Volcker Rule, whose precise form is yet to be announced, will do nothing to halt speculation by government-backed banks using small depositors’ money.

The JPMorgan scandal also throws into relief the government’s failure to prosecute those responsible for the 2008 financial meltdown. Despite overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing and criminality uncovered by two federal investigations last year, those responsible have been shielded from prosecution.

When Iowa Senator Charles Grassley submitted a letter to the Justice Department earlier this year asking how many bank executives had been prosecuted in response to the financial crisis, the Justice Department replied it did not know because it was not keeping a list.

According to a study by Syracuse University, however, federal financial fraud prosecutions have fallen to 20-year lows under the Obama administration, and are down 39 percent since 2003. Under Obama, the number of financial fraud cases has fallen to one-third the level of the Clinton administration.

These facts demonstrate the de facto dictatorship exercised by the financial aristocracy over the entire political system and both major parties. The Obama administration, in particular, is an instrument of the most powerful financial institutions. It has focused its efforts on protecting and increasing the wealth of the privileged elite while utilizing the crisis to permanently slash the wages and living standards of the working class.

For much of Obama’s tenure, Jamie Dimon was known as the White House’s “favorite banker.” According to White House logs, Dimon visited the White House at least 18 times, often to talk to his former subordinate at JPMorgan, William Daley, who had been named White House chief of staff by Obama after the Democratic rout in the 2010 elections.

The incestuous and corrupt relations between Wall Street, the Obama administration and the entire political system underscore the necessity for the working class to build its own mass socialist movement to fight for its interests in opposition to the ruling elite.

The bankers responsible for the financial crisis, including Dimon and his co-conspirators, must be held criminally liable for their lawlessness and held accountable for the social suffering that has resulted from their actions. The ill-gotten trillions accumulated by the banks must be expropriated, with full protection for small depositors and small businesses, and used to provide decent jobs, housing, health care and education for all.

There is no way to rein in the banks and end their socially destructive activities within the framework of the capitalist system. The only way to stop the fraud and parasitism that go on every day on Wall Street is to nationalize the banks and run them as democratically controlled public utilities.

Andre Damon and Barry Grey



Records show that four out of Obama's top five contributors are employees of financial industry giants - Goldman Sachs ($571,330), UBS AG ($364,806), JPMorgan Chase ($362,207) and Citigroup ($358,054).

Obama: JPMorgan Is 'One of the Best-Managed Banks'...

By Mary Bruce

Obama: JPMorgan Is 'One of the …

Lou Rocco / ABC News

Just hours after a top JPMorgan Chase executive retired in the wake of a stunning $2 billion trading loss, President Obama told the hosts of ABC's "The View" that the bank's risky bets exemplified the need for Wall Street reform.

"JPMorgan is one of the best managed banks there is. Jamie Dimon, the head of it, is one of the smartest bankers we got and they still lost $2 billion and counting," the president said. "We don't know all the details. It's going to be investigated, but this is why we passed Wall Street reform."

The full interview airs on "The View" Tuesday on ABC at 11 a.m. ET

While a powerhouse like JPMorgan might be able to weather an error that the bank's own CEO called "egregious," the president questioned what might happen to smaller institutions in similar situations.

"This is one of the best managed banks. You could have a bank that isn't as strong, isn't as profitable managing those same bets and we might have had to step in," he said. "That's why Wall Street reform is so important."

While touting his efforts to rein in the Wall Street behavior that led to the massive taxpayer bailout of the banks following the financial crisis, he noted his administration is still fighting for tough reform.

Pivoting to November, the president said Wall Street reform is one of the many critical areas where he and his Republican challenger, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, have a different vision for the future.

The president's full interview airs Tuesday on "The View." Tune into "World News with Diane Sawyer" tonight for more.

Nicole Gelinas

It’s Not About Jamie Dimon
We should look to markets, not men, to govern the economy.
14 May 2012

On Meet the Press yesterday, JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon epitomized what’s wrong with America’s approach to the financial crisis. The American media and political elite remain obsessed with personalities, looking for heroes and villains instead of focusing on what we really need: the dispassionate rule of law that would allow free markets to flourish. Meet the Press is for politicians, and Dimon performed like a model one. He spoke in short sentences and apologized directly: “I was dead wrong,” he offered, for having made a “terrible, egregious mistake.” Specifically, last Thursday, JPMorgan announced a $2 billion trading loss on a derivatives bet.

Theoretically, anyway, such a loss should be a matter between the bank and investors, not TV fodder. Yet Dimon’s business—too-big-to-fail banking—is no ordinary business. Washington’s willingness to subsidize failure means that Dimon’s job is as much political risk management as financial risk management. Because JPMorgan depends on Uncle Sam’s backing, one of Dimon’s key constituencies is politicians and government regulators. And one way to charm regulators—and the voters who elect the politicians—is through a killer interview.

In October 2008, the Bush administration, not normally a fan of government expropriation, forced nine big banks, including Dimon’s, to accept $125 billion in TARP money. The banks were deemed so important that they had to take the money to protect them against failure, whether they wanted it or not. Since then, the banks and the government have stayed bound together. President Obama’s Dodd-Frank financial reform law, enacted two summers ago, has tied the two sides closer still. The problems that led to the financial crisis, remember, included investors’ perception—honed over two decades of smaller-scale bailouts—that big banks were too big to fail. Dodd-Frank has given such banks an official title: “systemically important financial institutions.”

Another problem that led to the financial crisis was that, over the years, politicians and regulators determined that banks had become so good at risk management that they no longer needed to abide by consistent rules—fixed limits on borrowing, for example, so that banks could fail without leaving behind so much unpaid debt that they endangered the economy. Instead, banks could largely do what their executives wanted, as long as regulators believed, on a case-by-case basis, that they knew what they were doing.

In the aftermath of the JPMorgan mess, politicians and reporters have been invoking the Dodd-Frank law’s “Volcker Rule.” Named after Paul Volcker, the Federal Reserve chairman from the Carter and Reagan eras, the rule prohibits banks whose customers benefit from taxpayer-backed deposit insurance from engaging in “proprietary trading,” or speculation. But the Volcker Rule isn’t a rule at all: it prohibits behavior that has no set definition. Twenty-two months after Dodd-Frank became law, regulators have delayed enforcing the rule because they still cannot figure out what proprietary trading really is. Consider how JPMorgan lost all that money: creating derivatives that let it sell billions of dollars’ worth of protection against the risk that some corporate securities would default. That sure doesn’t sound like a good idea. Banks, because they’re lenders, are already at risk if people and companies default in droves.

But does selling such synthetic “insurance” constitute proprietary trading? Michigan Senator Carl Levin, who helped draft the Volcker Rule language, says it does. Bank officials have argued that such behavior is hedging, which would be okay under Dodd-Frank.

Real rules could govern Wall Street, but politicians must give regulators the backing to create and enforce them. Rather than worry about the Volcker Rule, politicians and reporters should be focusing on derivatives rules. One reason that Washington had to bail out the financial system four years ago was that financial firms such as AIG had taken on virtually infinite risk through the derivatives markets. Through derivatives, AIG could “sell” protection against other companies’ defaults with almost no cash down. Lo and behold, that’s what JPMorgan Chase was doing, too. Regulators should demand that traders—whether big banks or tiny hedge funds—put a set amount of cash down behind such bets, curtailing the amount of potential unpaid debt in the financial system. Regulators should also require that traders execute such transactions on open clearinghouses and exchanges—so that markets can determine which bets are going well and which aren’t, and clearinghouses can demand more money from traders to cover their losses. Such rules empower market signals, not regulatory micromanagement, to control risk. If such rules were in place, it’s unlikely Dimon would have visited the White House 18 times in three years, as he would have had no way to manipulate a restriction that, after all, applied to everyone.

The best way to stop bailouts is to limit borrowing and demand transparency. When markets know that financial firms have put a cash cushion behind their bets—and where the risk behind such bets lies—they’re unlikely to pull their money out of the financial system en masse, necessitating a government rescue. The Volcker Rule, by contrast, adds no such protection against future taxpayer rescues; all it does is unleash regulators to debate, in private, the definitions of risk.

Dodd-Frank gave regulators the authority to impose real rules on derivatives, and the regulators have done so. But lobbyists demanded and secured exceptions, which could eventually prove the rule. With such loophole-ridden reform, America has hardly set a good example for Europe, which lags even further behind in enacting derivatives rules. In fact, JPMorgan Chase may have executed the derivatives deals from London because the bank perceived London as a looser environment. Moving this activity around the world so that financiers can play inconsistent rules against one another does nothing to help the struggling Western economies.

The media and the politicians, however, would rather discuss people than arcane issues like financial rules. Look at how politely—almost obsequiously—NBC’s David Gregory treated Dimon. Gregory asked Dimon: “Here you are, Jamie Dimon, you’ve got a sterling reputation. . . . How does a guy like you make this mistake? If this happened at JPMorgan Chase . . . what about all the other banks out there? If somebody else made a mistake like this, would we be again talking about too big to fail and taxpayer bailouts?” Then, when asking delicate questions about potential criminal liability, Gregory unconsciously switched from “you” to “the bank.” Lowly regulators will hardly be more willing to take on Dimon and his colleagues.

Focusing on one man represents bailout thinking. Policymakers continue to be distracted from the rules needed to protect the economy from the consequences—including corporate failure—of the bad decisions that individuals can make. Nearly four years after the financial crisis began, Washington seems to have learned almost nothing.



"In general, these are professional prognosticators," said Ritsch. "And they may be putting their money on the person they predict will win, not the candidate they hope will win."  

Shaping up to be the most corrupt
administration in American history:

  • Obama’s team: Not the “best of the Washington insiders,” as the liberal media style them, but rather, a dysfunctional and dangerous conglomerate of business-as-usual cronies and hacks
  • In the first two weeks alone of his infant administration, Obama had made no fewer than 17 exceptions to his “no-lobbyist” rule
  • Why the fact that the massive infusion of union dues into his campaign treasury didn’t trouble him in the least reveals Obama’s credibility as a reformer
  • The lack of unprecedented pace of withdrawals and botched appointments -- and how getting through the confirmation process was no guarantee of ethical cleanliness or competence, even as Obama’s cheerleaders were glorifying the Greatest Transition in World History
  • Inconsistency: How Obama, erstwhile critic of the campaign finance practice known as “bundling,” happily accepted more than $350,000 in bundled contributions from billionaire hedge-fund managers
  • How Obama broke his transparency pledge with the very first bill he signed into law -- helping make hostility to transparency is a running thread through Obama’s cabinet
  • Michelle Obama: Beneath the cultured pearls, sleeveless designer dresses, and eyelashes applied by her full-time makeup artist, is a hardball Chicago politico
  • Joe Biden: It’s not just that he lies, it’s that he lies so well that you think he really believes the stuff he makes up
  • Treasury Secretary Geithner: His ineptness and epic blundering -- including how he nearly caused the collapse of the dollar in international trade with a single remark
  • The appalling story of Technology Czar Vivek Kundra, the convicted shoplifter in charge of the entire federal government’s information security infrastructure
  • Obama’s “Porker of the Month” Transportation Secretary, Roy LaHood: An earmark-addicted influence peddler born and raised on the politics of pay-to-play
  • SEIU: Responsible for installing a cabal of hand-chosen officers who exploited their cash-infused fiefdoms for personal gain and presided over rigged elections -- in the process, becoming all that they had professed to stand against as representatives of the downtrodden worker
  • How Obama lied on his “Fight the Smears” campaign website when he claimed that he “never organized with ACORN”
  • ACORN: How the profound threat the group poses is not merely ideological or economic -- it’s electoral
  • ACORN’s own internal review of shady money transfers among its web of affiliates: How it underscores concerns that conservatives have long raised about the organization
  • Liar, liar, pantsuit on fire: How Hillary Clinton has already trampled upon her promise not to let her husband’s financial dealings sway her decisions as Secretary of State
  • How even a few principled progressives are finally beginning to question the cult of Obama -- even as Obama sycophants in the mainstream media continue to celebrate his “hipness” and “swagga”


Obamanomics: How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses


Editorial Reviews

Obama Is Making You Poorer—But Who’s Getting Rich?

Goldman Sachs, GE, Pfizer, the United Auto Workers—the same “special interests” Barack Obama was supposed to chase from the temple—are profiting handsomely from Obama’s Big Government policies that crush taxpayers, small businesses, and consumers. In Obamanomics, investigative reporter Timothy P. Carney digs up the dirt the mainstream media ignores and the White House wishes you wouldn’t see. Rather than Hope and Change, Obama is delivering corporate socialism to America, all while claiming he’s battling corporate America. It’s corporate welfare and regulatory robbery—it’s Obamanomics.

Congressman Ron Paul says, “Every libertarian and free-market conservative needs to read Obamanomics.” And Johan Goldberg, columnist and bestselling author says, “Obamanomics is conservative muckraking at its best and an indispensable field guide to the Obama years.”

If you’ve wondered what’s happening to America, as the federal government swallows up the financial sector, the auto industry, and healthcare, and enacts deficit exploding “stimulus packages,” this book makes it all clear—it’s a big scam. Ultimately, Obamanomics boils down to this: every time government gets bigger, somebody’s getting rich, and those somebodies are friends of Barack. This book names the names—and it will make your blood boil.

Obama Is Making You Poorer—But Who’s Getting Rich?
* The Great Health Care Scam—Obama’s backroom deals with drug companies spell corporate profits and more government control
* The Global Warming Hoax—Obama has bought off industries with a pork-filled bill that will drain your wallet for Al Gore’s agenda
* Obama and Wall Street—“Change” means more bailouts and a heavy Goldman Sachs presence in the West Wing (including Rahm Emanuel)
* Stimulating K Street—The largest spending bill in history gave pork to the well-connected and created a feeding frenzy for lobbyists
* How the GOP needs to change its tune—drastically—to battle Obamanomics

If you’ve wondered what’s happening to our country, as the federal government swallows up the financial sector, the auto industry, and healthcare, and enacts deficit exploding “stimulus packages” that create make-work government jobs, this book makes it all clear—it’s a big scam. Ultimately, Obamanomics boils down to this: every time government gets bigger, somebody’s getting rich, and those somebodies are friends of Barack. This book names the names—and it will make your blood boil.

Praise for Obamanomics

“The notion that ‘big business’ is on the side of the free market is one of progressivism’s most valuable myths. It allows them to demonize corporations by day and get in bed with them by night. Obamanomics is conservative muckraking at its best. It reveals how President Obama is exploiting the big business mythology to undermine the free market and stick it to entrepreneurs, taxpayers, and consumers. It’s an indispensable field guide to the Obama years.”
—Jonha Goldberg, LA Times columnist and best-selling author

“‘Every time government gets bigger, somebody’s getting rich.’ With this astute observation, Tim Carney begins his task of laying bare the Obama administration’s corporatist governing strategy, hidden behind the president’s populist veneer. This meticulously researched book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how Washington really works.”
—David Freddoso, best-selling author of The Case Against Barack Obama

“Every libertarian and free-market conservative who still believes that large corporations are trusted allies in the battle for economic liberty needs to read this book, as does every well-meaning liberal who believes that expansions of the welfare-regulatory state are done to benefit the common people.”
—Congressman Ron Paul

“It’s understandable for critics to condemn President Obama for his ‘socialism.’ But as Tim Carney shows, the real situation is at once more subtle and more sinister. Obamanomics favors big business while disproportionately punishing everyone else. So-called progressives are too clueless to notice, as usual, which is why we have Tim Carney and this book.”
—Thomas E. Woods, Jr., best-selling author of Meltdown and The Politically Incorrect Guideto American History

·         Hardcover: 256 pages
·         Publisher: Regnery Press (November 30, 2009)

·         Language: English

·         ISBN-10: 1596986123

·         ISBN-13: 978-1596986121



Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies

by Michelle Malkin
Editorial Reviews

In her shocking new book, Malkin digs deep into the records of President Obama's staff, revealing corrupt dealings, questionable pasts, and abuses of power throughout his administration.
From the Inside Flap

The era of hope and change is dead....and it only took six months in office to kill it.
Never has an administration taken office with more inflated expectations of turning Washington around. Never have a media-anointed American Idol and his entourage fallen so fast and hard. In her latest investigative tour de force, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Malkin delivers a powerful, damning, and comprehensive indictment of the culture of corruption that surrounds Team Obama's brazen tax evaders, Wall Street cronies, petty crooks, slum lords, and business-as-usual influence peddlers. In Culture of Corruption, Malkin reveals:
* Why nepotism beneficiaries First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are Team Obama's biggest liberal hypocrites--bashing the corporate world and influence-peddling industries from which they and their relatives have benefited mightily
* What secrets the ethics-deficient members of Obama's cabinet--including Hillary Clinton--are trying to hide

* Why the Obama White House has more power-hungry, unaccountable "czars" than any other administration
* How Team Obama's first one hundred days of appointments became a litany of embarrassments as would-be appointee after would-be appointee was exposed as a tax cheat or had to withdraw for other reasons

* How Obama's old ACORN and union cronies have squandered millions of taxpayer dollars and dues money to enrich themselves and expand their power

* How Obama's Wall Street money men and corporate lobbyists are ruining the economy and helping their friends In Culture of Corruption, Michelle Malkin lays bare the Obama administration's seamy underside that the liberal media would rather keep hidden.

           Publisher: Regnery Publishing (July 27, 2009)

           Language: English

           ISBN-10: 1596981091

           ISBN-13: 978-1596981096
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