In 2012, the Sentencing Project released a study that estimated that 5.85 million people would be ineligible to vote in the U. S. Presidential election that year because they had been convicted of a felony. In 22 states, felons lose their voting rights during incarceration, and for a set period of time thereafter. Usually, this includes while the individual is on parole and/or probation. Eleven states in the U. S. are more harsh. They deny voting rights to ex felons who have served their time in prison and have successfully completed parole and probation. If you’re a citizen of the United States and commit a felony, it’s a big deal. If you’re a Wall Street bank and commit a felony, it’s business as usual. In January 2014, JPMorgan Chase was charged with two felony counts by the U. S. Department of Justice for its involvement with Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme but given a deferred prosecution agreement, meaning if it kept out of trouble for two years, the government would dismiss the charges. The bank also agreed to pay $1.7 billion into a restitution fund for the victims of Madoff’s fraud. After reading the documents released by the Justice Department in connection with the settlement, the Los Angeles Times asked in a photo caption: ‘Bernie Madoff: Was he part of the JPMorgan ring, or was JPMorgan part of his ring?’ The Los Angeles Times had an excellent basis for asking that question. We took an in-depth look at the documents and exhibits released by both the Justice Department and the Trustee of the Madoff victims’ fund, Irving Picard, and found a labyrinthine series of frauds within frauds involving both Madoff and JPMorgan Chase. (See our article: JPMorgan and Madoff Were Facilitating Nesting Dolls-Style Frauds Within Frauds.)
While in Baltimore City, Maryland, death and despair are a few things that are plentiful as the region descends into chaos. Deindustrialization coupled with depopulation started in the 1960s stripping the city of economic wealth. Many don’t want to admit, the city is shrinking as their looking glass is clouded with Kevin Plank’s gentrification narrative. Wealth inequality in the area is some of the widest in the United States with more than 100,000 African Americans with zero dollars to their name, according to JPM. Baltimore is a skeleton of what it once was many decades ago when it had its industries. Now, 46,800 homes are vacant – almost 16% of the housing stock as citizens are either leaving the area or being pushed into multi-family complexes by the city. Neighborhoods are rotting away as the local economy crumbles giving way to a surge in homicides. Baltimore is on track for the worse year ever with a homicide rate the highest in the United States.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 22, 2017.
Just four weeks since The Dow crossed 22,000…but thanks to Goldman, Boeing, Caterpillar, 3M, and JPMorgan (accounting for over 500 Dow points), the mainstream media’s favorite index just topped 23,000 for the first time ever… *** With the Top 6 names driving 50% of the index’s move…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 17, 2017.
In the most bizarre news of the day, Bloomberg’s Hugh Son noticed that in a late Thursday filing, the board of JPMorgan approved a series of revisions to the bank’s by-laws, including a particularly notable one: a new section defining what constitutes a quorum in an emergency resulting from “an attack on the United States” or a ‘nuclear or atomic disaster.’ That scenario is listed among emergencies that – understandably – might make it hard to hold a normal meeting for board members of America’s largest bank. The clause can be activated not just in case of a nuclear disaster or World War III, but also in a variety of situations including “without limitation apparent terrorist activity or the imminent threat of such activity, chemical and biological attacks, natural disasters, or other hazards or causes commonly known as acts of God.” In short, JPMorgan’s Board has decided it is time to seriously consider a TEOTWAWKI scenario. As Son notes, in such an event, any member of the board or the firm’s operating committee can call a meeting using ‘any available means of communication.’ And, just in case everyone else on the Board happens to die, one person will be sufficient to constitute a quorum. Vacancies can be filled by a majority vote of available directors. And if none are around, then designated officers can stand in. No officer, director or employee can be held liable in such a situation, except for ‘willful misconduct.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 5, 2017.
I’m really grateful JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon decided to once again lash out in anger at Bitcoin, as it provides us with ample opportunity to highlight a practice very near and dear to how the bank operates. Fraud. The way the news cycle works, any topic that isn’t already at the forefront of enough people’s minds will be largely ignored irrespective of its importance. The fact that Jamie Dimon ironically called Bitcoin a fraud, allows us to ask highlight some very important facts about the seemingly systemic fraud inherent in America’s largest bank, JP Morgan. First, let’s take a quick look at some of what Mr. Dimon said. Courtesy of the financial plutocrat network, CNBC: Jamie Dimon has not changed his mind about bitcoin. Mr. Dimon, the long-time CEO at J. P. Morgan Chase, continued his well-documented criticism of the digital currency bitcoin. Speaking at the Barclays financial services conference on Tuesday, Mr. Dimon was asked whether his bank had a trader who traded bitcoin. His response? ‘If we had a trader who traded bitcoin, I’d fire them in a second,’ he said. ‘It’s against our rules’ and any trader that deals in them is ‘stupid.’
As summer draws to a close and the Wall Street titans enjoy the last of their lazy long weekends in the Hamptons, summering next door to the army of lawyers that keep them out of jail, it’s a curious time to be reading about a major new lawsuit that has the potential to shake Wall Streeters right down to their Gucci loafers. The charges include conspiracy to restrain trade in violation of the Sherman Act and unjust enrichment in a $1.7 trillion market. Since the Senate hearings of the early 1930s, which examined the Wall Street practices and conspiracies that led to the 1929-1932 stock market collapse and Great Depression, there have been rumblings that Wall Street’s system for lending stock for traders to short is a viper’s nest of ripoffs. Now two major law firms, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Cohen Milstein are suing six of the largest Wall Street banks, alleging that they illegally colluded in this market. The defendants are the usual suspects: JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, UBS and their stock lending units. (The only surprise here is that Citigroup is not named.) You know there’s some high minded legal talent involved when the lawsuit quotes Tolstoy. The plaintiffs’ lawyers tell the Federal Court: ‘To paraphrase Tolstoy, all efficient markets resemble one another, but each inefficient market is inefficient in its own way. This case concerns a market variously called the ‘stock loan,’ ‘stock lending,’ or ‘securities lending’ market. It is one of the largest and most important financial markets that exists in the world today. Unlike many other financial markets, the stock loan market has not evolved to reflect the ways in which modern technology can facilitate efficient and transparent electronic trading. Instead, the stock loan market remains an inefficient, antiquated, and opaque over-the-counter (‘OTC’) trading market dominated by large dealer banks, principally the Prime Broker Defendants. These banks have structured the market in such a way that they take a large cut of nearly every stock loan trade that is made. This arrangement is good for the Prime Broker Defendants. But it is bad for virtually everyone else, including the class members in this case.’
According to continuing reports from the trenches, buttressed by a Bloomberg News article out today by Neil Weinberg, Wall Street’s largest firms are still firing whistleblowers for having the temerity to bring corrupt conduct to their superiors’ attention – despite whistleblower protection statutes embedded in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. One Dodd-Frank provision expressly prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers and provides whistleblowers legal remedies if they are discharged or retaliated against. Another section provides potentially hefty awards through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) if the whistleblower provides original information leading to a successful enforcement action that results in sanctions of over $1 million. Just this past April, the Board of Barclays, a big player on Wall Street, had to admit that it had hired an outside law firm to investigate its own CEO’s handling of a whistleblower. At the time, Jes Staley had been CEO of Barclays for just 15 months but had formerly spent three decades in executive positions at America’s largest Wall Street bank – JPMorgan Chase. According to the official statement released by Barclays, Staley had gone on the hunt to root out the identity of an internal whistleblower who had sent anonymous letters regarding a colleague. Staley had the audacity to use both an internal security group at the bank and U. S. law enforcement in his effort to unmask the whistleblower. Staley was not fired for his conduct – he was simply given a written reprimand by the Board and had his bonus cut.
While Megyn Kelly’s interview with Russian President (and all around global bad guy if one were to believe the daily barrage of leftist headlines) Vladimir Putin did not raise the ire of advertisers, it appears her interview with right-wing provocateur Alex Jones has lurched from social media firestorm to real-world dollars and cents for NBC News. The sit-down has been promoted as a discussion about ‘controversies and conspiracies.’ In a video promoting the interview, Jones talks about the 9/11 attacks as an ‘inside job.’ In the clip, Kelly also brings up Sandy Hook, saying: ‘When you say parents faked their children’s deaths, people get very angry.’ Jones replies: ‘But they don’t get angry about half-a-million dead Iraqis from the sanctions.’ Next Sunday, I sit down with conservative radio host @RealAlexJones to discuss controversies and conspiracies #SundayNight June 18 on NBC pic.twitter.com/7bVz6Fobf5 — Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) June 11, 2017
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 12, 2017.
As an ISIS-inspired insurgency rages in the country’s south, Philippines’ authorities are assuring the public that an attack on a luxury resort in Manila that left more than three dozen dead wasn’t an act of terrorism, but was, in fact, a robbery. A gunman armed with a “baby armalite” rifle burst into the Resorts World Manila casino on Friday and started firing off shots and setting gaming tables alight on Friday, authorities said, before making his way to the back of the casino where he stole several million dollars’ worth of gambling chips. Most of the dead suffocated on the thick smoke, according to Reuters. However, despite authorities assurances, the high death toll and brazen nature of the attack suggest that terrorism may have been the underlying motivation. US terrorism monitor the Site Intelligence Group said an Islamic State-linked Filipino operative claimed ‘lone wolf soldiers’ of ISIS were responsible for the attack, according to the Guardian. “All indications point to a criminal act by an apparently emotionally disturbed individual,” Ernesto Abella, a spokesman for Duterte, told a news conference. “Although the perpetrator gave warning shots, there apparently was no indication that he wanted to do harm or shoot anyone.” The gunman killed himself in his hotel room after being shot and wounded by resort security, police and Resorts World management said. A second “person of interest” who was in the casino at the time was cooperating with the investigation, Reuters reported.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 2, 2017.
Citigroup, the Wall Street mega bank that taxpayers were forced to prop up in the largest bailout of a financial institution in U. S. history from 2008 to 2010, is also a recidivist lawbreaker that the U. S. Justice Department fails to tame regardless of who occupies the Oval Office. Under the Obama administration, Citigroup was repeatedly fined by its Federal regulators for serious abuses of the law and its customers but only once was a felony count leveled against the bank. On May 20, 2015, Citicorp, a unit of Citigroup, pleaded guilty to a felony charge in connection with the rigging of foreign currency trading. (Three other banks, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays PLC and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) also pleaded guilty to felony charges in the same matter. UBS, at the same time, pleaded guilty to rigging the interest rate benchmark known as Libor.) Trump’s Justice Department is now raising eyebrows for handing another unit of Citigroup a non-prosecution agreement yesterday for egregious money laundering violations.
One of the most peculiar features of the United States is the presence of a rabidly pro-war leftism that poses as ‘independent’ politics. Ever since the Obama Administration made it fashionable for so-called liberals to strike a ‘Grand Bargain’ with the GOP, anti-war politics have been non-existent in public life. The non-profit industrial complex hasn’t helped the situation. Democracy Now!, as the best known non-profit ‘independent news’ organ, is the perfect example of pro-war leftism in motion. The organization’s recent coverage of Syria has only encouraged imperialism’s war narrative despite the presence of a GOP-led Administration, House, and Senate. On May 3rd, Democracy Now! interviewed Anand Gopal, former fellow at the New America Foundation from 2012-2014. That Democracy Now! describes itself as ‘independent media’ yet associates with figures such as Gopal raises question marks about the source’s credibility on the issue of war and peace. The New America Foundation can hardly be considered an impartial source. As is the case for most think-tanks in the US and West, the foundation receives patronage from sources directly invested in war. Such sources include the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, and a consortium of corporate-backed foundations associated with the Wall Street firms, CitiGroup and JP Morgan Chase.
Having done the “good cop” routine earlier today, when it explained why a Trump impeachment is “very, very unlikely” despite growing media speculation that VP Mike Pence may be preparing to step into the Oval Office, now it’s JPMorgan’s turn to play bad cop when previewing “what comes next” for both markets and politics. The reason for that is that according to JPM’s Adam Crisafulli is that question is “one of the market’s problems” because there simply “isn’t any quick action that would help to alter the narrative in Washington” resulting in a quick and painless resolution. Here is the full note: What comes next? That question is one of the market’s problems. There isn’t any quick action that would help to alter the narrative in Washington. Congress could pass some legislation but there isn’t any consensus around the ‘big 3’ pieces of the agenda. Trump’s overseas trip (the first of his presidency), naming a credible and acceptable Comey replacement (could happen within days), and publication of the WH F18 budget (due early next week) will help change the conversation somewhat but the Russia/FBI headlines are unlikely to abate anytime soon (the conversation around impeachment is very, very premature – see earlier).
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 17, 2017.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is eager to pursue legislation that would break up Wall Street megabanks and has pushed the issue with members of the Trump administration. ‘We’re certainly reaching out to the administration,” Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television airing Wednesday. ”So far we’ve had some good conversations and that’s what I want to see happen. I’m ready. Because you know, this is one of those basic things — folks on Wall Street may resist it. But most of the American people get it.” At issue is the Glass-Steagall Act, a Depression-era law repealed in 1999 that had separated investment and commercial banking. Warren says reviving it would make the financial system safer, while protecting consumers from Wall Street’s risky market bets. President Donald Trump and other administration officials, including top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, have also spoken favorably of reinstating some version of the law. Warren has repeatedly introduced a bill that would prohibit big banks from having a retail and an investment business, which would probably force firms like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. to split apart. In the Bloomberg interview, she said her legislation would help smaller banks and investment firms compete with bigger rivals, while simplifying financial regulations.
With so much taking place overnight, and confused global market whipsawing in the aftermath of a barrage of political, geopolitical and earnings news, here is another recap to follow our traditional market wrap, this time courtesy of JPMorgan, focusing on the key things that are happening this morning. From JPM’s Adam Crisafulli Market update – Asia saw mixed price action, Eurozone stocks are off small, and US futures are down a few points. What’s happening this morning? There are a few moving pieces this morning. Trump managed to go a few days w/o controversy (a relatively long stretch for the current White House) but the Comey firing is by far the biggest headline of the night. As far as the market is concerned, Comey’s dismissal saps Trump’s political capital and weakens relations w/Congress at the time when he is trying to move an ambitious pro-growth agenda through the Senate and House.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 10, 2017.
The following video was published by X22Report on May 9, 2017 JP Morgan is telling smaller banks to consolidate deposits before the economy comes down. Kushner stepped in and stopped Trump from doing away with NAFTA. Trump is now thinking about the Paris Climate Agreement. Yates and Clapper reported no proof at all during the hearing, the bigger question is who did the unmasking and leaked the information. US says they watched Russia hack during the French elections. Marine Le Pen claims the elections were fixed. US prepares troops outside of Venezuela to participate in a drill with other South American countries. The Arab nations will not suspend Syria’s membership in the Arab League. An anonymous sources says the US can fly where it wants in Syria. Another anonymous source says that Trump approved arms for the Kurds. These anonymous sources need to reveal themselves if they want to be believed.
It is not a promising development for changing the culture of Wall Street when today’s newswires are reporting the sordid details of how the big Wall Street player, Barclays, engaged U. S. law enforcement in an attempt to hunt down the identity of an internal whistleblower. More on that in a moment, but first some background. After discovering that Wall Street’s mandate to fairly and efficiently allocate capital had morphed into the manufacture of fraudulent securities with triple-A ratings that blew up the U. S. economy in 2008 with the impact of a flamethrower at a fireworks factory, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation in 2010 to, ostensibly, put Wall Street back on a straight and narrow path. One of Dodd-Frank’s sections expressly prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers and provides whistleblowers legal remedies if they are discharged or retaliated against. Another section provides potentially hefty awards through the Securities and Exchange Commission if the whistleblower provides original information which leads to a successful enforcement action with sanctions of over $1 million. The whistleblower section of Dodd-Frank likely came about as a result of investigations showing that internal whistleblowers of the big Wall Street banks had indeed warned of fraud and malfeasance in the leadup to the crash, only to be barred from the premises or have their job eliminated, as in the case of Richard Bowen of Citigroup or Alayne Fleischmann of JPMorgan Chase, respectively.
It appears that “unmasking” is not merely a scandalous ploy employed in US politics. Overnight, Barclays CEO Jes Staley has unleashed the latest banking scandal, following reports he is facing major sanctions from UK regulators and a ‘very significant’ pay cut for trying to uncover the identity of an internal whistleblower. The former JPM veteran is being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority for breaking rules surrounding the treatment of whistleblowers, the FT reports. The bank’s policies for handling whistleblowing are also being investigated.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 10, 2017.
In an unexpected statement made by the former COO of Goldman Sachs and current director of Trump’s National Economic Council, Gary Cohn told a private meeting with lawmakers on the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday evening that he could support legislation breaking up the largest U. S. banks – a development that could provide support to congressional efforts to reinstate the Depression-era Glass-Steagall law – and impact if not so much his former employer, Goldman Sachs, whose depository business is relatively modest, then certainly the balance sheets of some of Goldman’s biggest competitors including JPM and BofA. According to Bloomberg, Cohn said he generally favors banking going back to how it was “when firms like Goldman focused on trading and underwriting securities, and companies such as Citigroup Inc. primarily issued loans.” What Cohn may not have mentioned is that with rates as low as they are, issuing loans – i.e., profiting from the Net Interest Margin spread – remains far less profitable than trading and underwriting securities in a world in which virtually every “developed world” central banker is either directly spawned from Goldman, or is advised by an ex-Goldman employee, The remarks surprised some senators and congressional aides who attended the Wednesday meeting, as they didn’t expect a former top Wall Street executive to speak favorably of proposals that would force banks to dramatically rethink how they do business. Yet Cohn’s comments echo what Trump and Republican lawmakers have previously said about wanting to bring back the Glass-Steagall Act, the Depression-era law that kept bricks-and-mortar lending separate from investment banking for more than six decades.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 6, 2017.