Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

When Washington Took On Wall Street

When Washington Took On Wall Street

Ferdinand PecoraNearly 80 years ago, on Capitol Hill, Ferdinand Pecora forced J. P. Morgan Jr. and other “banksters” to reveal the corruption that had fueled the Great Depression—bringing shame on the financial industry and resulting in new laws to curb abuses. Today, with Republicans having threatened to block reform and Goldman Sachs fighting fraud charges, the author looks back at the Pecora Commission hearings, which riveted America, and asks why there is no comparable investigation now.

BY ALAN BRINKLEYVanity Fair

J.P. Morgan Jr. was terrified. He was the most famous and arguably the most powerful banker in the United States, and also among the most secretive. But in May 1933, in the aftermath of the greatest financial crisis in the history of the United States, he was being called to testify before the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency to explain how the catastrophe had occurred. Morgan dreaded the prospect, in part because it was a painful reminder of his famous father’s unhappy experience testifying before the 1912 Pujo Committee, which had investigated the “money trust” (and was partly responsible for the creation of the Federal Reserve Board). The elder Morgan, mercilessly interrogated, had died shortly after the hearings. Many of his associates, not least his son, had blamed his death on his public humiliation.

Now it was the younger Morgan’s turn. Known to friends and associates as Jack, he was 65 years old and semi-retired. He feared that he might not be able to answer the committee’s questions, and he was even more afraid that he might lose his temper. His partners rehearsed Jack Morgan for days, peppering him with hostile and insulting questions. In the meantime, the Morgan bank’s powerful lawyer, John W. Davis, tried to keep the committee at bay. A onetime Democratic presidential nominee, Davis had helped pass a New York law barring any investigation of private bankers, and he argued in court that the Morgan bank was therefore entitled to privacy. But the U.S. Senate passed a resolution requiring the bank to open its books. The bank reluctantly complied and agreed to let Morgan testify.

He was to be questioned by Ferdinand Pecora, a former prosecutor who was now the special counsel to the committee. Pecora was known to be tough and unrelenting, and the prospect of his cross-examination attracted enormous publicity… 

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Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL): “Frankly, the Banks Own Congress” and You’re Getting Screwed Again

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL): “Frankly, the Banks Own Congress” and You’re Getting Screwed Again

Courtesy of Larry Doyle at Sense on Cents

I wrote extensively in 2009 as to How Wall Street Bought Washington. Well, it would appear that the purchase and sales agreement between these two entities remains in place.

A recent press release highlights developments on Senator Chris Dodd’s proposed Financial Regulatory Reform along with a recent assessment by Washington insider and Illinois Senator Richard Durbin.

DEMOCRATIC FINANCIAL REFORM BILL EXITED SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE WITHOUT RESTORING KEY INVESTOR LEGAL RIGHT TO HOLD KNOWING AIDERS AND ABETTORS OF FRAUD ACCOUNTABLE 

Senator Durbin Says:  “Frankly, the banks own Congress,” as Investigation of Lehman Brothers Found Its’ Accountants and Lawyers Helped “Cook the Books”

March 24, 2010:   The Senate Banking Committee financial reform bill was voted out of committee on Monday afternoon.  On the previous Friday Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) offered an amendment to include the restoration of the legal rights of investors to hold accountable those who knowingly aid and abet fraud, a critical component of financial reform. The first draft of Senator Dodd’s bill, which was on the Committee Web site for months, contained this provision.

Chairman Dodd apparently dropped that important investor protection measure in a failed attempt to gain Republican and Wall Street support and the Democratic bill exited his Committee without it. As a result, Senator Merkley’s amendment was never even considered.  Therefore as it now stands the legislation heading to the floor of the Senate does not restore the lost right of investors to hold knowing aiders and abettors accountable to the investors they help rob.

As Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said (prior to Chairman Dodd’s mark-up): “Hard to believe in a time when we are facing a banking crisis, that many of the banks created, that the banks are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. They frankly own the place.“  Senator Durbin said this in a radio interview on Monday, March 15 (WJJG-AM: “Mornings with Ray Hanania,” a big Chicago area political call in show).

Separately, also on March 15, in a Senate speech, Senator Ted Kaufman (D-Del) said:  “Lehman Brothers was cooking the books.  Fraud and potential criminal conduct were at the heart of the financial crisis.”

Senator Kaufman was referring to the 2,200 page report issued last week on the investigation into Lehman Brother’s spectacular failure.  It documents in-detail how Lehman’s banking counterparties, lawyers and accountants knowingly structured faux


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It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bonuses, Bailouts, And Backroom Deals From Washington To Wall Street

Nomi Prins, former investment banker, gives an educational summary of the financial crisis in this video.  She’s also written many articles on the topic (see links below). – Ilene

It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bonuses, Bailouts, And Backroom Deals From Washington To Wall Street

Courtesy of The Daily Bail

Text and Video from Democracy Now

Nomi Prins is a former investment banker turned journalist.  She worked at Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns.  She is the author of several books; her latest, just out, is called It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bonuses, Bailouts, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street.   She spoke on the themes of the book at the Strand Bookstore in New York on September 29th.

Watch

Meet The Hazzards

Paulson’s Revealing Phone Records

Goldman Sachs Strikes Gold Again

How You Finance Goldman’s Profits

The Big Bank Bailout Payback Bamboozle

Nomi Prins, former Goldman exec, now journalist turncoat.

 


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The Treasury Department Endorses Lying to the Public

The Treasury Department Endorses Lying to the Public

Courtesy of Damien Hoffman of Wall St. Cheat Sheet

If you or anyone you know still believes the government (or the media) tell us only the truth, please pass them this direct admission that lying is a primary strategic device for so-called “authority figures”:

[T]he Treasury Department said that any review of [patently misleading and false] announcements last year “must be considered in light of the unprecedented circumstances in which they were made.

Translation: when our elected representatives and their appointed officials believe we need to be manipulated, they rationalize their lies based on whether they think we need them at the time.

I am not naive. I firmly believe we have a problem with ignorance and sheeple in our country. However, the only way to fix the problem is to distribute more accurate information — not the opposite. Further, for those of us who work hard to stay educated, we expect to be treated like adults!

In this specific case, the Treasury Department’s lies (via Hank Paulson) encouraged people to hold their investments. Therefore, if you listened to Paulson et al, you literally lost your hard earned money and life savings. Last time I checked, citizens should not expect to get fiscally hosed by their Treasury Secretary.

To be fair, this is not only a Wall Street and Washington problem. Seemingly, most public discourse these days centers around complete lies, myths, and other rhetorical strategies aiming to put insular interests ahead of what’s best for the nation. It’s time to demand at least our public stewards accurately explain the true state of affairs so we can make informed decisions.

Note: Wall St. Cheat Sheet is offering a FREE 14-day, no risk trial of our Premium Newsletter - just click here.  

 


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Do Lawmakers Legally Insider Trade?

Do Lawmakers Legally Insider Trade?

Courtesy of Damien Hoffman at Wall St. Cheat Sheet 

Biden_smirk

Lawmakers possess many perks. However, legal insider trading may be the biggest fringe benefit of all.

A study* released by Professor Alan Ziobrowski at Georgia State University concluded legislators in Congress make “significant abnormal returns.” Moreover, active traders outperform corporate executives. “We have every reason to believe they are trading on information that the rest of us don’t have,” reports Ziobrowski.

How the hell is this bullshit going on? Craig Holman at consumer watchdog organization Public Citizen notes, “The Securities and Exchange Act does not apply to members of Congress, congressional staff, or even lobbyists.” Outraged?

If you are a voting citizen, your public representatives can legally trade investment vehicles based on information received at work. And much information is gleaned long before trickling down to the good ‘ole People. Thus, as you already deduced, a major conflict of interest exists when your political representative must choose between your needs and those of his/her portfolio.

This is another example of the cosmic irony in which Wall Street is overseen by Washington yet no one is overseeing DC. During my interview with Congressman Alan Grayson he explained the importance of auditing the Federal Reserve. While we’re making a list and checking it twice, let’s get lawmaker insider trading into the “Must Do Now” column.

* The study used hundreds of personal financial disclosures and more than 6000 stock transactions by members of Congress going back up to 15 years.justice

(Source: American Public Media.)

Note: Wall St. Cheat Sheet is offering a FREE 14-day, no risk trial of our Premium Newsletter - just click here. 

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This issue Damien raises came up here before, back in July, I wrote:

Insider trading is illegal, but the definition of insider trading is not inclusive enough. Government employees, buying and selling on non-public information, clearly violates the spirit of insider trading laws, but till now has been overlooked.

Bill Aims to Prevent Use of Insider Financial Information by Federal Workers

With the federal government increasingly involved in the financial affairs of private companies, a pair of lawmakers has proposed prohibiting members of Congress and other federal employees from trading stocks


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Economic No Spin Zone

Economic No Spin Zone

Courtesy of Michael Panzner at Financial Armageddon

According to the experts, things are looking up. Central bankers have expressed "growing confidence…that the worst of the financial crisis [is] over and that a global economic recovery [is] beginning to take shape." A well known strategist asserts that the "recession is ending ‘right now.’" President Obama has said "the economy is ‘pointed in the right direction.’"

However, consumers aren’t so convinced. Homeowners and young job seekers aren’t buying it, either. Nor are those who battle it out each day on Main Street’s front lines, as the Charlotte Business Journal reveals in "Small-Business Owners’ Outlook Dims":

Small-business owners aren’t convinced the recession is ending and their outlooks darkened in July, according to a monthly survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business.

NFIB’s index of small-business indicators fell 1.3 points last month to 86.5, the second consecutive monthly decline. The biggest reason was a drop in the number of small-business owners who expect the economy to improve in the next six months.

“The recession is wearing Main Street folks down,” says Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB chief economist. “And unfortunately, lawmakers in Washington are doing more to scare small-business owners than to reassure them of an economic recovery.”

Small-business owners are worried about higher taxes and proposed mandates to provide health insurance, Dunkelberg says. Taxes were cited as the No. 1 business problem by 22 percent of the small-business owners surveyed.

A bigger problem, cited by 32 percent, was poor sales.

Hmmm, I wonder which group -- those who are supposedly in the know or those who are struggling to get by -- is living in the economic no-spin zone?


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Spitzer Agonistes Redux

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Quote: "Power alters the basic neurological processes in the brain and inhibits those parts of the brain that would allow a person to show restraint. It allows them to systematically ignore the consequences of their actions." Adam Galinsky, Kellogg School of Management.

scandal, federal investigation, financial powersSpitzer Agonistes Redux

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

It is too bad Eliot could not have exercised better judgement, knowing that he would be targeted by the powers on Wall Street and Washington when he took them on. See the quote at the top of this blog for the most likely reason.

That he was exposed in his scandal by an intense Federal investigation speaks to the depth of the corruption of Washington under Bush, and even now, by the financial powers.

He is right of course, and everything that the Obama Administration is doing on the economic front is a sham.

There is a ‘new regulatory spirit’ and the Democrats under the skillful hand of Larry Summers and Barney Frank seek to channel it into irrelevancy.

Spitzer Says Banks Made ‘Bloody Fortune’ on U.S. Aid
By Laura Marcinek

July 14 (Bloomberg) — Eliot Spitzer, the former New York governor and attorney general, said U.S. banks made a “bloody fortune” while receiving taxpayer money without a proven benefit to the wider economy.

Politicians understand the “populist rage” with excesses in the financial industry and in this case the “public is right,” said Spitzer in a Bloomberg Television interview today. “We have saved financial services, we have not created a single job. We are still bleeding jobs.”

As New York attorney general, Spitzer was known as “the sheriff of Wall Street.” He changed business practices and collected billions of dollars in settlements from financial corporations such as Merrill Lynch & Co., American International Group Inc. and Marsh & McLennan Cos. He later became governor, resigning in March 2008 after he was identified as a client of the Emperors Club VIP, a high-priced prostitution ring.

Spitzer said new rules proposed by President Barack Obama’s administration are irrelevant because regulators failed to enforce existing regulations.

“Regulatory agencies already had the power to do everything they needed to do,” he said. “They just affirmatively chose not to do it.”

“You don’t need new regs to do it, you just need the will to do


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Zero Hedge

The Looting Stage Of Capitalism Begins: Germany's Assault On The IMF

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Paul Craig Roberts via Counterpunch.org,

Having successfully used the EU to conquer the Greek people by turning the Greek “leftwing” government into a pawn of Germany’s banks, Germany now finds the IMF in the way of its plan to loot Greece into oblivion.

The IMF’s rules prevent the organization from lending to countries that cannot repay the loan. The IMF has con...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Oil Slips After Touching $50 a Barrel for First Time This Year (Bloomberg)

Oil fell after touching $50 a barrel for the first time in more than six months Thursday as U.S. crude supplies and production declined.

U.S. panel launches trade secret theft probe into Chinese steel (Business Insider)

The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Thursday it launched an investigation into complaints by United States Steel Corp <X.N> th...



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Phil's Favorites

Japan CPI Back Below Zero, Shares Rally Expecting More Stimulus

Courtesy of Mish.

Japan’s “Core CPI” excluding food, fell two months straight. It’s back again below zero again.

Economists expect more stimulus, and Japanese equities are once again in rally mode.

Have any of these economic illiterates ever considered that stimulus is the problem, not the solution?

Back Below Zero

Please consider Japan CPI Falls 0.3%, Raising Pressure for More BOJ Stimulus.

Japan’s consumer prices dropped for a second month as central bank Governor Haruhiko...



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Chart School

Indices Net Positive Technically

Courtesy of Declan.

There wasn't much to say about to about today as Indices worked on consolidating the last couple days of gains. The real action came from supporting technicals, as they looked to mark a shift from a generally bearish technical picture to a net bullish one.

The S&P got to resistance of what was looking a reversal head-and-shoulder pattern.  This pattern won't be negated until 2,111 is breached, but today's action is a step in the right direction.  The only negative is the continued relative under performance against Small Caps.

...

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ValueWalk

Donald Trump will be good for economy But bad for Wall Street: David Rosenberg

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Donald Trump will be good for economy, bad for Wall Street: David Rosenberg

Published on May 25, 2016

Live from the 2016 Strategic Investment Conference

Get the latest updates live from the sold-out 2016 Strategic Investment Conference with John Mauldin, Richard W. Fisher, David Rosenberg, James Grant, Niall Ferguson, George Friedman, Pippa Malmgren, Charles Gave, Neil Howe, and many more. Click go to following link to visit the conference’s live blog:

Some highlights

Hello, everyone who has joined us on the second day of SIC 2016. It’s going to be a long and exciting day. Today, we’ll hear speeches from George Friedman, Lacy Hunt, David Rosenberg, and other well-known financial and political experts. We’ll also do video interviews with each speaker, and all of th...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

S&P 500- Bull Flag potentially in play, breakout about to happen?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Has the S&P 500 formed a “Bullish Flag Pattern” and making an attempt to breakout? Possible. If you are not familiar with the pattern, see more details HERE.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

Unless one lives under a rock, you are well aware that that bulls nor bears have anyth...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of May 23rd, 2016

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Digital Currencies

The Biggest Bitcoin Arbitrage Ever?

Courtesy of Chris at CapitalistExploits

Do you remember when you were growing up and all your friends were allowed Atari game consoles but you weren’t?

Well, I do and the things seemed as foreign to me as Venus. Mostly because the little time I managed to spend on the gaming consoles when my friends weren’t hogging them I found it all a bit silly. I never “got” computer games, and to this day still have poor comprehension of things like Angry Birds.

I suspect that many people around the world view Bitcoin in the same way as I view Angry Birds: with mild amusement and a general lack of understanding as to what the hell all the fuss is about.

I was thinking of this since a buddy of mine recently started ...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Biotech

This Is Why Biotech Stocks May Explode Again

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members.

Here's an interesting article from Investor's Business Daily arguing that biotech stocks are beginning to recover from their recent declines, notwithstanding current weakness.

This Is Why Biotech Stocks May Explode Again

By 

Excerpt:

After a three-year bull run that more than quadrupled its value by its peak last July, IBD’s Medical-Biomed/Biotech Industry Group plunged 50% by early February, hurt by backlashes against high drug prices and mergers that seek to lower corporate taxes.

...



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Mapping The Market

About that debate last night

Although we try to stay focused on finding and managing promising trade ideas, the comments in the comment section sometimes take a political turn (for access, try PSW — click here!). So today, Jean Luc writes,

The GOP debate last night was just unreal – are these people running to be president of the US or to lead a college fraternity! Comparing tool size? The only guy that looks semi-sane is Kasich. The other guys are just like 3 jackals right now. 

And something else – if Trump is the candidate, that little Romney speech yesterday is probably already being made into a commercial. And all these little snippets from the debate will also make some nice ads! If you are a conservative, you have to be scared now. 

Phil writes back,

I was expecting them to start throwing poop at each other &n...



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Promotions

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We know you love coming here for our Stocks & Options education, strategy and trade ideas, and for Phil's daily commentary which you can't live without, but there's more!

PhilStockWorld.com features the most important and most interesting news items from around the web, all day, every day!

News: If you missed it, you can probably find it in our Market News section. We sift through piles of news so you don't have to.   

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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!




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