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.


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.


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.


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.

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Do Lawmakers Legally Insider Trade?

Do Lawmakers Legally Insider Trade?

Courtesy of Damien Hoffman at Wall St. Cheat Sheet 


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. 


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

Paper Gold Dilution Hits 294x As Comex Registered Gold Drops To New All-Time Low

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

One week ago, gold market observers were surprised when in the span of four days, gold held in the JPM Comex vault declined by nearly 50%, starting on November 16 when the 668,498 ounces held in the vault below 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza declined precipitously to just 347,899 ounces, a new all time low.

Furthermore, as of the latest Comex activity update, on Friday the Registered gold held by JPM dropped another 2,802 ounces to a record low and virtually negligible 7,975 ounces, essentially equivalent to zero as shown in the chart below, even as JPM's eligible gold has also been seeing a substantial decline in recent months.


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Phil's Favorites

China's rebalancing timetable


China’s rebalancing timetable

Courtesy of Michael Pettis

We often read in the press rather alarming stories about the rise of an ugly and belligerent nationalism in China, but while these stories are certainly very real, after the November 13 bombings in Paris I was struck by a very different kind of Chinese behavior. A lot of young people that I know in Beijing – high school and college students, young professionals, musicians, etc. – were horrified by the violence that occurred in Paris and very eager to express a real sympathy for Parisians, which they did in the ways that young people express themselves today, via smart phones, social media, and all the other things that wouldn’t have occurred to me. I saw an awful lot of...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David 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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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

World's Biggest Pension Fund Loses $64 Billion Amid Equity Rout (Bloomberg)

The worlds biggest pension fund posted its worst quarterly loss since at least 2008 after a global stock rout in August and September wiped $64 billion off the Japanese asset managers investments.

It's starting to look like negative interest rates might do the opposite of what they're supposed to (Business Insider)

The European Central Bank is expected to cut interest rates deeper into negative territory this week as it attempts to ...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Crude Oil Market As Oversold As 1999 Lows

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Crude Oil is quite simply the most important commodity on the planet. But volatility with Crude Oil prices emerges every time there is conflict in oil producing nations or an economic slowdown.

And this has led to some pretty big swings in Crude Oil prices over the past several years.

But the latest swing lower is nearing a moment of truth. In fact, this decline may be the most important swing lower of the 2000’s.

Why?  Because oil prices are currently testing a key price support level comprised of the 2004 breakout level (above the 1990 highs) and the 2009 price lows – see red circles and line. In fact, this price support area also marks the 23.6 Fibonacci support level (from the 1999 lows to 2008 highs).  AND crude oil is as oversold as it was back at the 1999 price lows!

But that’s no...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of November 30th, 2015

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 Bitcoin Universe Explained

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

As evidenced by the Greek, Chinese, and now Argentine 'jumps', the world remains increasingly aware of the inevitable worth of fiat currencies and fears the desperate acts of governments as the react to that reality (and is looking for alternatives).

This infographic explains the wide ranges of the Bitcoin universe, accompanied with quotes from some of its best-known business leaders.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist ...

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Chart School

Greatest risk to the stock market is?

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Nope it is not interest rates, nope it is not Donald Trump, it is!

It is the CRUDE OIL crash, simple!

Jim Willie has good comments in the first 40 min of this pod cast.

Energy company ...
- Debt is blowing up (See energy element of HYG).
- Hedging at oil $100 is coming to an end.
- Iran coming back to the market, more supply.
- Saudi still providing massive supply.
- Oil tankers holding oil parked in the ocean are coming in to harbor to unload
- US dollar strength supports lower oil prices
- World wide DEMAND slump for energy or deflation.
- More oil being sold outside the US Dollar
- The Oil futures can not be manipulated easily as folks actually ...

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Sector Detector: Bulls wrest back control of market direction, despite global adversity

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Some weeks when I write this article there is little new to talk about from the prior week. It’s always the Fed, global QE, China growth, election chatter, oil prices, etc. And then there are times like this in which there is so much happening that I don’t know where to start. Of course, the biggest market-moving news came the weekend before last when Paris was put face-to-face with the depths of human depravity and savagery. And yet the stock market responded with its best week of the year. As a result, the key issues dominating the front page and election chatter have moved from the economy and jobs to national security and a real war (rather than police ...

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PSW is more than just stock talk!


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! 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.   

If you are looking for non-mainstream, provocatively-narrated news and opinion pieces which promise to make you think -- we feature Zero Hedge, ...

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Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli


Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli

Courtesy of Value Walk

1) The shares of one of my largest short positions (~3%), Exact Sciences, crashed by more than 46% yesterday. Below is the article I published this morning on SeekingAlpha, explaining why I think it’s still a great short and thus shorted more yesterday. Here’s a summary:

  • The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Draft Recommendation issued yesterday is devastating for Exact Sciences’ only product, Cologuard.
  • I think this is the beginning of the end for the company.
  • My price target for the stock a year from now is $3, so I shorted more yes...

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Baxter's Spinoff

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).

The Baxalta Spinoff

By Ilene with Trevor of Lowenthal Capital Partners and Paul Price

In its recent filing with the SEC, Baxter provides:

“This information statement is being ...

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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself. 


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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 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.

Thank you for you time!

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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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