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 

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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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Phil's Favorites

Tsunami Warning

 

Tsunami Warning

Courtesy of John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline

A tsunami is a wall of water that wipes out everything in its path, typically caused by earthquakes. But first, the water actually disappears from the usual shoreline, leaving land where there should be sea.

If you are on the shore and see that happen, the correct response is to run for high ground. Tragically, though, people often rush toward this new and unusual sight. It’s hard to blame them; we humans are drawn to the unknown. This impulse explains much of our progress, but it has costs, too.

Right now, the stock market is in the land-where-there-should-be-sea phase. What we don’t know is when the wave is coming. Maybe th...



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Biotech/COVID-19

No, vaccine side effects don't tell you how well your immune system will protect you from COVID-19

 

No, vaccine side effects don't tell you how well your immune system will protect you from COVID-19

It’s not a bad sign if you feel fine after your COVID-19 shot. Luis Alvarez/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Courtesy of Robert Finberg, University of Massachusetts Medical School

If someone gets a headache or feels a bit under the weather after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s become common to hear them say something like “Oh, it just means my immune system is really working hard.” On the flip side...



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Zero Hedge

Shares Of Chinese Battery Maker CATL Surge As Company Said To Be Considered For Apple's EV Project

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Shares of Contemporary Amperex Technology were up as much as 9% in Shenzhen overnight on news that it could be the company involved in supplying batteries for Apple's electric vehicle project.

The jump in shares marks the best day for the company's stock in four months, Bloomberg reported Monday morning.

The report, which appears to be unconfirmed for the time being, was published in Xuangubao.cn, a Chinese online stock news platform. That platform did not report a source for the informati...



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Digital Currencies

A Unifying Theory of Everything

 

A Unifying Theory of Everything

Courtesy of Scott Galloway, No Mercy/No Malice@profgalloway

This week, New York Magazine let me go full stream of consciousness on … everything. Their editor pitched me the idea to articulate a unifying theory on “this whole crazy techno-fiscal moment.” Problem is, while I understand crypto better than 99 percent of people, I do not understand crypto.

On Wednesday, crypto pioneer Coinbase listed shares on the NASDAQ, and closed the day at an almost $100 billion valuation, making it nearly as valuable as Goldman Sachs. Coinbase’s big day made a bunch of wealthy people wealthier, but it also poked several bears — ...



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ValueWalk

Managing Investments As A Charity Or Nonprofit

By Anna Peel. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Maintaining financial viability is a constant challenge for charities and nonprofit organizations.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The past year has underscored that challenge. The pandemic has not just affected investment returns – it’s also had serious implications for charitable activities and the ability to fundraise. For some organizations, it’s even raised doubts about whether they can continue to operate.

Finding ways to generate long-term, sustainable returns for ...



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Chart School

Money Printing Asset Price Targets

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

The FED giveth and the FED taketh away. Right now the FED is giving a lot into 2022 US Mid Terms. 

Unless the FED breaks the market, here are some BRRRRR asset price targets, not normal price targets but money printing adjusted price targets. 


BITCOIN 175,000 to 500,000 USD

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DOW to 40,000 to 50,000

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More DOW

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Politics

Colombia gives nearly 1 million Venezuelan migrants legal status and right to work

 

Colombia gives nearly 1 million Venezuelan migrants legal status and right to work

Venezuelans wait at the Colombian border to be processed and housed in tents in 2020. All Venezuelans now in Colombia will receive a 10-year residency permit. Schneyder Mendoza/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of Erika Frydenlund, Old Dominion University; Jose J. Padilla, Old Dominion University...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Will Historic Selloff In Treasury Bonds Turn Into Opportunity?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Long-dated treasury bonds have been crushed over the past year, sending ETFs like TLT (20+ Year US Treasury Bond ETF) spiraling over 20%.

Improving economy? Inflation concerns? Perhaps a combination of both… interest rates have risen sharply and thus bond prices have fallen in historic fashion.

Today’s chart looks at $TLT over the past 20 years. As you can see, the recent decline has truly been historic. $TLT’s price has swung from historically overbought highs to oversold lows.

At present, the long-dated bond ETF ($TLT) is trading 7.8% below its 200-...



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Mapping The Market

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

 

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

Courtesy of Marcus Lu, Visual Capitalist

The Suez Canal: A Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

On March 23, 2021, a massive ship named Ever Given became lodged in the Suez Canal, completely blocking traffic in both directions. According to the Suez Canal Authority, the 1,312 foot long (400 m) container ship ran aground during a sandstorm that caused low visibility, impacting the ship’s navigation. The vessel is owned by Taiwanese shipping firm, Evergreen Marine.

With over 2...



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Promotions

Phil's Stock World's Weekly Webinar - March 10, 2021

Don't miss our latest weekly webinar! 

Join us at PSW for LIVE Webinars every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 PM EST.

Phil's Stock World's Weekly Webinar – March 10, 2021

 

Major Topics:

00:00:01 - EIA Petroleum Status Report
00:04:42 - Crude Oil WTI
00:12:52 - COVID-19 Update
00:22:08 - Bonds and Borrowed Funds | S&P 500
00:45:28 - COVID-19 Vaccination
00:48:32 - Trading Techniques
00:50:34 - PBR
00:50:43 - LYG
00:50:48 - More Trading Techniques
00:52:59 - Chinese Hacks Microsoft's E...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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About Phil:

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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