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Financial News Stories
Excerpts of Key Financial News Stories in Major Media

Below are highly revealing excerpts of important banking and finance news stories reported in the media that suggest a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These banking and finance news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. You can explore the same articles listed by order of importance or by article date. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: This comprehensive list of banking and finance news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.

Elizabeth Warren: The contender
2013-11-21, Boston Globe
Posted: 2013-12-02 09:26:37

Senator Elizabeth Warren, the champion of Main Street versus Wall Street, just got another boost to the presidential campaign she said she isn’t running. It lies in the $13 billion deal that JP Morgan Chase reached with the US Justice Department. The settlement, which ends the government’s probe into the bank’s risky mortgage business, reportedly represents the largest amount a single company has ever committed to pay Uncle Sam. That’s significant — but so is the bank’s unusual admission that it failed to disclose the risks of buying its mortgage securities. Warren was a force in both aspects of JP Morgan’s day of reckoning. After the economic collapse of 2008 — and before her election as senator — Warren led the charge for Wall Street accountability while overseeing the government response to the banking crisis. As senator from Massachusetts, she ... isn’t shy about acknowledging her role in achieving them. In September, Warren [said] that her lobbying of Mary Jo White, the newly installed chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, played a key role in getting government regulators to require more companies to admit wrongdoing, not just pay fines — which is what happened in JP Morgan’s case. The JP Morgan headlines play out as the stock market surges and unemployment ticks up. The gap between America’s rich and poor is growing bigger. The divide creates an opening for a Democrat who speaks to the shrinking middle class, as well as to those already squeezed out of it. Warren could be that candidate, if she chooses.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Pope Francis 'is mafia target after campaigning against corruption'
2013-11-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-11-26 08:15:29

Pope Francis's crusade against corruption has made him a target for Italy's all-powerful mafia clans, a leading anti-mob prosecutor has warned. Nicola Gratteri, who has battled Calabria's shadowy 'Ndrangheta mafia, said [that] Francis's attempt to bring transparency to the Vatican was making the white collar mobsters who do business with corrupt prelates "nervous and agitated". He told the Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano: "Pope Francis is dismantling centres of economic power in the Vatican. If the bosses could trip him up they wouldn't hesitate. I don't know if organised criminals are in a position to do something, but they are certainly thinking about it. They could be dangerous." Francis, who has called for "a poor church", has backed reform at the Vatican's bank, which has been suspected for years of being a channel for the laundering of mob profits. This week police impounded a luxury hotel on Rome's Janiculum hill – formerly a monastery – which the 'Ndrangheta allegedly purchased from a religious order. "The mafia that invests, that launders money, that therefore has the real power, is the mafia which has got rich for years from its connivance with the church," said Gratteri. "Priests continuously visit the houses of bosses for coffee, which gives the bosses strength and popular legitimacy," he said. A bishop in Locri in Calabria had excommunicated mobsters after they damaged fruit trees owned by the church, he said. "But before that episode, the bosses had killed thousands of people" without being sanctioned, he added.

Note: For more on secret societies, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

JPMorgan settlement is a payout to victims
2013-11-20, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-11-26 08:13:47

When the fires from the 2007-08 financial crisis were still being fought, JPMorgan Chase looked like a winner. Not only was JPMorgan Chase able to scoop up former rivals Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns for bargain basement prices, but its stock value shot up by nearly 31 percent over the past 4 1/2 years. But this year has been a little less kind to JPMorgan Chase. On [November 20) JPMorgan Chase agreed to a $13 billion settlement with the federal government over selling toxic mortgage investments. It also admitted to wrongdoing in knowingly peddling the instruments. Both settlements are for the "incomplete information" JPMorgan Chase gave to the pension funds for their purchases of toxic securities during the years 2004 to 2008. Even for a colossus such as JPMorgan Chase, $13 billion is a lot of money - about half of its annual profit. Forcing JPMorgan to admit wrongdoing - a rare concession - may open the door to more headaches for the company, especially because the government is continuing a criminal probe into its mortgage prices. The scale of the devastation is still so enormous that the only question left for the Justice Department to answer is why no one from any of the big banks has yet to go to jail. Wall Street's wrongdoing was about more than a dollar cost - it was about the widespread human suffering that remains with us today. Jail time would be more than appropriate, but so far the banks have been able to pay their way out of it.

Note: Because JP Morgan Chase can write off $11 billion of the fine as tax deductible, the real fine is actually reduced by $4 billion to about $7 billion, just one-third of Chase's $21 billion profit in the year 2012. For more on financial fraud, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Andrew Huszar: Confessions of a Quantitative Easer
2013-11-11, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:20:16

I can only say: I'm sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed's first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I've come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time. Where are we today? The Fed keeps buying roughly $85 billion in bonds a month, chronically delaying so much as a minor QE taper. Over five years, its bond purchases have come to more than $4 trillion. Amazingly, in a supposedly free-market nation, QE has become the largest financial-markets intervention by any government in world history. And the impact? Even by the Fed's sunniest calculations, aggressive QE over five years has generated only a few percentage points of U.S. growth. By contrast, experts outside the Fed, such as Mohammed El Erian at the Pimco investment firm, suggest that the Fed may have created and spent over $4 trillion for a total return of as little as 0.25% of GDP (i.e., a mere $40 billion bump in U.S. economic output). Both of those estimates indicate that QE isn't really working. Unless you're Wall Street. Having racked up hundreds of billions of dollars in opaque Fed subsidies, U.S. banks have seen their collective stock price triple since March 2009. The biggest ones have only become more of a cartel: 0.2% of them now control more than 70% of the U.S. bank assets. As for the rest of America, good luck.

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Warren Says U.S. Political System ‘Rigged’ by Special Interests
2013-11-11, Bloomberg News
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:18:43

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren said the political system is still “rigged” by lobbyists and special interests who work to keep the public “in the dark.” “I’ve been in the Senate for nearly a year and believe as strongly as ever that the system is rigged for powerful interests and against working families,” Warren said. Warren, a critic of Wall Street, rose to prominence by highlighting “tricks and traps” of credit-card disclosures and creating [the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)] as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. Warren said despite progress by the consumer bureau and confirmation of its director after a two-year delay, lobbyists for the financial industry continue to fight it and consumer groups shouldn’t let down their guard. “We all know that the fight isn’t over and that the lobbyists are still working to undercut the agency’s work,” Warren said. She compared the CFPB to government agencies that test the safety of physical products like cribs and paint, and said the bureau’s work on the safety of financial products will become just as valued by the public. “You tell me: When was the last time you heard someone call for regulators to go easier on companies that want to use lead paint on our children’s toys or leave the safety switches off toasters?” Warren asked. “The CFPB was designed from the very beginning to cut out tricks and traps in consumer finance and add transparency to the marketplace.”

Note: For an excellent video showing the courage and forthrightness of Elizabeth Warren, click here. For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Could Elizabeth Warren beat Hillary Clinton?
2013-11-11, Washington Post blog
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:17:22

The question in the background of Noam Scheiber's exploration of whether Elizabeth Warren could challenge Hillary Clinton in 2016 is whether, come 2015, Democrats will care very much about cracking down harder on Wall Street. An issue-based challenger needs two things to pose a serious threat to a front-runner. One is an issue that differentiates them from the front-runner. The other is for that issue to be foremost in the minds of voters. Scheiber points out that Warren's background isn't just Wall Street reform. It's protecting the middle class. The Two-Income Trap was a seminal book in defining the mounting pressures on working Americans. And Warren has long tried to protect that dimension of her work from being eclipsed by her unexpected turn as a finreg rockstar. But concern for the middle class doesn't, by and large, differentiate her from Clinton. Clinton, like Warren, believes in higher taxes on the rich and universal health care and higher-education costs and universal pre-k and so on. The danger for Clinton is if Warren is able to persuade Democrats that cracking down on Wall Street reform is the key to helping the middle class or -- perhaps more plausibly -- opposing inequality. On a policy level, that's a harder case to make. But on an emotional, who's-on-your-side level, it might work.

Note: For an excellent video showing the courage and forthrightness of Elizabeth Warren, click here. For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Occupy Wall Street activists buy $15m of Americans' personal debt
2013-11-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:12:34

A group of Occupy Wall Street activists has bought almost $15m of Americans' personal debt over the last year as part of the Rolling Jubilee project to help people pay off their outstanding credit. Rolling Jubilee, set up by Occupy's Strike Debt group following the street protests that swept the world in 2011, launched on 15 November 2012. The group purchases personal debt cheaply from banks before "abolishing" it, freeing individuals from their bills. By purchasing the debt at knockdown prices the group has managed to free $14,734,569.87 of personal debt, mainly medical debt, spending only $400,000. "We thought that the ratio would be about 20 to 1," said Andrew Ross, a member of Strike Debt and professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University. "In fact we've been able to buy debt a lot more cheaply than that." The Rolling Jubilee project was mostly conceived as a "public education project", Ross said. "Our purpose in doing this, aside from helping some people along the way – there's certainly many, many people who are very thankful that their debts are abolished – our primary purpose was to spread information about the workings of this secondary debt market." The group has ... acquired the $14.7m in three separate purchases, most recently purchasing the value of $13.5m on medical debt owed by 2,693 people across 45 states and Puerto Rico, Rolling Jubilee said in a press release. “No one should have to go into debt or bankruptcy because they get sick,” said Laura Hanna, an organiser with the group. Hanna said 62% of all personal bankruptcies have medical debt as a contributing factor.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

Fed’s Dudley: ‘Deep Seated’ Cultural, Ethical Lapses at Many Financial Firms
2013-11-07, Wall Street Journal blog
Posted: 2013-11-12 08:40:25

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said [that] any effort to reduce the threat to financial stability posed by massive financial firms also must include compelling banking executives to have more respect for the law and the broader impact on society of their actions. “There is evidence of deep-seated cultural and ethical failures at many large financial institutions,” Mr. Dudley said. “Whether this is due to size and complexity, bad incentives or some other issues is difficult to judge, but it is another critical problem that needs to be addressed” as regulators seek to deal with the problem of banks that are considered too big to fail, the official said. Mr. Dudley [added] that “ending too big to fail and shifting the emphasis to longer-term sustainability will encourage the needed cultural shift necessary to restore public trust in the industry.” His comments on banking issues come in the wake of last week’s decision by the Fed to stay the course on its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program. Mr. Dudley has been a steadfast supporter of the aggressively easy-money policies pursued by the central bank.

Note: For more on the banking bailout, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Rabobank Fined $1.1 Billion Over Libor, Euribor Manipulation
2013-10-29, Bloomberg Businessweek
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:44:17

Rabobank Groep, the co-operative formed in 1898 to lend to Dutch farmers, was fined 774 million euros ($1.1 billion) and the chairman resigned as the scandal over the rigging of benchmark interest rates ensnared a fifth firm. The Utrecht, Netherlands-based lender entered into an agreement with the Justice Department to accept responsibility for manipulation of Libor and Euribor to avoid prosecution. The fines are the largest-ever against the bank and second-largest over manipulation of the London interbank offered rate. Global investigations into banks’ attempts to manipulate the benchmarks for profit have led to fines and settlements for Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS and ICAP. Rabobank derivatives and money-market traders influenced the lender’s submissions to benefit their positions linked to Libor and conspired with employees of other banks to rig rates from May 2005 to January 2011. More than 500 attempts were made by Rabobank to manipulate Libor, according to the regulator. Thirty current and former employees of the Dutch lender were involved, Rabobank executive board member Sipko Schat said today. Five of them were fired, he said, while 14 are still working for the bank. The lender is also clawing back 4.2 million euros in bonuses, Rabobank said in a statement. The manipulation “directly affected the rates referenced by financial products held by and on behalf of companies and investors around the world,” Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, said in a statement.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Finally, a Guilty Verdict for Wall Street
2013-10-24, US News & World Report
Posted: 2013-10-29 09:13:11

"The Hustle." That's the name of a program run by Countrywide, the slimy subprime lender purchased by Bank of America in 2008. Under the program, Countrywide brokers were paid bonuses to originate loans, firing them off to borrowers with less than stellar credit in an attempt to gin up quick profits. The loans were then sold to government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, where they often went sour. This sounds like a fairly typical tale from the financial crisis: Most of the nation's largest banks have, in one way or another, been accused of formulating sloppy loans and dumping them off on the taxpayer or of selling toxic mortgage securities to unwitting customers. But there's a new twist to the old story: Yesterday, a jury found Bank of America guilty of fraud, the first time that a major U.S. bank has been held responsible by a U.S. court for actions tied to the financial crisis. The jury also held a former Countrywide manager liable for fraud. That we're still wondering whether the banks will face any consequences for their actions more than five years after the financial crisis began in earnest is a pretty damning indictment of the Obama administration's approach to the matter. Can lawmakers summon the will to actually take on Wall Street or are a few good headlines from DOJ all we can hope for? The Dodd-Frank financial reform law was a good opening effort and, despite its imperfections, will make some difference in reining Wall Street. But there is still a lot that the law either left unaddressed or up to the interpretation of regulators who are bombarded by missives from Wall Street lobbyists.

Note: For more on the collusion of big banks and banking regulators, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Rigging currency markets
2013-10-12, The Economist
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:34:01

[Banks] have rigged LIBOR, an interest rate used to peg contracts worth trillions. Its equivalent in the world of derivatives, ISDAfix, has also come under question. Commodities prices from crude oil to platinum have been the subject of allegations and inquiries. Now prices in global currency markets, where turnover is $5 trillion a day, are being scrutinised by authorities, who suspect bankers have tampered with those too. Switzerland’s financial watchdog announced on October 4th that it was investigating a slew of banks it thinks have manipulated currencies. Britain and the European Union also have probes under way. Concerns reportedly centre around abnormal movements ahead of a widely-used daily snapshot of exchange rates, known as the 4pm “London fix”. It represents the average of prices agreed during 60 seconds’ trading, and is used as a reference rate to execute a much larger set of currency deals. Bankers, who are big participants in the market, have huge incentives to nudge the price of a given currency pairing ahead of the fix. With billions of dollars changing hands, a difference of a fraction of a cent can add a tidy sum to the bonus pool. If proven, the charge would amount to banks fleecing their clients. Banks know the big trades they are about to execute on others’ behalf, and are often themselves the counterparty. By moving the markets ahead of the fix, they could alter the rate to their profit and their clients’ loss. One suspected method is “banging the close”: submitting a quick succession of orders just as the benchmark is set, to distort its value.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Tax the rich? IMF sparks a mini revolution
2013-10-11, Yahoo!/Agence France Presse
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:31:05

Tax the rich and better target the multinationals: The IMF has set off shockwaves this week in Washington by suggesting countries fight budget deficits by raising taxes. Guardian of financial orthodoxy, the International Monetary Fund, which is holding its annual meetings with the World Bank this week in the US capital, typically calls for nations in difficulty to slash public spending to reduce their deficits. But in its Fiscal Monitor report, subtitled "Taxing Times", the Fund advanced the idea of taxing the highest-income people and their assets to reinforce the legitimacy of spending cuts and fight against growing income inequalities. "Scope seems to exist in many advanced economies to raise more revenue from the top of the income distribution," the IMF wrote, noting "steep cuts" in top rates since the early 1980s. According to IMF estimates, taxing the rich even at the same rates during the 1980s would reap fiscal revenues equal to 0.25 percent of economic output in the developed countries. "The gain could in some cases, such as that of the United States, be more significant," around 1.5 percent of gross domestic product, said the IMF report, which also singled out deficient taxation of multinational companies. In the US alone, legal loopholes deprive the Treasury of roughly $60 billion in receipts, the global lender said. The IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde, kept up the sales pitch for a more just fiscal policy. "It's clearly something finance ministers are interested in, it's something that is necessary for the right balance of public finances," said Lagarde, a former French finance minister.

Note: Yahoo! was the only major media in the US to pick up this eye-opening news, with the possible exception of a Forbes article which shows how afraid they are of this development. For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Public Banks Are Key
2013-10-01, New York Times
Posted: 2013-10-15 10:46:51

Banking is heavily subsidized and is monopolized by Wall Street, which has effectively “bought” Congress. Banks have been bailed out by the government, when [they] would have gone bankrupt. The Federal Reserve blatantly manipulates interest rates in a way that serves Wall Street, lending trillions at near-zero interest and pushing rates so artificially low that local governments have lost billions in interest-rate swaps. State and municipal governments already have public lending programs. They exist because private banks are not lending in some sectors that need financing. Globally, public banks lend countercyclically, providing credit when and where other banks won’t. Germany and Taiwan, which have strong public banking sectors, are among the most competitive banking markets in the world. In North Dakota, the only state with its own “mini-Fed,” the state-owned Bank of North Dakota routes its public lending programs through community banks. Its deposit base is almost entirely composed of the revenue of the state and state agencies. The North Dakota Bankers’ Association endorses the Bank of North Dakota, which has a mandate to support the local economy. North Dakota has more banks per capita than any other state, because they have not been forced to sell to their Wall Street competitors. Public banking is not a radical idea but has been practiced in the U.S. with excellent results for decades, and around the world for centuries.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Greg Palast: Potential Fed Chair Summers at Heart of Global Economic Crisis
2013-09-03, Truthout
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:38:37

Investigative journalist Greg Palast has obtained a secret memo authored by then deputy Treasury secretary Larry Summers and his protégé Timothy Geithner detailing their plans to roll back financial regulation. In the piece, titled "The Confidential Memo at the Heart of the Global Financial Crisis", [Palast] writes: "The Memo confirmed every conspiracy freak's fantasy: that in the late 1990s, the top U.S. Treasury officials secretly conspired with a small cabal of banker big-shots to rip apart financial regulation across the planet. When you see 26.3 percent unemployment in Spain, desperation and hunger in Greece, riots in Indonesia and Detroit in bankruptcy, go back to this End Game memo, the genesis of the blood and tears." [Palast:] This is really important right now because Larry Summers is President Obama's top choice to become head of a Federal Reserve Board. He would take Ben Bernanke's place. And what this memo is--they call it the "end game memo". Geithner calls it the "end game". And what's the game being played? The memo asks Summers to get back to the five biggest, most powerful bankers in the United States to act on and determine what our policy should be for world governance of the banking system. Basically, there were secret calls going between Larry Summers and the head of Bank of America, the head of Goldman Sachs, the head of Citibank and Merrill, the five big boys, to find out what should happen to the world financial policing order. And the answer was: smash it. Summers was holding secret meetings with the big bankers to come up with a scheme to eliminate financial regulation across the planet.

Note: Greg Palast is a New York Times-bestselling author and a freelance journalist for the British Broadcasting Corporation as well as the British newspaper The Observer. He is one of the few journalists uncovering the deepest layers of secrecy in our world. For a key past report of his on elections corruption, click here.

Analyst who raised alarm about Madoff nine years ago lambasts authorities
2009-02-04, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:31:31

The financial analyst who nine years ago discovered Bernard Madoff's multi-billion dollar ... fraud scheme today lambasted US securities officials who ignored his warnings, calling for a shakeup of the US securities and exchange commission's structure. Harry Markopolos, a Massachusetts financial analyst who since 2000 several times sought to alert the SEC to Madoff's fraud, told a House of Representatives committee that the agency should replace its lawyer-heavy enforcement staff with senior securities professionals who have years of industry experience and can understand cutting-edge financial instruments used by hedge fund traders. He said regulators should give fraud investigators a pay incentive to unearth large fraud, and eliminate the turf wars that he said kept New York-based regulators from heeding tips he fed to the Boston office. Markopolos discovered Madoff's alleged malfeasance in May 2000, after he became suspicious of his years-long record of success in all market conditions. Markopolos said it took him about five minutes perusing Madoff's marketing materials to suspect fraud, and another roughly four hours to develop mathematical models to prove it. He eventually delivered a detailed case to securities regulators in Boston and followed up several times over the next eight years as he continued to gather evidence. He said that important SEC officials in New York and Boston brushed his reports aside. In testimony before members of the House financial services committee, Markopolos described "an abject failure by the regulatory agencies we entrust as our watchdog".

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Communities print their own currency to keep cash flowing
2009-04-10, USA Today
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:26:24

A small but growing number of cash-strapped communities are printing their own money. Borrowing from a Depression-era idea, they are aiming to help consumers make ends meet and support struggling local businesses. Businesses and individuals form a network to print currency. Shoppers buy it at a discount — say, 95 cents for $1 value — and spend the full value at stores that accept the currency. Workers with dwindling wages are paying for groceries, yoga classes and fuel with Detroit Cheers, Ithaca Hours in New York, Plenty in North Carolina or BerkShares in Massachusetts. Ed Collom, a University of Southern Maine sociologist who has studied local currencies, says they encourage people to buy locally. Merchants, hurting because customers have cut back on spending, benefit as consumers spend the local cash. Jackie Smith of South Bend, Ind., who is working to launch a local currency, [said] "It reinforces the message that having more control of the economy in local hands can help you cushion yourself from the blows of the marketplace." During the Depression, local governments, businesses and individuals issued currency, known as scrip, to keep commerce flowing when bank closings led to a cash shortage. Pittsboro, N.C., is reviving the Plenty, a defunct local currency created in 2002. It is being printed in denominations of $1, $5, $20 and $50. A local bank will exchange $9 for $10 worth of Plenty. "We're a wiped-out small town in America," says Lyle Estill, president of Piedmont Biofuels, which accepts the Plenty. "This will strengthen the local economy. ... The nice thing about the Plenty is that it can't leave here."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

The Stench of the Potomac
2013-08-01, New York Magazine
Posted: 2013-08-12 16:56:28

The tale of how the Obama economic team was recruited en masse from Robert Rubin acolytes who either facilitated Wall Street’s pre-crash recklessness while in the Clinton administration or cashed in on it later (or, like Rubin, did both) never loses its power to shock. Michael Froman, Rubin’s chief of staff as Clinton Treasury secretary, not only served as the Obama transition team’s personnel director but moonlighted as a Citigroup managing director while doing so. “Obama essentially entrusted the repairing of the china shop to the bulls who’d helped ransack it,” [Jeff] Connaughton writes [in The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins]. [In This Town Mark] Leibovich updates the story of the tacky prehistory of the Obama White House with its aftermath—the steady parade of Obama alumni who traded change we can believe in for cash on the barrelhead as soon as they left public service. The starry list includes, among many others, Peter Orszag (director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, now at Citi), Jake Siewert (the Treasury Department counselor turned chief flack for Goldman Sachs), and David Plouffe (the campaign manager and senior presidential adviser who did consulting for Boeing and General Electric). “When I am president,” Obama had said in 2008, “I will start by closing the revolving door in the White House that’s allowed people to use their administration job as a stepping-stone to further their lobbying careers.” Puzzling over how so many colleagues have strayed from this credo, the former press secretary Robert Gibbs has theorized that either “somehow we have all changed” or, alternatively, “maybe Washington changed us.”

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

California duped on energy buys again
2013-08-01, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-08-12 16:54:56

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay federal regulators $410 million to settle allegations that the giant bank manipulated energy markets in California and Michigan. About $285 million of the settlement will go to the U.S. Treasury for civil penalties, and about $124 million will be refunded to California ratepayers. The remainder will be refunded to Michigan ratepayers. If this story sounds familiar, that's because it is. Californians who remember the Enron energy debacle of 2000-01 won't be surprised to learn that JPMorgan's traders have been accused of fraudulent behavior. Once again, the fraud was performed by manipulating the auction system that was developed by a quasi-state agency, the California Independent System Operator, to handle California's electricity needs. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that JPMorgan engaged in 12 manipulative bidding strategies, which wound up forcing ratepayers to pay higher amounts than they should have - all because the bank wanted to find a cheap way to profit off of aging power plants in Southern California. JPMorgan used a variety of bait-and-switch strategies - duping Cal-ISO into paying exorbitant fees for running the plants at a low level, for instance, or manipulating the bidding system so that Cal-ISO was forced to pay rates that were many times higher than market rate. The fact that this kind of manipulation is still happening is upsetting. And while $410 million is a record settlement for the FERC, it's a drop in the bucket to JPMorgan, which reported $6.5 billion in quarterly profits this month.

Note: Remember Enron, which scammed millions and then went bankrupt, wiping out pensions of its many employees? To read CBS reports on how Enron purposely shut down power plants so they could cause and then cash in on the energy crisis, click here.

Banks hate Richmond homeowners' bailout plan
2013-08-05, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-08-12 16:53:26

Richmond [CA] city officials took a giant leap forward for everyday people last week when they announced a program to purchase ailing residential mortgages and refinance them through a financial partnership and a bold new initiative that's already begun. To accomplish the task, the city said it will use its eminent domain powers in reverse: To save a home instead of condemn it. Much to the displeasure of the banking industry, the city sent offer letters to more than 600 homeowners whose mortgages are held by nongovernment lending institutions. The program offers to pay lenders the current market value of the property, not the higher value of the mortgage. Under the Richmond program, a bank that approved a $500,000 mortgage would be paid roughly 80 percent of its investment. Already, some lenders contend that such a law violates constitutionally protected property rights and sets a precedent that could open the floodgates for other cities in the same predicament. The mere exploration of similar programs in a half-dozen California cities and counties provoked a strong reaction from the banking industry. Financial experts have warned that the Richmond policy is certain to spawn legal challenges and a backlash from lenders who recalculate higher mortgages in Richmond to offset the risk of the city using a local law to claim a foreclosed property. That's interesting, because no measure was too extreme, no taxpayer sacrifice too great to come up with and fund a new financial model to bail out the bankers and brokerage firms in 2008. But that's what the federal government - and American taxpayers did.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Wall Street Takes the Profit Prize Again
2013-07-23, Bloomberg Businessweek
Posted: 2013-08-06 08:11:59

We’re coming up on the fifth anniversary of Wall Street’s meltdown. Banks have rarely had it this good. Earnings for financials, the second-biggest group in the S&P 500 after technology, soared 26 percent last quarter, more than any other industry, analyst estimates show. Housing is back. The stock market is at an all-time high. Investors are finally wiring in cash. The 25 financial firms in the S&P 500 that have so far reported second-quarter results posted earnings totaling $31.6 billion, exceeding estimates of $29.1 billion, Bloomberg data show. Finance is on track to surpass tech again as the most profitable industry in the country. First-half revenue at the six biggest U.S. banks climbed for the first time in four years. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo reported $43.3 billion in total first-half profit, the most since 2007. The S&P 500 Financials Index is up 26 percent this year, compared with the S&P 500's 18 percent gain. Flush banks cannot sell their bonds fast enough: Almost 60 percent of high-grade debt sales in the U.S. this month are from banks, the biggest ratio in two years, according to Bloomberg. “Banks are somehow making gigatons of money despite onerous new regulations and capital requirements,” writes HuffPo’s Mark Gongloff. “Why, it’s almost like they’re not telling the truth when they warn, repeatedly, that these new rules will destroy their profits and the economy.”

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

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