October 5, 2012
As Republicans seek to neuter regulators, JPMorgan suit proves why Wall Street needs a sheriff

upwithchris:

The presidential candidates sparred over financial reform in Wednesday night’s debate, with Mitt Romney attempting to tack to the center, proclaiming his support for Wall Street regulations. Republicans, however, have fought tooth-and-nail to neuter or eliminate the key agencies charged with writing and enforcing those regulations, among them the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Romney has derided as “the most powerful and unaccountable bureaucracy in the history of our nation.”

This week, however, brought fresh evidence of the need not only for strong regulations but strong regulators, like the CFPB, as well, to enforce those rules and police Wall Street’s financial institutions. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed suit this week against JPMorgan Chase for ”multiple fraudulent and deceptive acts” at Bear Stearns, which is now owned by JPMorgan, in the run-up to the financial crisis. In fact, the fraudaulent behavior was so bad, according to the civil complaint filed Monday, that Wall Street traders were circulating rumors of a full-blown meltdown at Bear Stearns more than a year before the firm nearly collapsed, triggering the financial crisis:

By the end of 2006, [Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities] traders at other banks were beginning to hear “rumors of a credit meltdown at [Bear Stearns]” … According to the trader who had heard the rumor, the “precise description” of  Bear Stearns’ state at that time was “def co[n] 3” - or “defensive condition 3” - the military term signifying a heightened state of alert. The trader sharing the “rumors” then pointedly remarked:  ”little due diligence upfront makes for a bad day 12 months later.”

Wall Street regulators were apparently so ineffectual that a full year of rumors about a “meltdown” at one of the world’s largest financial institutions escaped their attention. Now, Republicans are working relentlessly to gut the very institutions charged with preventing a similar meltdown from happening again.

(Source: upwithsteve)

June 19, 2012
"It’s less of a problem since the financial crisis, but the business media are still too cozy with the powerful on Wall Street to do their jobs correctly. The media still fawned over Wall Street stars such as Jamie Dimon at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.; Eliot Spitzer, former New York governor and attorney general, and Jimmy Cayne of Bear Stearns. Why? They all dished tips or dirt on their rivals. Access journalism still dominates the landscape, and you — the reader — suffer for it."

— David Weidner, MarketWatch. So long, suckers — I’m leaving Wall Street. (via futurejournalismproject)

September 28, 2011
Why #occupywallstreet Isn't Working

motherjones:

“So far, this is more a movement for dreamers than for middle-class Americans trying to make ends meet.”

September 18, 2011
pantslessprogressive:

“As demonstrators converged on Wall Street — with police blocking them from reaching the New York Stock Exchange — much of the news media paid little attention to the protests. Meanwhile, much of the conservative punditry has taken to mocking the demonstrations, with conservative Twitter users lambasting the “hippies” in New York City. CNN contributor and RedState blogger Erick Erickson labeled the protesters as “profoundly dumb.”
 
Certainly, debates about the tactics and strategy behind an anti-Wall Street campaign are warranted. But in a country where much of the populist energy has been absorbed by a movement that compared expanding access to private insurance to “death panels,” it’s worth reviewing why Americans and others should be protesting against Wall Street.
While many of the conservative defenders of Wall Street may be quick to portray protests against the American financial establishment as driven by envy of its wealth or far-left ideologies, the truth is that people have a very simple reason to be angry — because Wall Street’s actions made tens of millions of people dramatically poorer through no fault of their own. In 2010, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank conducted studies of the effects of the global recession — caused largely by Wall Street financial instruments that were poorly regulated by government policies — and found that the recession threw 64 million people into extreme poverty:

The International Monetary Fund estimates that the global economy contracted by 0.6 per cent in 2009 and the implications of this have been severe for many. Economic growth in developing countries was only 1.7 per cent in 2009 compared with 8.1 per cent in 2007. However, if China and India are excluded, the economies of developing countries actually contracted by 1.8 per cent. The World Bank has estimated that an additional 64 million people will be living in extreme poverty on less than US$1.25 a day by the end of 2010 as a result of the global recession.

 
And nearly three years after the start of the global economic crisis — where taxpayers in multiple countries were called upon to save the financial industry — most of the banking elite’s top executives remain virtually untouched. There have been almost no high-profile convictions for fraud and related financial crimes, banking profits continue to soar, and unemployment not just in the U.S. but globally remains very high.
Given these facts, the question is not why more than a thousand people demonstrated on Wall Street yesterday. The question is, why aren’t even more people in the streets of the financial district in New York City?” - Zaid Jilani, ThinkProgress
[Photo: Paul Weiskel]

pantslessprogressive:

As demonstrators converged on Wall Street — with police blocking them from reaching the New York Stock Exchange — much of the news media paid little attention to the protests. Meanwhile, much of the conservative punditry has taken to mocking the demonstrations, with conservative Twitter users lambasting the “hippies” in New York City. CNN contributor and RedState blogger Erick Erickson labeled the protesters as “profoundly dumb.”

Certainly, debates about the tactics and strategy behind an anti-Wall Street campaign are warranted. But in a country where much of the populist energy has been absorbed by a movement that compared expanding access to private insurance to “death panels,” it’s worth reviewing why Americans and others should be protesting against Wall Street.

While many of the conservative defenders of Wall Street may be quick to portray protests against the American financial establishment as driven by envy of its wealth or far-left ideologies, the truth is that people have a very simple reason to be angry — because Wall Street’s actions made tens of millions of people dramatically poorer through no fault of their own. In 2010, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank conducted studies of the effects of the global recession — caused largely by Wall Street financial instruments that were poorly regulated by government policies — and found that the recession threw 64 million people into extreme poverty:

The International Monetary Fund estimates that the global economy contracted by 0.6 per cent in 2009 and the implications of this have been severe for many. Economic growth in developing countries was only 1.7 per cent in 2009 compared with 8.1 per cent in 2007. However, if China and India are excluded, the economies of developing countries actually contracted by 1.8 per cent. The World Bank has estimated that an additional 64 million people will be living in extreme poverty on less than US$1.25 a day by the end of 2010 as a result of the global recession.

And nearly three years after the start of the global economic crisis — where taxpayers in multiple countries were called upon to save the financial industry — most of the banking elite’s top executives remain virtually untouched. There have been almost no high-profile convictions for fraud and related financial crimes, banking profits continue to soar, and unemployment not just in the U.S. but globally remains very high.

Given these facts, the question is not why more than a thousand people demonstrated on Wall Street yesterday. The question is, why aren’t even more people in the streets of the financial district in New York City?” - Zaid Jilani, ThinkProgress

[Photo: Paul Weiskel]

(via pantslessprogressive)

September 16, 2011
Wall Street's Secret Oil Games

kateoplis:

By Senator Bernie Sanders

Why have oil prices spiked wildly? Some argue that the volatility is a result of supply-and-demand fundamentals. More and more observers, however, believe that excessive speculation in the oil futures market by investors is driving oil prices sky high.

A June 2 article in the Wall Street Journal said it all: “Wall Street is tapping a real gusher in 2011, as heightened volatility and higher prices of oil and other raw materials boost banks’ profits.”

ExxonMobil Chairman Rex Tillerson, testifying before a Senate panel this year, said that excessive speculation may have increased oil prices by as much as 40 percent. […]

I released records last month that documented the role of speculators and put the information on my Web site for three reasons.

First, the American people have a right to know why oil prices are artificially high. The CFTC report proved that when oil prices climbed in 2008 to more than $140 a barrel, Wall Street speculators dominated the oil futures market. Goldman Sachs alone bought and sold more than 860 million barrels of oil in the summer of 2008 with no intention of using a drop for any purpose other than to make a quick buck. […] 

Second, Congress recognized last year that excessive oil speculation must end. The Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation required the CFTC to eliminate, prevent or diminish excessive oil speculation by Jan. 17, 2011. Months after that deadline, the commission still has failed to enforce the law, and speculators still are making out like bandits.

Third, the commodity regulators’ claim that they cannot end excessive oil speculation because they lack sufficient data is nonsense. As the information I released makes clear, the commission has been collecting this information for more than three years. The time for studying is over. It is time for action.

September 6, 2011
"

Obama hasn’t been a total disaster on labor. Most notably, he stepped up in the Wisconsin mess and at least took sides in that debate, calling the push to end collective bargaining rights an “assault” on unions.

But I remember following Obama on the campaign trail and hearing all sorts of promises before union-heavy crowds. He said he would raise the minimum wage every year; he said he would fight free-trade agreements. He also talked about repealing the Bush tax cuts and ending tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas.

It’s not just that he hasn’t done those things. The more important thing is that the people he’s surrounded himself with are not labor people, but stooges from Wall Street. Barack Obama has as his chief of staff a former top-ranking executive from one of the most grossly corrupt mega-companies on earth, JP Morgan Chase. He sees Bill Daley in his own office every day, yet when it comes time to talk abut labor issues, he has to go out and make selected visits twice a year or whatever to the Richard Trumkas of the world.

Listening to Obama talk about jobs and shared prosperity yesterday reminded me that we are back in campaign mode and Barack Obama has started doing again what he does best – play the part of a progressive. He’s good at it. It sounds like he has a natural affinity for union workers and ordinary people when he makes these speeches. But his policies are crafted by representatives of corporate/financial America, who happen to entirely make up his inner circle.

"

Matt Taibbi  (via kateoplis)