"The Vampire Squid Strikes Again"- Matt Taibbi Takes On Blythe Masters And The Banker Commodity CartelSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/13/2014 17:15 -0400
The story of how JPMorgan, Goldman and the rest of the Too Big To Fails and Prosecutes, cornered, monopolized and became a full-blown cartel - with the Fed's explicit blessing - in the physical commodity market is nothing new to regular readers: to those new to this story, we suggest reading of our story from June 2011 (over two and a half years ago), "Goldman, JP Morgan Have Now Become A Commodity Cartel As They Slowly Recreate De Beers' Diamond Monopoly." That, or Matt Taibbi's latest article written in his usual florid and accessible style, in which he explains how the "Vampire Squid strikes again" courtesy of the "loophole that destroyed the world" to wit: "it would take half a generation – till now, basically – to understand the most explosive part of the bill, which additionally legalized new forms of monopoly, allowing banks to merge with heavy industry. A tiny provision in the bill also permitted commercial banks to delve into any activity that is "complementary to a financial activity and does not pose a substantial risk to the safety or soundness of depository institutions or the financial system generally." Complementary to a financial activity. What the hell did that mean?... Fifteen years later, in fact, it now looks like Wall Street and its lawyers took the term to be a synonym for ruthless campaigns of world domination."
On the chart below, try to guess, without peeking, which is the average salary of a Federal worker in the US and which is the average per capita income for all Americans.
Here comes the latest one - Pax. Weather.com's description of what is about to be unleashed on Atlanta and the entire Eastern Seaboard is nothing short of a review of the movie The Day After Tomorrow: "Potentially "catastrophic" Winter Storm Pax began unfolding before dawn Wednesday in the Atlanta area as temperatures dropped below freezing and sleet and freezing rain began to fall." The National Weather Service's warning was not exactly cheery: "Let’s just start by saying this winter storm may be of historic proportions for the area,” the agency said in a forecast analysis. “We’re looking at significant snowfall totals north and significant, crippling ice totals, especially along the Interstate 20 corridor.” Eli Jacks, a meteorologist with National Weather Service, said forecasters use words such as "catastrophic" sparingly. Not in this case. "Sometimes we want to tell them, 'Hey, listen, this warning is different. This is really extremely dangerous, and it doesn't happen very often,'" Jacks said. The service's memo early Wednesday called the storm "an event of historical proportions." It continues: "Catastrophic ... crippling ... paralyzing ... choose your adjective."
The number of Americans that renounced their citizenship was 221 percent higher in 2013 than it was in 2012. That is a staggering figure, and it is symptomatic of a larger trend. In recent years, a lot of really good people with very deep roots in this country have made the difficult decision to say goodbye to the United States permanently. A few actually go to the trouble to renounce their citizenship, and that is mostly done for tax purposes. But most willingly choose to leave America for other reasons. Once upon a time, the United States was seen as "the land of opportunity" all over the globe and it seemed like everyone wanted to come here. But now that is all changing. As we have abandoned the principles that this country was founded upon, our economy has gone steadily downhill.
Today, the pundits are a-buzz making sense of the latest jobs report. But most of us care more about the state of one particular job: our own. How relevant is this latest bit of data to that? Not very. So, to better understand the trends in the work environment most likely impact our own paychecks, it will help to look at another bellwether similar to our fuzzy groundhog friend: AOL. AOL, a once-important pioneer in the transition to the 'digital economy', is once again showing us where the future of work is headed. Unfortunately, like the health of AOL's business over the past decade, it's not a pretty picture. As we've transitioned to an economy in which corporate profitability -- and thereby, stock prices -- is THE metric for success, the employer-employee relationship has become much more superficial than in past generations; and the encroachment of automation remove income options for those temporarily out of work, but it's increasingly limiting the options for the large pool of unskilled labor with few other alternatives
The death of the middle class in America has become so painfully obvious that now even the New York Times is doing stories about it. Millions of middle class jobs have disappeared, incomes are steadily decreasing, the rate of homeownership has declined for eight years in a row and U.S. consumers have accumulated record-setting levels of debt. Being independent is at the heart of what it means to be "middle class", and unfortunately the percentage of Americans that are able to take care of themselves without government assistance continues to decline. In fact, the percentage of Americans that are receiving government assistance is now at an all-time record high. This is not a good thing. Anyone that tries to tell you that the middle class is going to be "okay" simply has no idea what they are talking about. The following are 28 signs that the middle class is heading toward extinction...
Show this article to anyone that believes that the economy has actually improved in the last 5 years. On Tuesday evening, the President once again attempted to convince all of us that things have gotten better while he has been in the White House. He quoted a few figures, used some flowery language and made a whole bunch of new promises. And even though he has failed to follow through on his promises time after time, millions upon millions of Americans continue to believe him. To say that his credibility is "strained" would be a massive understatement. No, things have not been getting better in America. In fact, they continue to get even worse. The following are 32 statistics that Obama neglected to mention during the State of the Union address...
There is no point in trying to avert or prevent bubbles caused by monetary pumping by regulatory means. If one avenue for bubble formation is cut off, the newly created money will simply flow into another area. In fact, new bubbles almost always become concentrated in new sectors. If there were a genuine desire to keep the formation of bubbles in check, adopting sound money would be a sine qua non precondition. However, no-one who has any say in today's system has a desire to adopt sound money and give up on the failed centrally planned monetary system in favor of a genuine free market system. Our guess is that the booms and busts the current system inevitably produces will simply continue to grow larger and larger until there comes a denouement that can no longer be 'fixed'.
You didn't think the US could at first slowly, and then all of a sudden, expropriate retirement accounts and invest them in the "no risk, guaranteed return" MyRA Ponzi scheme introduced by Obama during the State of the Union address without lots of behavior-modifying indoctrination in the "friendly press" first now did you? Sure enough, here is the first major propaganda salvo, coming from none other than the US Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, which will be published tomorrow across the McClatchy media empire.
When Jon Favreau (no, not the actor) left the White House last year, 33-year-old (high-school football-playing, pirate-costume-wearing, Harvard grad and Ted Kennedy intern) Cody Keenan took over the reins of chief spechwriter for President Obama. As Reuters reports, Keenan's speechwriting career took off after he crafted the impassioned speech that Obama delivered at a memorial service for victims of a 2011 shooting spree in Tucson, Arizona, where former Representative Gabrielle Giffords was seriously injured. A former professor noted "he doesn't take himself too serious," and we suspect, given last night's SOTU, the rest of the world now knows that.
- Obama warns divided Congress that he will act alone (Reuters)
- Fed Decision Day Guide From Emerging Markets to FOMC Voter Shift (BBG)
- Fed poised for $10 billion taper as Bernanke bids adieu (Reuters)
- Bernanke’s Unprecedented Rescue Unlikely to Be Repeated (BBG)
- Argentina Spends $115 Million to Steady Peso (WSJ)
- Billionaires Fuming Over Market Selloff That Sinks Magnit (BBG)
- SAC’s Counsel Testifies at Insider Trading Trial in Unexpected Move by the Defense (NYT)
- Automakers Fuel Japan’s Longest Profit Growth Streak Since 2007 (BBG)
- Turkey Crisis Puts Jailed Millionaire at Heart of Gold Trail (BBG)
- Ukraine expects $2 billion tranche of Russian aid soon (Reuters)
We have all heard what might be termed baloney, codswallop, tripe, bull. Call it what you will, it all boils down to the same old thing, especially when its intention is to deceive the public.
Just because it wasn't enough of a vote of confidence in Jamie "Dear Congress: oath I vouch under oath that it was nothing but a tempest in a teapot" Dimon that his pay rose 74% to $20 million in 2013 despite JPM's Net Income crashing as the bank had to provision for tens of billions in legal expenses (conveniently excluded from Non-GAAP earnings) - but that's ok because the Fed's pumping of $1 trillion in fake buying power meant the stock soared - here comes folksy Crony Capitalist #1, aka cuddly Uncle Warren seemingly desperate for close encounters of the rectal kind with the JPM CEO, telling the world just how underappreciated poor, poor (we use the term loosely) Jamie is and said that if he owned J.P. Morgan, "he would keep Chief Executive James Dimon at the helm and would pay him even more than he’s making now."
- Emerging market sell-off raises specter of contagion (Reuters)
- China Bank Regulator Said to Issue Alert on Coal Mine Loans (BBG)
- Argentina to Ease FX Controls After Peso Devaluation (BBG)
- Pimco's Gross problem: who can succeed the 'Bond King'? (Reuters)
- Ukraine protesters seize building, put up more barricades (Reuters)
- Mideast Turmoil Dominates Gathering of Business Elite (WSJ)
- Central Banks Withdraw Dollar Funding (WSJ) - oh really?
- Samsung warns of weak earnings growth this quarter (FT)
- Three explosions rock Cairo, killing 5 (USA Today)
As if the fact that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board found the NSA's bulk telephone collection "has shown minimal value in safeguarding the nation from terrorism," the 238-page report concluded it was illegal in several ways and violates privacy. Coincidentally, on the day of the release of the 9/11 Commission-prompted report, Edward Snowden (in an online chat - below) stated, "It's not good for our country, it's not good for the world, and I wasn't going to stand by and watch it happen, no matter how much it cost me." Indeed, one wonders if this would have ever come to light; but now following these findings that the program is not authorized by the Patriot Act the panel may give ammunition to critics in Congress and fuel legal challenges presenting a problem for President Obama who said last week (instead of waiting for the report) that he would allow the program to continue.