And Other Stunning Facts I Learned Last Night ...
Through most of the 20th century, America led something of a charmed life, at least when compared with the disasters endured by almost every other major country. We became the richest and most powerful nation on earth, partly due to our own achievements and partly due to the mistakes of others. The public interpreted these decades of American power and prosperity as validation of our system of government and national leadership, and the technological effectiveness of our domestic propaganda machinery - our own American Pravda - has heightened this effect. Author James Bovard has described our society as an “attention deficit democracy,” and the speed with which important events are forgotten once the media loses interest might surprise George Orwell.
- Obama's Counsel Was Told of IRS Audit Findings Weeks Ago (WSJ)
- North Korea fires sixth missile in three days (Reuters)
- Enron No Lesson to Traders as EU Probes Oil-Price Manipulation (BBG)
- Don't cry for me, Eurozone: Thinking the Unthinkable - Quitting a Currency (WSJ)
- H-1B Models Strut Into U.S. as Programmers Pray for Help (BBG)
- Gold Bear Bets Reach Record as Soros Cuts Holdings (BBG)
- Yahoo has agreed to pay $1.1 billion for Tumblr (WSJ)
- JPMorgan Holders Led by Chairmen-CEOs to Vote on Dimon (BBG)
- Apple faces grilling over US tax rate (FT)
- Nissan to Sell First Joint Minicar to Expand in Japan Market (BBG)
- Fierce battle for corporate loans sparks US bank risk concerns (FT)
- Microsoft Updates Xbox as Apple to Facebook Gain in Games (BBG)
- Einhorn's advice to investors: don't take my advice (Reuters)
- Next: floating dead vegetables: Chinese inflation rises on soaring vegetable prices (FT)
- The scramble for the bottom dollar is on: McDonald's, Wendy's Battle for Value-Centric Customers (WSJ)
- Cheaper iPhone coming after all: Apple supplier Pegatron boosts China workforce by 40 percent in second quarter (Reuters)
- House set to pass tactical Republican debt bill (Reuters)
- Underwriting bonanza: Goldman Said to Earn $500 Million Arranging Malaysia Bond (BBG)
- G7 finance chiefs to discuss bank reform push (Reuters)
- Big Banks Push Back Against Tighter Rules (WSJ)
- University endowments trim holdings in US Treasuries (FT)
- Ex-Pakistan PM's son abducted as Taliban threaten poll (Reuters)
- China Dowry Filled With Gold Signals Gains for Jewelers (BBG)
- As discussed here over a year ago: China inflation data shows central bank policy dilemma (Reuters)
As we reported a month ago, when we reported that Enron CEO Jeff Skilling may be released from prison early, moments ago we just learned that, to nobody's real surprise, the mastermind of the biggest US bankruptcy in the early 21st century may be behind bars for just four more years, cutting his total sentence, which was scheduled to expire in 2028, by 11 years. From Bloomberg:
- ENRON'S SKILLING AND JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REACH SENTENCE DEAL
- ENRON'S SKILLING MAY BE RELEASED IN 4 YEARS, LAWYER SAYS
- ENRON'S SKILLING WAS SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 23 YEARS IN PRISON
- ENRON SENTENCE DEAL ALLOWS OVER $40 MLN RESTITUTION PAYOUT
- ENRON'S SKILLING HELPED MASTERMIND MASSIVE FRAUD AT ENERGY FIRM
Indeed he did: which is why it is surprising he served any prison time at all. So in brief: justice for all, except for those who have $40 million set aside for "restitution payments."
QUESTION: Why do idiot shareholders think Jamie Dimon deserves to continue in the dual role of Chairman and CEO? ANSWER: "Because I am richer than you are!"
The biggest problem with the financial system is that of bad measurement. Without accurate data, no analyst can make sound investment judgments. Unfortunately for all of us, the data is gimmicked to the point that nothing is valid any longer.
As reported earlier, JPM's head commodity maven, Blythe Masters (her very rare public appearance can be seen here) suddenly finds herself in hot water for, among other things, allegedly lying under oath, obstructing justice and "engaging in a systematic cover up" to "approve schemes" seeking to defraud the states of California and Michigan in electricity trading (Enron flashbacks are more than welcome). So just who is Blythe? Most people on this site should be very familiar with her work by now (the NYT has a good recap), so instead of reconnecting the dots, we will once again dig up the presentation by one very young Ms. Master, introducing her then quite innovative product: the Credit Default Swap, titled appropriately enough "The J.P.Morgan Guide To Credit Derivatives" (by Blythe Masters). Because it is always best to let one's work speak.
One year after the infamous Jamie Dimon "tempest in a teapot" fiasco, which promptly turned out to be the biggest TBTF prop-trading desk debacle in history, things were going well for JPMorgan. On one hand, the chairman of the TBAC (and thus US Treasury advisor and policy administrator), and former LTCM trader, Matt Zames, was just recently promoted to the sole second in command post at the biggest US bank (and 2nd biggest in the world) by assets, and first in line to take over from Jamie Dimon. On the other hand, one of Mary Jo White's former co-workers, and a JPM defense attorney from Debevoise just became head of the SEC's enforcement division, in theory guaranteeing that the US government would never do more than slap the wrist of JPM in perpetuity. And then, when everything seemed like smooth sailing ahead, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) showed up on March 13, the day before Carl Levin's committee released its latest report on JPM's prop trading blunder, and according to the NYT, alleged that JPM in the past several years, quietly became nothing short than the next Enron. ... But what is worst for JPM, and its brilliant (abovementioned) employee, often times credited with creating the Credit Default Swap product and market (simply an instrument to trade credit with negligible upfront collateral and thus allow equity option-like speculation in the credit realm), is that FERC may be seeking to throw the book at none other than Blythe Masters.
- George Soros: 'What Japan is doing is actually quite dangerous because" (BBG)
- North Korea lacks means for nuclear strike on U.S., experts say (Reuters)
- Yellen latest to hint about slowing of QE3 (FT)
- Hollande approval rating hits new low (FT)
- Hollande Dismisses Reshuffle as Crisis Hits Popularity (BBG)
- Japan Upper house approves full 5 year term for BOJ gov. Kuroda (BBG)
- US: Plan to Cap Tax Breaks Is Gaining Steam (WSJ)
- BOE Says Investors May Be Taking ‘Too Rosy’ a View of Stress (BBG)
- Kiwis Say ‘Ni Hao’ as China Ties Trump Australia Sales (BBG)
- Obama Avoids Trading Threats With North Korea’s Kim (BBG)
Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling may be the latest beneficiary of the culture of pervasive permitted, even at times encouraged, crime. After being sentenced to prison for 24 years in the aftermath of Enron's spectacular 2001 bankruptcy, the former CEO may be released after serving well less than half of his term. As a result his prison term, which scheduled to end in 2028, may be cut by more than half as a result of a new agreement with the Department of Justice. It appears that AG Eric Holder is so busy not prosecuting Wall Street for being Too Big To Prosecute, he has decided it is far wiser to spend his time productively by commuting the sentences of convicted financial felons, because apparently there is nothing more important to do.
Market Reform is required for futures market like agriculture and energy to avoid the Hedge Fund and Big Bank Malfeasance.
Most people are missing the boat regarding the Netflix/SEC tangle as the more relevant issue is the seemingly “selective disclosure” on Facebook by the Netflix CEO.
James McShirley: There is no doubt the past month has been a pre-planned, coordinated attack on gold and silver.Submitted by lemetropole on 12/20/2012 12:55 -0500
Something BIG surely must be coming to justify the ferocity of the cartel. We will wait and see, and wonder where they are getting the physical to pull this off. Non-physical gold investors may come to better understand the phrase "getting Corzined".
- Egypt protests continue in crisis over Mursi powers (Reuters)
- Greece hires Deutsche, Morgan Stanley to run Greek voluntary debt buy back, sources say (Kathimerini)
- Executives' Good Luck in Trading Own Stock (WSJ)
- Hollande Presents Mittal Nationalization Among Site Options (Bloomberg)
- Eurozone states face losses on Greek debt (FT)
- Spain's rescued banks to shrink, slash jobs (Reuters)
- EU Approves Spanish Banks' Restructuring Plans (WSJ)
- At SAC, Portfolio Managers Are Treated Like Stocks (BBG)
- China considers easing family planning rules (Reuters)
- European Court to Rule Over ECB’s Secret Greek File (BusinessWeek)
- And another top tick indicator: Asia Funds Buy London Offices in Bet Volatility Is Past (Bloomberg)
- Harvard Doctor Turns Felon After Lure of Insider Trading (BBG)
- Zucker Is Lead Candidate to Head CNN (WSJ) - it's not true until CNN misreports it
- Iran "will press on with enrichment:" nuclear chief (Reuters)