When former Tyco International CEO Dennis Kozlowski was convicted for stealing $150 million in company money in 2005 on 22 criminal counts including grand larceny, conspiracy, securities fraud/sales and falsifying business records to a prison term of 8.33 to 25 years, he became the poster child for corporate greed. Shortly thereafter the entire financial system nearly collapse when everyone on Wall Street became a poster child for corporate greed and nobody went to jail. As such it became a moot point to make anyone a symbol for "corporate greed" since the Department of Justice itself admitted there is a brand new category reserved for the uber-greedy ones, also known as Too Big To Prosecute. Which is why moments ago, news broke that Kozlowski was granted parole after serving 100 months in jail, exactly nobody was surprised.
- J.P. Morgan, U.S. Reach Historic Settlement (WSJ)
- OECD cuts global growth forecast (AP)
- Guess the profit margin: Wal-Mart Touts $98 TV as Holiday Seen Weakest Since 2009 (BBG)
- Republicans defy threat, block another Obama judicial pick (Reuters)
- Fed Ponders How to Temper Tapering Without Rate Increase (BBG)
- Wall Street uses 'merchant' workaround to cling to commodity assets (Reuters)
- PBOC to ‘Basically’ End Normal Yuan Intervention, Zhou Says (BBG)
- Italy’s leader warns Germany of rise of anti-European sentiment (FT)
- Yellen Nomination for Fed Chairman to Get Vote This Week (BBG)
- As U.S. default threatened, banks took extraordinary steps (Reuters)
- NSA vowed repeatedly to fix its collection errors (AP)
Farewell Mareeaah. The Money Honey who epitomized CNBC in its high flying (pardon the pun) years when it was actually a source of useful information, has just marked the nadir of the TV station which in the past five years rebranded itself stock market propaganda central, and whose viewership plunged appropriately to a 20 year low as we recently reported. As Drudge reports, Bartiromo whose contact is up, is moving to Fox Business. From Drudge: "DRUDGE has learned that Maria Bartiromo is jumping to FOX BUSINESS NETWORK with an announcement expected sometime soon. Sources close to the situation say there have been ongoing conversations throughout the Fall. The new deal calls for Bartiromo to anchor a daily market hours program on FOX BUSINESS. Insiders say there will be a role on FOXNEWS as well."
David Stockman has never been shy of expressing his true feelings (about Bernanke's "Born Again Jobs Scam", Calamity Janet Yellen, Obamacare's resentment-encouraging rollout, and the entire Keynesian state wreck ahead). But this time, he aims his acerbic ire at the "markets." During a brief interview on FOX Business, the author of The Age of Deformation exclaimed "There’s no one in the stock market today except drugged-up day-traders and robots... This is utterly irrational." The blame (and benefactors) are clear, he blasts, "how could someone in their right mind believe that you can have interest rates... at zero for nine years?... That is the greatest gift to the speculators, to the 1%, to the leveraged traders, to the carry trade ever imagined!" He concludes, "we're almost on the edge of another explosion at the present time."
David Asman: What happens now? If it’s Yellin she'll be like Bernanke on steroids. What does that mean for our economy?
Dr Paul: Prepare for the destruction of the dollar and the crash of the bond market one day. The bond bubble is weakening although the interest rates have doubled in the last year.
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The name Robert Khuzami is well-known to Zero Hedge readers: the former top SEC enforcer is perhaps best known not for what he did (judging by how many Wall Street bank executives ended up in jail following the Great Financial Crisis, very little), but for what he didn't - namely pursue any action against his former employer, Deutsche Bank, where he was a general counsel and where under his watch Greg Lippmann was "shorting your house." The reason, among others, extensive deferred comp linked to DB stock as we reported all the way back in May 2010. But Bob didn't care about what he did, or didn't do at the SEC - he was much more interested in what he would do after he left the regulator, which he did in January of this year. Because Bob, courtesy of his DB days, realized the massive paycheck potential of a revolving door job at the head of the government's enforcement unit. Sure enough, as the NYT reports, he has capitalized on just that following a $5 million a year contract (with a 2 year guarantee) with legal behemoth Kirkland & Ellis where he will be a partner and "will represent some of the same corporations that the S.E.C. oversees."
Call it what you will, a handshake or a parachute; the result is all the same. The rest of us just get elbow out of the way as we get pushed through the back door. The top executives leave by the front door and to boot they hop into a chauffeur-driven car (paid by the company, of course) as they drive off into the sunset. To parachute someone: send them elsewhere, relocate them, bundle them off, pack them off or dispatch.
Until now, we have refrained from trying to explain Fedspeak to the masses. The truth is it's not opaque. It's not indecipherable. It's simple. Or at least you can choose to believe it is, as we have. At last week’s press conference, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke fielded questions from reporters employed by some of the world's most esteemed news organizations. Here is a summary, translated from Fedspeak into ordinary American English and heavily condensed for easy tweeting.
The state of Arizona may become the second state to use gold and silver coins as legal tender. Last week, Arizona lawmakers passed a bill that makes precious metals legal tender. Arizona is the second state after Utah to allow gold coins created by the U.S. Mint and private mints to be used as currency. Utah has had the law on the books for the past 2 years and is working on a system for using the precious metals as currency. The Arizona Senate Bill 1439 would allow the holder of gold or silver coins or bullion to pay a debt. However, the coins must be issued by the U.S. government or approved by a court, like an American Eagle Coin. Oddly the government does not require that persons or business must use or accept gold or silver as legal tender in contravention of the U.S. Constitution. The sponsor of the bill, Republican Sen. Chester Crandell, would need a final state Senate vote after approval by the House, and if passed the law would not take effect until 2014. Crandell said, "The whole thing came from constituents".
So far, Cyprus has not been able to pass a direct tax against depositors and has gone to Russia for a helping hand (and failed). However, the question of whether such an event could happen in the U.S. is a much more interesting point of discussion. While to most onlookers the idea of a direct deposit tax instituted by domestic US banks remains far off - the issue of the Fed's monetary policies, particularly since the last recession, has had a significant impact on "savers." While the individuals in Cyprus have been faced with an outright extraction of capital from their accounts - U.S. savers have had their savings negatively impacted much more surreptitiously. The continued drive by the Fed's monetary policies to artificially suppress interest rates to create a negative interest rate environment for savers is a defacto "tax" on savings. The destruction of principal since the turn of the century, which is far more disastrous than it appears when adjusted for inflation, has ended the dream of retirement for many individuals. So, can the U.S. potentially have a direct tax on savings? It's already happened.
They didn't see it coming last time either. Back in 2007, President Bush, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and just about every prominent voice in the financial world were all predicting that we would experience tremendous economic prosperity well into the future. In fact, as late as January 2008 Bernanke boldly declared that "the Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession." At the time, only the "doom and gloomers" were warning that everything was about to fall apart. And of course we all know what happened. But just a few short years later, history seems to be repeating itself. All of our "leaders" swear that everything is going to be okay. You can believe them if you want, but denial is not just a river in Egypt, and another crash is inevitably coming.
While it has been a while since Charlie Gasparino broke anything material, and is why we urge readers to take this news with a grain of salt, the report that CNBC's Gary Kaminsky would be leaving the Comcast channel and his role as capital markets editor and heading to Morgan Stanley as vice chair of its brokerage division would make sense, and would certainly explain the quite amicable relationship between CNBC, its various anchors, and the B-grade brokerage.
Gold bullion for delivery in December climbed as high as 1.2% to 5,000 yen per gram on the TOCOM. In ounce terms, the yen fell to 155,180/oz against gold, its highest level since 1980. According to the data on Bloomberg, the all-time record high for gold priced in yen was 204,850 yen on January 21, 1980. Thus, yen gold remains 33% below the record intraday nominal high from 1980. Given the Japanese determination to devalue the yen to escape deflation, the record nominal high will almost certainly be reached in the coming months. Platinum also climbed 2.7% to 5,130 yen per gram for the same month, the highest level for the most-active contract since May of 2010.
No one typifies the bullish euphoria of the last year better than Appaloosa's David Tepper (except perhaps Laszlo Birinyi). It appears, however, that everyone's favorite perma-bull is up to his old tricks again. The manager who infamously opened his mouth about how he couldn't be more "balls to the wall" bullish of US financials - and then proceeded to reduce his positions notably in the quarter following that media appearance - has seemingly done it again. His appearances earlier this month on CNBC and Bloomberg were both full of hubris and arrogance as he encouraged the world to grab financial stocks with both hands and feet. However, as Fox Business' Charlie Gasparino reported yesterday, Tepper's Appaloosa is now seeking bids (to unwind a long position) for $400mm of European bank debt - doesn't seem so balls-to-the-wall bullish to us? With two weeks left to the great unveiling of the Q4 13Fs, we wait anxiously to see just how big Tepper's 'balls at the wall' really were/are.