There was a time when Jamie Dimon liked everyone to believe that his JPMorgan had a "fortress balance sheet", that he was disgusted when the US government "forced" a bailout on it, and that no matter what the market threw its way it would be just fine, thanks. Then the London Whale came, saw, and promptly blew up the "fortress" lie. But while JPM's precarious balance sheet was no surprise to anyone (holding over $50 trillion in gross notional derivatives will make fragile fools of the best of us), what has become a bigger problem for Dimon is that slowly but surely JPM has not only become a bigger litigation magnet than Bank of America, but questions are now emerging if all of the firm's recent success wasn't merely due to crime. Crime of the kind that "nobody accept or denies guilt" of course - i.e., completely victimless. Except for all the fines and settlements. Here is a summary of JPM's recent exorbitant and seemingly endless fines.
- Biggest Banks Face Fed Restoring Barriers in Commodities (BBG)
- SAC to Employees: Cohen Didn't Read Dell Email at Heart of SEC's Case (WSJ)
- Second (and Third) liens are back, and so is 2005: As Banks Retreat, Hedge Funds Smell Profit (WSJ)
- Singapore funds benefit from Asian wealth (FT)
- 2 years later the lies haven't changed one bit - Tepco hit over slow admission of radioactive leak (FT)
- How big tech stays offline on tax (Reuters)
- Hilton Leads Rush to Africa in Fastest Boom (BBG)
- U.S. and UK fine high-speed trader for manipulation (Reuters)
- Key witness takes stand in SEC case against Goldman's Tourre (Reuters)
- Boomer Sex With Dementia Foreshadowed in Nursing Home (BBG)
- Bentley SUV gives £800m boost to UK car industry (FT)
“All warfare is based on deception.” – Sun Tzu
One of the prime reasons why the Middle East holds such importance to the West is partiality because it is the main supplier of oil and natural gas to countries in the West. Over the past several decades Western countries had few, if any, options other than to purchase its oil and gas from Middle Eastern oil producing nations despite the headaches that came with it. Headaches, for example, that’s included political unrest, turmoil and strife. But now with the newly found fields of oil and gas in Central Asian countries that are only the beginning of what may lie in these vast oil fields of the steppes and the Caucuses, there may be options.
While anti-depressant use is surging in Sweden (up 1000% since 1980), bursting in Britain (up 495% since 1991), and up an astounding 400% since 1994 in the USA (with 1 in 10 on some kind of 'prozac'), it is the poor-old Nigerians that should really be complaining. Based on seven variables, Bloomberg has scored 74 nations around the world for their "stressed-out" factor and finds the USA to be 54th (so stop whining and suck it up), Norway the least stressed-out of all and El Salvador and South Africa at the top with Nigeria (with the roiling Egyptians ranking 15th).
The perception of natural gas as a mainstream fuel for vehicles runs the gamut, dependent upon where you live: from the improbable... to the viable... to the everyday reality. So here are ten points to stir up the melding pot of the great natural gas vehicle debate.
With the situation in Egypt continuing to border on sheer chaos, many wonder what approach the US will take, so far having demonstrated its inability to decide how to swallow the humiliation of having a US-backed regime get swept away in a military coup while it continues supporting the country with both money and weapons. But while the State Department dithers, its head busy boating somewhere off the coast of Massachussetts, the US military is not wasting much time, and appears to be amassing a naval presence just off the coast of Egypt. No need to worry, though: Egypt's Ahram reports that "the US Embassy in Egypt denied Saturday that US naval vessels near Egypt's shores are sent in preparation for military action. A top Marine Corps general said Thursday that two US marine vessels approached Egypt's Red Sea shore, raising concerns in the Egyptian media about an imminent military move." "We deny false claims in the Egyptian press that US naval ships are in the vicinity of the Arabian Peninsula and the Suez Canal to militarily invade Egypt," read a statement issued on the US embassy's website.
Gasoline RBOB price moves are ridiculous. RBOB closes Friday above 40 cents from the price on July 1st without any major news like 5 refiners exploding, or a major hurricane...
In the years 2006 and 2007, the underlying stability of the global economy and the U.S. credit base in particular was experiencing intense scrutiny by alternative economic analysts. A crash was coming, it was coming soon, and most of our society was either too stupid to recognize the problem or too frightened to accept the reality they knew was just over the horizon. Why did 2008 creep up on so many people? Weren’t there plenty of economists out there “preaching to the choir” at that time? Weren’t there plenty of signals? Weren’t there plenty of practical conclusions being made about the future? And yet, the world was left stunned. The truth is, human beings have a nasty habit of ignoring the cold hard facts of the present in the hopes of using apathy as a magical elixir for future prosperity. They want to believe that disaster is a mindset, that it is a boogeyman under their bed that can be defeated through blind optimism. Collapse, from a historical perspective, seems to occur when the searchlights of the individual mind are dimmest, when the threat is the greatest, and when we are most comfortable in our ignorance.
Following the most recent shift 'away' from a USD-centric world (with the China-Australia direct currency convertibility), it seems the possibility of China's Yuan as the next global reserve currency is getting closer. The Brits, Germans, and now the Swiss (who just signed a free-trade-agreement with China) are all actively vying to become Europe's Yuan trading hub as it seems the long line of developments to internationalize the currency over the past two years. As Bundesbank board member Joachim Nagel noted in a speech entitled "Reniminbi as a potential reserve currency" this week, "the Chinese currency is well on its way to becoming one of the future global reserve currencies." He noted that, although the USD is still the most commonly-used currency for settling trade with China; from virtually zero in 2010, the Yuan is used to settle over 12% of trading transactions now - and is likley to increase further.
As the pro-Morsi Islamist coalition calls for widespread protests on Sunday against the military coup that just occurred in their nation, Al Jazeera is reporting that Mohamed ElBaradei (infamous for his strong stance against the US as UN nuclear watchdog amid the Iran WMD controversy) has accepted the role of interim Prime Minister. Following the last few days violence, where dozens have been killed post-coup, we suspect the Islamist coalition will be even more antagonized by this next step. Of course, realistically, until the US decides which side it wants to commit to, nothing will settle down in the re-couping nation.
Whether or not you believe PMs will serve as the ultimate store of wealth as the global fiat monetary system collapses should have absolutely no bearing on making the intelligent decision to remove your financial assets from under the domain and inevitable confiscation of global bankers and their State-run tyrannies. Independence Day is a fine day to start the process of taking back our freedoms from the tyrants that rule over us.
Egypt’s Support for Intervention in Syria Was the Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back
Our interventionist foreign policy is the gift that keeps on giving. Here are 15 photos from the Tahrir Square protests you'll likely not see in the mainstream media...
The volatility of recent weeks is but a mere small taste of the volatility in store for all markets in the coming months and years. The global debt crisis is likely to continue for the rest of the decade as politicians and central bankers have merely delayed the day of reckoning. They have ensured that when the day of reckoning comes it will be even more painful and costly then it would have been previously.