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Bank Fraud

Several years ago, I was writing about the financial crisis, but I got away from the topic. Unclear why, but I did. It is a good thing that Matt Tiabbi is still on the case. I saw that JP Morgan Chase was about to agree to a $13 Billion settlement. Why?

From Matt:

A lot of people all over the world are having opinions now about the ostensibly gigantic $13 billion settlement Jamie Dimon and JP Morgan Chase have entered into with the government.

The general consensus from most observers in the finance sector is that this superficially high-dollar settlement – worth about half a year’s profits for Chase – is an unconscionable Marxist appropriation. It’s been called a “robbery” and a “shakedown,” in which red Obama and his evil henchman Eric Holder confiscated cash from a successful bank, as The Wall Street Journal wrote, “for no other reason than because they can and because they want to appease their left-wing populist allies.”

Look, there’s no denying that this is a lot of money. It’s the biggest settlement in the history of government settlements, and it’s just one company to boot. But this has been in the works for a long time, and it’s been in the works for a reason. This whole thing, lest anyone forget, has its genesis in a couple of state Attorneys General (including New York’s Eric Schneiderman and Delaware’s Beau Biden) not wanting to sign off on any deal with the banks that didn’t also address the root causes of the crisis, in particular the mass fraud surrounding the sale and production of subprime mortgage securities.

I have no problem with the Justice Department going after JP Morgan Chase. These guys committed fraud. This is what we must understand. Wall Street committed fraud on a large scale. 

Here’s what Matt added:

First of all, the settlement, as the folks at Better Markets have pointed out, may wipe out between $100 billion and $200 billion in potential liability – meaning that the bank might just have settled “for ten cents or so on the dollar.” The Federal Housing Finance Agency alone was suing Chase and its affiliates for $33 billion. The trustee in the ongoing Bernie Madoff Ponzi scandal was suing Chase for upwards of $19 billion.

Obviously, those plaintiffs may never have gotten that kind of money out of Chase. But just settling the mere potential of so much liability has huge value for the bank. It’s part of the reason the company’s share price hasn’t exactly cratered since the settlement was announced.

Moreover, the settlement is only $9 billion in cash, with $4 billion earmarked for “mortgage relief.” Again, as Better Markets noted, we’ve seen settlements with orders of mortgage relief before, and banks seem to have many canny ways of getting out of the spirit of these requirements.

Look, if this settlement goes thru, you know that it will be in the best interest of JP Morgan Chase. IF this goes thru, look for the rest of Wall Street to run and figure out how to settle their issues, also. 

By |2013-11-03T16:44:34-04:00November 1st, 2013|Economy|Comments Off on Bank Fraud

What are your five funniest movies of all time?

So I was talking with my brother and somehow we got on the topic of movies. I challenged him to tell me the movies he considers the five funniest of all time.

  1. Blazing Saddles
  2. Caddyshack
  3. Monty Python’s Meaning of Life
  4. Coming to America
  5. National Lampoon’s Vacation

Here’s the sheriff arrival scene from Blazing Saddles. (BTW, I don’t think that I typed my brother’s preferences in order.) What do you think? What would you add or subtract?

JW adds his list –

  1. Seven Chances
  2. Princess Bride
  3. Rocketman
  4. The Kid (1921)
  5. It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World


By |2012-07-27T23:38:48-04:00July 27th, 2012|Movies|26 Comments

California Fire – Day 3

Well, as usual, the media can’t focus on teh important stuff.  Now, we have stories about how sweet Qualcomm stadium is.  We have stories about dogs and llamas.  Houses are still burning.  Bush has declared a state of emergency.

Below is a video of the images from Countdown.  Keith Olbermann has usual does a great job at introducing the topic then stepping back.

One California blogger has compared the area of Southern California that has been burned to the size of Manhattan (hint:  the area of destruction is bigger)

There is an interesting personal account here.

By |2013-11-03T18:47:35-04:00October 25th, 2007|California Wildfires, Countdown|Comments Off on California Fire – Day 3
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