Donald Trump’s connections to Russian organized crime is getting greater scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller and his team. Trump’s association with a known convicted felon could lead to charges against Trump for financial fraud. Earlier this week in Brooklyn Federal Court, a lawyer representing an investigative reporter requested that the documents related to Slater’s …
Tag: Financial Fraud
Anytime that Congress passes a bill with a cute acronym, you should be very suspicious. ~ Chris Hayes
Last week Congress passed the Jump Start Our Business Startups Act (pdf), the JOBS Act, which is set to be signed into law with much fanfare by President Obama despite the fact that it will in all probability create an explosion of financial fraud. The act rolls back many of the regulations that were passed under Sarbanes-Oxley in 2002. Professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Bill Black wrote an outstanding article for the New Economic Perspectives that was cross posted at naked capitalism, explaining with clarity how the jumpstart Obama’s Bucket Shops Act is just another in a long series of fraud-promoting legislation. He closed with this analysis:
We have trashed a regulatory system that was the envy of the world. It helped bring us prosperity, far greater economic stability, fewer and less severe recessions, and reduced income inequality. It made freer enterprise possible because the regulatory cops on the beat helped limit the Gresham’s dynamic in which bad ethics drives good ethics out of the marketplace. When frauds prosper honest businesses are among the victims. The three de’s have brought us recurrent, intensifying financial crises, the end of any material gains by the middle class, losses for the working class, the expansion of poverty and extreme inequality, and the domination of our political system by crony capitalism. Elite fraud and corruption are now common in America.
The entire article is a must read.
During a panel discussion on Up with Chris Hayes, Prof. Black and Alexis Goldstein of Occupy the SEC “educated” Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney, who represents the the Upper East Side constituency of top Wall Street earners, on just how bad this bill is. As Yves Smith observes, “it is pretty hard to imagine that Carolyn Maloney would do anything that would seriously inconvenience her constituency”:
You need to watch the full segment to get the effect, but Maloney starts out by saying that the JOBS Act probably won’t create many jobs, but she was nevertheless getting complaints about how costly it was for “small” businesses to hire auditors (earth to base, if they are public, they would not qualify as “small” in most people’s book). Goldsmith devastates Maloney with her command of the bill, pointing out that it covers companies of up to $1 billion in revenues, that the tech companies its backers keep invoking have VC firms ready and willing to invest, and the new format well be used by PE firms flipping companies they had taken private back to public investors. By the end, Maloney is telling Goldsmith to send her suggestions for improved legislation and she’ll put it forward (I’ll believe her sincerity when I see action).
Yves is right, Alexis shreds Carolyn. Watch this segment, it is a thing of beauty.
Prof. Black also explains “stump & dump” scams and “cloud financing” that can cause devastating losses and won’t create any jobs.
Rep. Damon Silvers, a member of the independent Congressional Oversight Panel, asked what is probably the most important question facing America today.
We can either have a rational resolution to the foreclosure crisis or we can preserve the capital structure of the banks. We can’t do both.
Which should we do?
The question doesn’t sound all that ominous, but it is. In essence we must chose between protecting the TooBigToFail Wall Street banks, or the rule of law.
That may sound overly dramatic, and I wouldn’t blame you if that was your initial reaction, but surprisingly the choice really is that simple.
Eighteen months ago William Black was interviewed by Bill Moyers on PBS. The subject of the interview was fraud.
WILLIAM K. BLACK – when we look at these liar’s loans, we find 90 percent fraud. 90 percent. And we find that most of the frauds are not induced by the borrower, but they’re overwhelmingly done by the loan brokers.
No real questions asked. Certainly no answers checked. In fact, we just had hearings last week about WaMu, which is also a huge player in these frauds. Washington Mutual, which used to make, run all those ads making fun of bankers who, because they were stuffy and looked at loan quality before they made a loan. Well, WaMu didn’t do any of that stuff. And of course, WaMu had just massive failures. And who got in trouble at WaMu? Who got in trouble at Lehman? You got in trouble if you told the truth. They fired the people who found the problems. They promoted the people that caused the problem, and they gave them massive bonuses.
It wasn’t just low-level employees. Matthew Lee, vice-president of Lehman Brothers, was fired without advanced notice for trying to expose the fraud in his company. It’s what Black refers to as “control fraud”.
This was all known in the months after the 2008 collapse, yet there hasn’t been a single, solitary executive sent to jail for causing this disaster. So why should anyone be surprised that the fraud on Wall Street has continued to get worse?
The war in Afghanistan, which we are losing, is costing us $133 million a DAY. That’s right, $133 million a day. That’s over 5.5 million dollars an HOUR, every hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, forever and ever.
Why forever and ever? Because we’re losing, not winning.
Says who, you might ask? Some hand-wringing “liberal”? No, none other than General Stanley McChrystal, the warmongering, warcriminal in charge of the whole mess for the Americans.
The top American commander in Afghanistan declared that the Taliban are winning in Afghanistan in a startling interview published Monday – a striking contrast to the “Mission Accomplished” rhetoric of the Bush Administration as regards Iraq.
His remarks appear carefully tailored to lower expectations and shift public opinion in support of operations in the war-torn country where few foreign powers have ever seen victory. The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when they were routed by a US invasion.
Currently, US operations in Afghanistan cost taxpayers about $4 billion a month. That comes to roughly $133 million per day, or $5.5 million per hour.
Yeah, but we can’t afford anything here. California is broke, prisons are melting down as prisoners riot for hours on end, schools are firing teachers, the entire social safety net is being set afire ….. why, so we spend money instead losing in Afghanistan?
Of course this begs the question: why would the top General there actually admit to losing the war? Well of course because we’re not spending enough money there yet. And we’re not killing enough American troops! So we need more American troops to sacrifice to the volcano gods of war:
McChrystal’s interview also appeared designed to augment support for increasing troop levels in parts of Afghanistan. Since President Barack Obama took office, the Pentagon has increased the number of US troops in the country. The strategy described suggests a “hearts and minds” approach which favors securing civilian areas rather than focusing on full-frontal engagement with militants.
“It’s a very aggressive enemy right now,” the paper quoted Gen. McChrystal as saying. “We’ve got to stop their momentum, stop their initiative. It’s hard work.”
The interview also quotes unnamed US officials arguing for a further increase in US troops.
Now to win an unwinnable war? Spend more money. Kill more boys. Sure. That works every time. These people learn nothing from history. Their egos are so huge they think they cannot lose, and the only reason they are losing is because those jerks in Washington aren’t giving them what they need! Goddamn those jerks in Washington! They’re not there man, they don’t know what it’s like!
Well, here’s what it’s like for some of the Afghani people we’re spending $5 million bucks an hour killing:
Killing children doesn’t come cheap. Hell, you can’t do it here without getting in serious trouble! But in Afghanistan, you can use the highest tech weaponry in the history of mankind to kill children and it’s just A-OK and the government will keep giving you more!
..the Bush Family is so heavily connected and is so interwoven with this systemic fraud, they’re concerned about a cascade effect within the public. They don’t mind if one incident comes out that they can point to it as an isolated incident. What they’re concerned about is the public beginning to understand the level of corruption that exists within all agencies of government and the intricate connection the Bush family has had to this fraud over the decades.
-Al Martin (author of The Conspirators: Secrets of an IranContra Insider)
For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence–on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.
– President John F. Kennedy
Secrecy is the slayer of liberty, it is the essence of which dictatorships are made, of which free societies are suffocated by and of which people are subjugated by. When that secrecy becomes institutionalized in the most powerful corridors of government then it is only a matter of time until that government becomes a weapon of the powerful to be used against the people. Today, in mid-2009 we here in the United States of America (or at least those of us who are awake) are bearing witness to the last vestiges of a once vibrant democracy slowly strangled to death by a deeply embedded culture of secrecy. There has been a hijacking of the intentions of the founders who envisioned a free people by a corrupt and immoral oligarchy and those who serve it. It is backed by the rise of a high-tech police state built on on our backs and enforced by Big Brother style surveillance, incessant propaganda and the vicious undercurrent of social manipulation in order to sow the seeds of hatred necessary for divisiveness and ignorance that are protection for the gangster state.
Just a few thoughts this miserable Monday on the lemming farm as Goldman’s record earnings are about to be announced and the Republican pigs are shovelling bloody read meat to their dumber than a bucket of shit racist base over the Sotomayor hearings. There is a very good article by Paul Krugman in the damned librul New York Times today on the state of the economic fallout from the decades long class war. In Krugman’s piece, Boiling the Frog he is once again on the mark about Obama’s failings in propping up the looter capitalist system at the expense of the regular Americans.
“Well, let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet. …”
A quick Google search brings up in the neighborhood of 28,000,000 results for the masterfully concocted propaganda term “Green Shoots”. Just when it appeared that looter capitalism was on the ropes with Jim ‘Mad Money’ Cramer being exposed as a preposterous fraud who shilled for the Wall Street casinos and angry mobs were descending on the homes of AIG bankers the oligarchy went to the mattresses to save their spoils system. Helicopter Ben came out and launched the first fusillade of this malarkey on his 60 Minutes interview of March 15th. This on the heels of the now famous leaked internal memo from Citigroup CEO Vikram ‘the Bandit’ Pandit that spoke of wonders of money falling from the sky and the healthy quarterly results of his banking colossus and the pure hit of optimism opium was picked up and run with by the corporate public relations armies and their pocket media. The crack ho economy received the kiss of the sweet, sweet spike and it’s been to the moon Alice ever since. But it’s all a big lie of Hitlerian proportions.
Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
-H. L. Mencken
The previously discredited CNBC ace shill Jim ‘Mad Money’ Cramer has now become the point man for the regenerated Wall Street hydra, launching into a sleazy Rovian war with a real life economist who actually got it right in predicting the collapse Nouriel Roubini. Roubini, a man who was from the outset mocked, scorned and derisively labeled ‘Dr. Doom’ by the same type of four-flushing assholes who brought us Deep Capture has been declared public enemy number one and must be taken out with extreme prejudice for the big con to succeed. The oafish court jester of looter capitalism is now back with a vengeance as he according to this piece by Frank Rich of the damned liberal New York Times states in his recent piece Awake and Sing!:
“I am pronouncing the depression over!” declared CNBC’s irrepressible Jim Cramer on April 2. The next day the unemployment rate, already at the highest level in 25 years, jumped yet again, but Cramer wasn’t thinking about the 663,000 jobs that disappeared in March. He was thinking about the market. Mad money. Fast money. Big money. The Dow, after all, has rallied in the weeks since Timothy Geithner announced his bank bailout 2.0. Par-tay! On Wednesday, Cramer rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, in celebration of the 1,000th broadcast of his nightly stock-tip jamboree.
The history of the last century shows, as we shall see later, that the advice given to governments by bankers, like the advice they gave to industrialists, was consistently good for bankers, but was often disastrous for governments, businessmen, and the people generally.
As the conventional wisdom goes, the stock market is predicated on trust and as a crusty old uncle of mine once said to a young and impressionable teenager with zero knowledge of the way that the world really worked: “trust me is just another two letter word that means the same as fuck you.” Old Uncle Harvey’s words of wisdom came home to roost on this Monday morning in America when the finance oligarchs were able to use their inside juice to pull off the grandest and most audacious heist yet in this season of sleazy swindles. Obama Treasury Secretary and Wall Street fixer Timothy Geithner delivered the bacon for the bankers, gave the crack ho stock market a wonderful and intoxicating fix that sent the Dow screaming up by nearly 7 percent in a matter of hours and locked in the losses for the great grandchildren of every poor schmuck with the misfortune to be living through this period of plunder and wealth consolidation.