Thursday, May 15, 2014

6 Years After the Financial Crisis Hit, The Big Banks Are Still Committing Massive Crimes

The Big Picture : 6 Years After the Financial Crisis Hit, The Big Banks Are Still Committing Massive Crimes

= A great compilation of the crimes of Big Banks by Barry Ritholtz =

"Here are just some of the improprieties by big banks over the last century (you’ll see that many shenanigans are continuing today):

    Laundering money for terrorists (the HSBC employee who blew the whistle on the banks’ money laundering for terrorists and drug cartels says that the giant bank is still laundering money, saying: “The public needs to know that money is still being funneled through HSBC to directly buy guns and bullets to kill our soldiers …. Banks financing … terrorists affects every single American.” He also said: “It is disgusting that our banks are STILL financing terror on 9/11 2013“. And see this.  This has been going on for decades.  For example, Bank of America funneled massive amounts of money to BCCI – itself connected with the CIA – and, according to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations, BCCI in turn funneled huge sums of money to Bin Laden and other terrorists)

    Financing illegal arms deals, and funding the manufacture of cluster bombs (and see this and this) and other arms which are banned in most of the world

    Handling money for rogue military operations

    Laundering money for drug cartels. See this, this, this, this and this (indeed, drug dealers kept the banking system afloat during the depths of the 2008 financial crisis). A whistleblower said: “America is losing the drug war because our banks are [still] financing the cartels“, and “Banks financing drug cartels … affects every single American“. And see this.  This is actually a decades-old practice)

    Funding the Nazis (while we’re referring to funding the original Nazis many decades ago, the U.S. is now backing the neo-Nazis in Ukraine, and banks are undoubtedly involved in some of the support)

    Launching a coup against the President of the United States (an old – but vital – story)

    Engaging in mafia-style big-rigging fraud against local governments. See this, this and this

    Shaving money off of virtually every pension transaction they handled over the course of decades, stealing collectively billions of dollars from pensions worldwide. Details here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here

    Manipulating aluminum and copper prices

    Manipulating gold prices … on a daily basis

    Charging “storage fees” to store gold bullion … without even buying or storing any gold . And raiding allocated gold accounts

    Committing massive and pervasive fraud both when they initiated mortgage loans and when they foreclosed on them (and see this)

    Pledging the same mortgage multiple times to different buyers. See this, this, this, this and this. This would be like selling your car, and collecting money from 10 different buyers for the same car

    Cheating homeowners by gaming laws meant to protect people from unfair foreclosure

    Committing massive fraud in an $800 trillion dollar market which effects everything from mortgages, student loans, small business loans and city financing

    Manipulating the hundred trillion dollar derivatives market

    Engaging in insider trading of the most important financial information

    Pushing investments which they knew were terrible, and then betting against the same investments to make money for themselves. See this, this, this, this and this

    Engaging in unlawful “frontrunning” to manipulate markets. See this, this, this, this, this and this

    Engaging in unlawful “Wash Trades” to manipulate asset prices. See this, this and this

    Manipulating corporate bonds through derivatives schemes

    Otherwise manipulating virtually every market

    Participating in various Ponzi schemes. See this, this and this

    Charging veterans unlawful mortgage fees

    Helping the richest to illegally hide assets

    Cooking their books (and see this)

    Bribing and bullying ratings agencies to inflate ratings on their risky investments

    Violently cracking down on peaceful protesters

The executives of the big banks invariably pretend that the hanky-panky was only committed by a couple of low-level rogue employees. But studies show that most of the fraud is committed by management.

Indeed, one of the world’s top fraud experts – professor of law and economics, and former senior S&L regulator Bill Black – says that most financial fraud is “control fraud”, where the people who own the banks are the ones who implement systemic fraud. See this, this and this.

Even the bank with the reputation as being the “best managed bank” in the U.S., JP Morgan, has engaged in massive fraud. For example, the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a report today quoting an examiner at the Office of Comptroller of the Currency – JPMorgan’s regulator – saying he felt the bank had “lied to” and “deceived” the agency over the question of whether the bank had mismarked its books to hide the extent of losses. And Joshua Rosner – noted bond analyst, and Managing Director at independent research consultancy Graham Fisher & Co – notes that JP Morgan had many similar anti money laundering laws violations as HSBC, failed to segregate accounts a la MF Global, and paid almost 12% of its 2009-12 net income on regulatory and legal settlements.

But at least the big banks do good things for society, like loaning money to Main Street, right?


    The big banks no longer do very much traditional banking. Most of their business is from financial speculation. For example, less than 10% of Bank of America’s assets come from traditional banking deposits. Instead, they are mainly engaged in financial speculation and derivatives. (and see this)

    The big banks have slashed lending since they were bailed out by taxpayers … while smaller banks have increased lending. See this, this and this

    Virtually all of the banks’ profits comes from taxpayer bailouts. For example, 77% of JP Morgan’s net income comes from taxpayer subsidies

    The big banks are looting, killing the economy … and waging war on the people of the world

    And our democracy and republican form of government as well

Indeed, top experts say that fraud caused the Great Depression and the 2008 crisis, and that failing to rein in fraud is dooming our economy.

We can almost understand why Thomas Jefferson warned:

    And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies ….

John Adams said:

    Banks have done more injury to religion, morality, tranquillity, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they have done or ever will do good.

And Lord Acton argued:

    The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.

No wonder a stunning list of prominent economists, financial experts and bankers say we need to break up the big banks."

War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, and Ignorance Is Strength | The Big Picture

War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, and Ignorance Is Strength | The Big Picture

"American Public Turns Anti-War … Warmongers Desperately Reply, “But War Is GOOD for Us!”

The American people are now overwhelmingly opposed to more war in Ukraine, Syria, Iran and elsewhere.

Those who get rich from war (the military-industrial complexers and big banks) and their lackeys are desperate to reverse this trend.

As such, they are resorting to more and more outlandish justifications for war.

For example, Ian Morris has written an entire book arguing that war is the best thing ever, the only thing which has lifted us out of poverty and barbarianism. And – yes – he even says that war brings peace.

David Swanson provides a must-read dismantling of Morris’ book.

Morris writes this week in the Washington Post:

War has not only made us safer, but richer, too.
In reality, security experts – conservative hawks and liberal doves alike – agree that waging war in the Middle East weakens national security and increases terrorism. See this, this, this, this, this, this and this. So it doesn’t make us safer.

And there is now overwhelming evidence that war is horrible for the economy, and makes us poorer

Morris continues:

Thinkers have long grappled with the relationships among
peace, war and strength. Thomas Hobbes wrote his case for strong
government, “Leviathan,” as the English Civil War raged around him in
the 1640s.
In reality, Hobbes was an authoritarian who argued – just like (1)
the leading Nazi legal scholar and philosopher who created the
justification for “total war” to destroy those labeled an “enemy” of the
Nazi state (Carl Schmitt), (2) Machiavelli, and (3) the father of the Neoconservatives (Leo Strauss) – that the public should be intentionally whipped into a frenzy of fear so that they would be willing to give up their rights and cede their freedoms to the sovereign.

Indeed, Morris accidentally reveals that he is cut from the exact same cloth when he states:

People almost never give up their freedoms — including, at times, the right to kill and impoverish one another — unless forced to do so.
In other words, freedom bad … authoritarian leader good.

Morris writes:

Since 1914, we have endured world wars, genocides and
government-sponsored famines, not to mention civil strife, riots and
murders. Altogether, we have killed a staggering 100 million to 200
million of our own kind. But over the century, about 10 billion lives
were lived — which means that just 1 to 2 percent of the world’s
population died violently. Those lucky enough to be born in the 20th
century were on average 10 times less likely to come to a grisly end
than those born in the Stone Age.
In other words,  War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, and Ignorance Is Strength."

Wall Street Has Always Been Corrupt Or About To Be Corrupted | Zero Hedge

Wall Street Has Always Been Corrupt Or About To Be Corrupted | Zero Hedge

Review of  Michael Lewis' "Flash Boys"

"The smartest guys in the room are figuring out ways to steal you blind
in the financial markets, pilfer your personal information, spy on your
electronic communications, and censor your right to free speech by
taking away your ability to communicate freely on the internet."

"The technology being peddled to the masses by mega-corporations is
designed to keep people amused, apathetic, distracted and uninterested
in thinking critically."

"Those who haven’t been brainwashed by media propaganda or amused to
death by technology, are kept in check by thousands of laws, statutes,
and regulations, enforced by millions of government bureaucrats and
police state thugs. Technology is used by the state as a means of
control, surveillance, censorship, and bilking the populace of their
wealth. .. And while the government is keeping you under their thumb, Wall Street shysters are stealing you blind."

" ...Flash Boys ... revealed about the inner
workings of Wall Street, the wasting of human intelligence on
technological schemes to defraud the public, and the utter level of
corruptness in the government agencies supposed to protect the public
from the vultures in the financial industry feasting on the carcasses of
dupes who still believe the “stocks for the long run” drivel
regurgitated incessantly by the bimbos and slime balls on CNBC. The
concepts of right and wrong, moral and immoral, honesty and dishonesty,
and truth and lies are all purposefully blurred in shades of grey by
those in power, in a blatant attempt to maintain and expand their vast
wealth, immense power and complete governing control.

Michael Lewis focuses on our warped, rigged financial system, but his
insights apply across the board to our entire society. Our economic,
financial, political, regulatory, and judicial systems are all rigged.
This serves the interests of the Deep State, Invisible Government,
Oligarchs, Owners, or whatever other term you choose to describe the
obscenely wealthy minority controlling this country. The existing
establishment will never willingly change the system because it serves
their myopic gluttonous interests."

"The average person believes the stock
market is run on free market principles, with willing buyers and
sellers paying and receiving the most efficient price with regards to
their transactions. The American people have put their trust in
gargantuan bureaucratic government agencies, funded with their tax
dollars, to protect their interests and fight for their rights in the
financial marketplace. They innocently believe a private bank – The
Federal Reserve – owned and controlled by the Too Big To Trust Wall
Street Mega-Banks, is actually enforcing regulations and looking out for
the best interest
of the small investor. They evidently haven’t been paying attention for
the last fourteen years, as the Federal Reserve has purposefully
created bubble after bubble with ridiculously low interest rates, money
printing on an epic scale, encouraging complete deregulation of banks,
inciting speculation, and ignoring criminal behavior by their Wall
Street owners."

"Warren Buffett, king of oligarchs and apologist for the Wall Street
billionaire club, assures the peasants the financial markets are fairer
than ever. If Uncle Warren says it’s so to his girl Becky Quick on
CNBC, how can anyone doubt him? It’s as if the supposedly mathematical
genius billionaire forgot everything he learned in business school."


There is $21 trillion worth of U.S. stocks traded every year. Based
upon Katsuyama’s analysis of how much high frequency traders, Wall
Street dark pools, and the stock
exchanges selling access were skimming on virtually every transaction,
he estimated at least $160 million per day was being stolen from stock
investors. That comes to a cool $40 billion per year, at a minimum.
High frequency trading accounted for 25% of all stock trades in 2005. By
2008 high frequency traders accounted for 65% of all trades. They now
account for in excess of 80% of all trading. The Ivy League educated
Wall Street elite insist this extreme level of computer generated
trading provides liquidity and efficiency for the markets. In reality,
the actual trading results of the HFT firms, hedge funds and Wall Street
TBTF banks prove the game is rigged. JP Morgan experienced ZERO
trading loss days in 2013. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and most of
the mega-banks have had virtually perfect daily trading results since
2010. If they are all winning, who is losing? Guess. Lewis provides
further evidence of “investing” perfection:

“In early 2013, one of the largest
high-frequency traders, Virtu Financial, publicly boasted that in five
and a half years of trading it had experienced just one day when it
hadn’t made money, and that the loss was caused by “human error.” In
2008, Dave Cummings, the CEO of a high-frequency trading firm called
Tradebot, told university students that his firm had gone four years
without a single day of trading losses. This sort of performance is
possible only if you have a huge informational advantage.”
Buffett, the financial “journalists” on CNBC, and all of the
defenders of the Wall Street criminal cabal must have been asleep during
their Stat class in college. The statistical probability of going four
years or even four weeks without a losing trading day is as close to
zero as you can get, unless the game is rigged and you are cheating.
These results were not accomplished due to the brilliance of Wall Street
big hanging dicks and their oversized brains. They were accomplished
by front running stock market orders, bribing stock
exchanges for first access, gaming the system with more powerful
computers, ripping off clients in shadowy dark pools, and keeping the
SEC at bay with promises of jobs and riches if they look the other way.
This was all done under the veil of hyper-complexity designed to
obscure, confuse, and cover-up the truth from unsuspecting investors.

And it is all done “legally” under the auspices of Regulation NMS,
established by the SEC in 2007, to foster both competition among
individual markets and competition among individual orders, in order to
promote efficient and fair price formation across securities markets.
As with almost every government regulation, law, or diktat, the new
method of “protecting” the sheeple created fresh ways to fleece the
sheeple by those who wrote the regulation. See Dodd-Frank and the
Affordable Care Act....When obnoxiously wealthy pricks with the ability to bribe stock
exchanges to place their trading computers on the floor of the exchange
and financially induce the Wall Street banks to funnel trades through
their dark pools in order to know what is happening a nanosecond before
everyone else, and use this information to front run unknowing
investors to generate risk free profits, it’s wrong.
It really is black and white. "

"The bad guys always win and the
good guys always lose on Wall Street. And no one does anything because
they are all on the take."