Trump’s Lies Hit Critical Mass: Even His Media Supporters Are Bolting

President Donald Trump

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 7, 2018 ~  In the past few days, two reliable media enablers of Donald Trump have veered off script with stinging rebukes of the President’s epic pattern of lies. The question is – what took them so long. Editorials in the foreign press dating back as far as a year ago recognized that Trump’s insatiable need to lie rendered him unfit for the presidency of the United States. Since April of last year the Los Angeles Times has been running a series of forensic editorials attempting to explain what it is in Trump’s personality that would explain “his moral vacuity and his disregard for the truth, as well as his stubborn resistance to sensible advice.” The editorials have been headlined: “Our Dishonest President,” “Why Trump Lies,” and “Enough is Enough,” to mention just three. The Washington Post determined that Trump’s lies are so … Continue reading

The Market Is Going to Test Obama’s Legacy on Wall Street Bank Reform

President Obama Signs the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, July 21, 2010

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 4, 2018 ~ On January 26 of this year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average set a record high of 26,616.71. It has been backing and filling since then but the trend line has been decidedly down. Yesterday, the Dow closed at 23,930.15 – almost 2700 points lower than its high set in January, despite the passage of a massive corporate welfare tax cut and hundreds of billions of dollars in announced stock buybacks. (Just this week, Dow component Apple announced it would be implementing a new $100 billion share repurchase program.) Yesterday, the Dow closed just barely in positive territory after having been down almost 400 points intraday. But, notably, big Wall Street bank stocks such as JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley all closed the day in the red. These banks share a common feature – and … Continue reading

Giuliani Hints Trump, While President, Paid Cohen a $420,000 Slush Fund to Handle “Things of a Personal Nature”

Rudy Giuliani

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 3, 2018 ~  What Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and Donald Trump’s latest legal fixer did last night was to effectively tell Trump’s mortal enemy, the Washington Post, that Trump paid his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, a $420,000 slush fund last year to clean up dirt on the President. Cohen is the target of a criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York. Cohen’s home, office, hotel room and safety deposit box were raided by the FBI on April 9. In an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News last evening, and then later with the Washington Post, Giuliani buried both himself and the President deeper into a web of half truths or outright lies while managing to taint the legal work he does at his law firm, Greenberg Traurig, a corporate law … Continue reading

Was that a Koch Brothers’ Agent Who Pounded on our Door after We Wrote a Critical Article?

Riverside County Sheriff Officers Guard the Entrance to a Rancho Mirage, California Luxury Resort Where the Koch Brothers Held their January 2011 Political Strategy Confab. Photo Courtesy of Michael Cline, ClineFoto.com

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 2, 2018 ~  Since 2010 we have been investigating and reporting on activities of the billionaire Koch brothers’ political funding network to subvert democracy in the United States. In 2011 we broke the news that Charles Koch had entertained sitting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas at Koch’s private club in California. Thomas would later rule in favor of the Citizens United decision which opened the spigots to unlimited corporate money in U.S. political campaigns. In the same article we reported that while the Citizens United case was pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, Virginia Thomas, the wife of the Justice, created a nonprofit Tea Party advocacy group, Liberty Central, Inc., with a former lawyer for the Charles G. Koch Foundation, Sarah Field, acting as her General Counsel and a former Koch lobbyist, Matt Schlapp, serving on her board at inception. The nonprofit received over … Continue reading

Robert Rubin Exorcises Citigroup from His Career in Today’s NYT OpEd

Robert Rubin, Former Treasury Secretary and Citigroup Board Chair

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 1, 2018 ~  Former U.S. Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin, has decided he wants to rewrite his resume, removing the ugly warts from his days at Citigroup. That mega bank started as a financial supermarket that Rubin helped to make possible behind the scenes in the Bill Clinton administration, followed by a giant crash and the largest bank bailout in U.S. history from 2007 to 2010. Rubin strolled out the door of Citigroup in early 2009 $120 million richer than when he originally rolled his shopping cart into the well-stocked aisles of hubris at Citigroup almost a decade earlier. The New York Times has apparently decided to help Rubin exorcise Citigroup from his past. In an OpEd in the New York Times New York edition today, neither he nor the New York Times in its bio mentions so much as a syllable about Rubin’s … Continue reading

Nomi Prins’ New Book Is a Far More Important Read than Comey’s

Nomi Prins Thumbnail

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 30, 2018 ~  Tonight, at 7 p.m., Wall Street historian and author, Nomi Prins, will be speaking at The Strand bookstore at 828 Broadway in New York City. (See admission details here.) The appearance marks the launch of her latest book, Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World, set for release tomorrow. While former FBI Director James Comey’s new book, A Higher Loyalty, has been getting lots of attention on cable news, Collusion is a far more important book. America can recover from a disastrous presidency, the topic of Comey’s book. But America might not be able to fully recover from another epic financial crash brought on by disastrous central bank policy – the subject of Prins’ book. Collusion not only proves that the 1 percent got bailed out while the 99 percent got sold out as a result of policies of the U.S. … Continue reading

Trump’s Tax Cut Follows a Pattern of Poor Vetting at White House

White House 2018

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 27, 2018 ~  It’s increasingly looking like President Trump vetted his tax cut plan about as thoroughly as he vetted his cabinets picks. That is likely to have a serious negative impact on U.S. economic growth, the housing market and consumer spending. Yesterday Trump’s pick to head the Veterans Affairs Administration withdrew his name from consideration after allegations of drinking on the job and wrecking a government car while drunk surfaced in statements made by two dozen of his current and former colleagues. Later in the day, Trump’s Senate-confirmed head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, was being grilled at two separate House hearings on his wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars for first class travel to Italy and Morocco, a $43,000 soundproof phone booth for his office despite the agency already having secure facilities, and for accepting a dramatically below-market rate of $50 … Continue reading

Deutsche Bank’s Stock Is Trading Below Pre-Crisis Levels; But So Is Citigroup’s

Deutsche Bank Chart Versus Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase Since 2008

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 26, 2018 ~  There is a great deal of hand-wringing in the U.S. media today over the plight of Deutsche Bank, the big German financial firm that has a hefty presence on Wall Street. Its first-quarter net profit slumped by 79 percent, it replaced its CEO of less than three years, John Cryan, this month with new CEO Christian Sewing whose game plan revolves around “painful” cuts. On September 15, 2008, a key moment in the 2008 financial collapse on Wall Street when Lehman Brothers filed bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch was forced into the arms of Bank of America and Citigroup teetered toward insolvency, Deutsche Bank’s shares closed the day at $58.80 (equivalent price adjusted for a subsequent stock split). Yesterday, its shares closed at $14.60 on the New York Stock Exchange. Not only has it not recovered from the financial crash but it’s … Continue reading

Why Did Yesterday’s Market Rout Miss the Big Wall Street Banks?

DJIA and Nasdaq Charts for April 24, 2018 (Courtesy BigCharts.com)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 25, 2018 ~  Wall Street knows something that the rest of us don’t. Based on past experience, when Wall Street keeps secrets it never works out well for the rest of us. We’re thinking about the time Wall Street banks colluded on rigging prices on the Nasdaq market; or the time they rigged their research departments and told us to buy stocks that they were secretly callings dogs and crap; or the time they got S&P and Moody’s to give them triple-A ratings on subprime pools of debt while keeping it a secret that they had internal reports showing the loans didn’t meet their origination standards — and then they went out and secretly shorted that debt while continuing to sell it to their customers as a good investment. Yesterday, something decidedly weird happened as U.S. stock markets were being pummeled. Three of … Continue reading

Why Isn’t the Justice Department Bringing Treasury-Rigging Charges Against Wall Street?

Scales of Justice

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 24, 2018 ~  The U.S. Department of Justice has had an ongoing investigation into the potential rigging of the U.S. Treasury market by big banks on Wall Street for the past three years according to a series of past media reports. And yet, no formal charges have been brought. Lots of Wall Street watchers are wondering why – especially since private law firms have brought very specific charges in the matter into Federal court. There are only so many times the Justice Department can charge the largest Wall Street banks with felony counts for rigging markets before the public catches on that it’s a feature not a bug of their business model. Continuous rigging charges could lead to growing public demands and newspaper editorials to break up these serially-charged behemoths at a time when members of Congress – who depend on the largess … Continue reading

Why Did a Wall Street Plaintiff’s Law Firm File the DNC RICO Lawsuit Against Trump’s Campaign

Michael Eisenkraft, Law Partner at Cohen Milstein

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 23, 2018 ~ If there’s any plaintiff’s law firm in America that should know racketeering when it sees it, it’s Cohen Milstein. It’s sued the major Wall Street banks repeatedly with a solid win rate for colluding to rig pretty much anything that trades. On Friday, in the same Federal District Court where its Wall Street actions are litigated, the Southern District of New York (SDNY), it filed its bombshell RICO lawsuit on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The lawsuit does not name President Donald Trump as a defendant but it does name prominent members of his presidential campaign, including his son, Donald Jr., and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and advisers, Roger Stone and George Papadopoulos are also named, as are the Russian intelligence service, Russian Federation, several Russian operatives, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. The lawsuit … Continue reading

Eric Holder, After Failing to Prosecute Wall Street, May Run for President

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Testifying on High Frequency Trading Before the House Appropriations Committee on April 4, 2014

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 20, 2018 ~  Make no mistake about it, the Big Law firms that played a major role in the Wall Street corruption that led to the financial crash of 2008 and have been burying corporate crimes through their crony ties to Washington for decades, are desperate to put their own man in the White House in 2020. On Tuesday, former Attorney General, Eric Holder, who headed the U.S. Department of Justice in the Obama administration, appeared on the MSNBC program, “All In with Chris Hayes.” Holder told Hayes that he was considering a run for the President of the United States in 2020 but had not made a final decision. (See video below.) Obviously, if Holder ran, it would be as a Democrat, something that is certain to enrage the progressive wing of the party. Holder effectively transplanted his pals from his law … Continue reading

Elizabeth Warren Says U.S. and Wall Street Conspired Against Wealth Building by Blacks; Remarks Are Censored by Big Media

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 19, 2018 ~  If you get your business news from the Wall Street Journal or Bloomberg News or the New York Times or Reuters or the Financial Times or CNBC, chances are you did not hear about a critically important symposium that was held on Monday on the dangers that Wall Street’s biggest banks continue to pose to the U.S. economy and, in particular, to communities of color. Adding to the mystery of how every major business news outlet could simultaneously decide to skip the event is that it was headlined by two famous players in the banking debate, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Neel Kashkari, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The symposium on “Too Big to Fail” was hosted by Howard University’s Department of Economics and held at the campus which is located in Washington, DC – where there is … Continue reading

Elizabeth Warren Gets Wall Street Runaround on #MeToo Probe

Senator Elizabeth Warren Questions SEC Chair Jay Clayton During Senate Banking Committee Hearing, September 26, 2017

By Pam Martens: April 17, 2018 ~  As women in careers as disparate as Hollywood movie stars, television news anchors and members of Congress have fueled the #MeToo movement and spoken out against America’s workplace culture that tolerates sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, the silence from women on Wall Street has been deafening. Some reporters who have written about the silence have speculated that Wall Street has cleaned up its act, owing to the big class action lawsuits that were brought in the 1990s against some of the largest and oldest Wall Street brokerage firms. (See my Editor’s Note below.) Wall Street women’s detailed court complaints in the 90s described lewd acts during the workday (such as the hiring of strippers) or at company-sanctioned holiday parties (like having a camera shoved under a skirt to take a picture). There was also the endless degradation of women on Wall … Continue reading

These Are the Michael Cohen “Business Dealings” Prosecutors Are Investigating

Michael Cohen Leaves Federal Court in Manhattan, April 16, 2018

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 17, 2018 ~  It’s clear from the prosecutors’ filings in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that they believe President Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, has lied to them and is concealing information from them. Last Friday evening, McClatchy newspapers dropped a bombshell that provided some insight into what some of those black redacted passages in the government’s court filings in the Cohen case might refer to. McClatchy reporters Peter Stone and Greg Gordon write that Special Counsel Robert Mueller “has evidence” that Cohen did, in fact, make a “late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign.” Cohen has publicly denied any such trip and produced his passport to back up his story. The McClatchy article says “Cohen entered the Czech Republic through Germany, apparently during August or early September of 2016… He wouldn’t have needed a passport for … Continue reading

Meet the Wall Street Lawyer that Donald Trump Hired for the Cohen Raid Case

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 16, 2018 Donald Trump has been struggling for weeks to add fire power to his legal team. Then, somehow, last Wednesday, Trump was able to hire a woman considered by Wall Street to be a legal dynamo. The hire came just a few days after Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, saw his home, office, hotel room, safety deposit box and electronic devices raided by the FBI under the direction of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) – Wall Street’s official stomping ground. The case was referred to the SDNY by Special Counsel Robert Mueller according to court documents filed in the matter. Trump has intervened in the Cohen court case in the SDNY via his new lawyer, Joanna Hendon, herself a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the SDNY. According to her LinkedIn profile, Hendon served there from … Continue reading

Comey Compares Trump to “Mob Boss” as RNC Launches “Lyin’ Comey” Website

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 13, 2018 The Republican National Committee (RNC), the organization that provides leadership and funding for the official Republican Party of the United States, has put its reputation on the line along with every Republican that’s running for public office in November by setting up an official RNC website calling former FBI Director James Comey “Lyin’ Comey.” It has been the longstanding position of President Donald Trump that Comey is a liar. Trump fired Comey in the midst of the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election and has disparaged him ever since. Comey is highly respected by the rank and file of the FBI, the most esteemed law enforcement agency in the United States. The RNC has apparently taken Trump’s personal loyalty pledge – the one Comey says he refused to take when asked by the President. But there’s no … Continue reading

Hearings Show Facebook as a Media Company Using Deceptive Technology to Gain Unfair Advertising Advantage

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 12, 2018 Facebook wants Congress, shareholders and Wall Street analysts to think of it as a sexy, high-growth-potential technology company, not a media company, but after 10 hours of Congressional probing this week, Facebook has been revealed to be a media company that is simply using advanced technology and deceptive practices to gain an unfair advertising advantage over other media companies. (Another reason Facebook does not want to admit to being a media company is that it would then have to take responsibility for the fake news and propaganda it is spreading through Russian bots and trolls of every stripe.) As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg conceded this week in the Congressional hearings, Facebook’s business model revolves around the company’s ability to provide advertisers with granular data on its users so that advertisers can more effectively target them for a specific product or service. … Continue reading

Senate Hearing: Facebook CEO Zuckerberg Is Questioned on Ties to CIA-Funded Company

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 11, 2018 As Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg fingered his cheat sheet of canned answers to a barrage of questions from Senators yesterday on how Facebook had allowed a Trump-backed political operation to harvest personal data from 87 million of its users, Zuckerberg attempted to channel motherhood, apple pie, dorm room entrepreneurism and an altruistic desire to connect people around the world in one harmonious melding of human spirit. Unfortunately, the facts just kept getting in the way. There was the questioning from Senator Richard Blumenthal pointing out that Facebook had been caught red-handed in 2011 by the Federal Trade Commission in egregious abuses of its users’ personal data. Blumenthal said current activities at Facebook showed that Facebook was in “violation of the FTC consent decree.” Another uncomfortable moment came when Senator Patrick Leahy asked if Special Counsel Robert Mueller had issued subpoenas to … Continue reading

Wall Street’s Insidious Connection to the FBI’s Raid on Trump’s Lawyer

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 10, 2018 As the news broke yesterday that the office, home and hotel room of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, had been raided yesterday by the FBI, CNN was ferociously soliciting opinions from a myriad of folks on why Special Counsel Robert Mueller had not overseen the raid but had simply made a referral to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) which oversaw the raid. No one had any concrete answers for CNN. For years, Wall Street On Parade has been documenting and reporting on how the Federal courts and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York function as a protection racket for Wall Street. For decades, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the SDNY has been populating itself through a gold-plated revolving door to Wall Street’s biggest and coziest law firms. This … Continue reading

Facebook Hearings Will Miss the Point, Just Like the JPMorgan Chase Hearings

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 9, 2018 Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, will testify before a joint session of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee tomorrow afternoon. He’ll head to the Hill again on Wednesday morning to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Zuckerberg’s testimony comes as a result of the stunning testimony that Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, gave to the British Parliament on March 27 of this year on how tens of millions of Facebook users had their private information obtained without their permission by Cambridge Analytica, a company deeply involved in the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Zuckerberg conceded in a public statement on April 4 that the privacy breach by Cambridge Analytica could have affected as many as 87 million Facebook users. Zuckerberg also acknowledged that “most” of its 2 billion worldwide users may have had their profiles scraped … Continue reading

Trump’s Remarks Send Dow Futures Plunging 360 Points Last Night

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 6, 2018 If you have ever watched the past Chairs of the Federal Reserve give their semi-annual testimony before the U.S. House and Senate, you are aware of how carefully they parse their words to avoid rattling the stock or bond markets. That’s how people in high places in government with insider information behave. But now we have Rambo in the Oval Office, randomly throwing grenades into already wildly fluctuating markets. This leads foreign investors as well as U.S. investors to question if they want their life savings to be invested in this carnival barker-like circus. Bloomberg News underscores this reality with an article today about a $60 billion money manager who is considering selling all of his U.S. assets because of the political risk. At around 8:40 p.m. last eve, we settled in to watch the news. We learned that President Trump … Continue reading

Facebook and JPMorgan Chase: Case Studies in Exploitive Monetization

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 5, 2018 Last week the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, gave a harsh critique on how Facebook is making its money. Cook told an MSNBC Town Hall: “The truth is we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer, if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that.” Cook has good reason to believe that Facebook has “monetized” its customers. After a whistleblower from the data mining company, Cambridge Analytica, exposed that Facebook had allowed the private information on 50 million Facebook users to be exploited for micro-targeting on behalf of the Trump presidential campaign, the company has come under withering criticism. Yesterday, in a press conference, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, conceded to reporters that the privacy breach by Cambridge Analytica could have affected as many as 87 million Facebook users. The company also announced … Continue reading

Today’s Markets Show the Need to Return to Defined Benefit Pension Plans

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 4, 2018 The 401(k) was never a genuine plan to help Americans better prepare for retirement. Like everything else that Wall Street spends hundreds of millions of dollars to lobby for each year, the 401(k) was a wealth-transfer mechanism to enrich the denizens of Wall Street while transforming the mindset of the rank and file worker into shareholder capitalists. The fantasy expanded as the “ownership society,” during the George W. Bush administration. The Wall Street implosion of 2008-2009, which devastated the 401(k)s of most Americans and led to stress, anxiety and health issues for millions of hardworking citizens, should have been the wake up call to Congress on the need to return to corporate-funded pension plans known as Defined Benefit plans because they “define” a monthly payment that will be made at retirement age. The 401(k) promises no guaranteed monthly payment but simply … Continue reading

Will the Stock Market’s Tech Rout End Like the Dot.com Bust?

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 3, 2018 Last year the iconic investor, Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, penned his annual missive to shareholders. It contained this nugget: “Above all, it’s our market system – an economic traffic cop ably directing capital, brains and labor – that has created America’s abundance. This system has also been the primary factor in allocating rewards.” If that statement is true, then the $2.3 trillion that the U.S. stock market vaporized over the past two months is nothing for investors to worry about. But if the market is not efficiently directing capital, if it’s a system where everything from stock research, to high frequency trading, to Dark Pools, to over-the-counter derivatives, to revolving-door regulators is rigged to benefit insiders, then buckle your seat belts for the wild ride that’s coming. The reality is that careful Wall Street watchers have known for … Continue reading