Two Senators – a Republican and a Democrat – Testify to Senate Banking Committee on China’s Threat to U.S. National Security and Competitiveness

Senator Robert (Bob) Casey, Jr. (D-PA)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 30, 2022 ~ Yesterday, Senator Robert (Bob) Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) testified before the Senate Banking Committee. At a time when there is little that the two political parties can agree on in Congress, it was refreshing to hear these two Senators from different parties earnestly explain the threat that China’s ambitious agenda poses to the U.S.; how outward investment by U.S. corporations is furthering China’s agenda; and outline legislation to deal with the threat. Senator Casey explained the problem as follows: “For decades, the United States has steadily ceded its manufacturing power to other countries, particularly foreign adversaries, like the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Russian Federation. Outsourcing our manufacturing and supply chains has put our economic and national security at risk. Unfortunately, the pandemic exacerbated this problem, as we experienced acute shortages of things like PPE and … Continue reading

Two Weeks to the Day After Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Played a Cruel Trick on Desperate Migrants, a Category 4 Hurricane Is Barreling Down on His State

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Speaks at a Press Conference on Hurricane Ian, Monday, September 26, 2022

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” – Matthew 25:40 By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 28, 2022 ~ This morning, the words “catastrophic” and “dangerous” and “life threatening” are being used to describe Hurricane Ian, a category 4 hurricane that is expected to make landfall this afternoon on Florida’s Gulf Coast, then rip through the central and northern parts of the state. Those words are weighing heavily on the minds of Floridians this morning, as well as the words above from Matthew 25, verse 40. It was exactly two weeks ago to the day that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis lured desperate migrants, including children, who were seeking asylum in the United States after a treacherous journey from Venezuela, to board two charter planes that dumped them on Martha’s Vineyard … Continue reading

There’s a War for the Fed’s Ear on Inflation Between Larry Summers and Jeremy Siegel – It’s Getting Nasty

Larry Summers Testifying Before the Senate Budget Committee, June 4, 2013

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 27, 2022 ~ Both Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel and Harvard economics professor Larry Summers are trolling Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Siegel thinks Powell is “talking way too tough” on inflation while Summers thinks Powell is not restrictive enough. Siegel appeared on CNBC yesterday and scolded Powell to “offer the American people an apology” for his poor monetary policy over the years. In a Tweet, Summers effectively told the Fed Chairman to shut up, lecturing him on not talking so much at his press conferences. (See Tweets below.) In his CNBC interview, Siegel cited “home prices declining, commodity prices declining, freight rates declining,” as examples of easing inflationary pressures that warrant the Fed taking a less aggressive stance on raising rates. He also cited the sharp rise in the U.S. dollar, saying “the dollar is showing how tight the Fed actually is.” Summers … Continue reading

Nowhere to Hide: The Fed-Induced Bubble in Stocks and Bonds Is Blowing Up; Even the Typical Safe Havens of Gold and T-Notes Are Losing Money

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 25, 2022 ~ The corrupt political backdrop for today’s unprecedented market quagmire feels like a hyperbolic trailer for a low-budget sci-fi thriller: The former president of the only remaining superpower in the world has been charged with “staggering” frauds against banks – the ones he just deregulated as president. (This same former president was also caught red-handed with Top Secret documents after he left public office — but the super power’s 18 intelligence agencies have no idea what he did, or was planning to do, with these documents.) On the other side of the globe, the sitting president of a bygone superpower is engaging in nuclear saber-rattling and conscripting 60-year-old men to fight an illegal war while young, able-bodied men flee the country en masse. The world’s financial markets have gone off the rails in an equally disorienting fashion. The central bankers that had … Continue reading

NYS Attorney General Documents a Decade of “Staggering” Fraud by Donald Trump, the Man Allowed to Run the U.S. Government from 2017 to 2020

Donald Trump

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 22, 2022 ~ Yesterday, the New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, filed a 222-page lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, his three adult children (Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric), and two company executives, Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney. The lawsuit is the culmination of a three-year investigation and documents in meticulous detail a “staggering” pattern of fraud from 2011 through 2021. A sampling of the more than 200 instances of fraud alleged by the New York State Attorney General is as follows: “Relying on objectively false numbers to calculate property values. For example, Mr. Trump’s own triplex apartment in Trump Tower was valued as being 30,000 square feet when it was 10,996 square feet. As a result, in 2015 the apartment was valued at $327 million in total, or $29,738 per square foot. That price was absurd given the fact … Continue reading

First Donald Trump Purloins Top Secret Documents; Now Morgan Stanley Allows Its Clients’ Social Security Numbers to Get Auctioned on Hard Drives

James Gorman, Chairman and CEO, Morgan Stanley

By Pam Martens: September 21, 2022 ~ Yesterday, Gurbir Grewal, the Director of Enforcement for the Securities and Exchange Commission, said that the manner in which Wall Street mega bank, Morgan Stanley, had allowed the personal information of its clients to be auctioned off online on hard drives was “astonishing.” Grewal is not someone who can be easily astonished. Grewal came to the SEC from his post as Attorney General of New Jersey. Before that he had been the Bergen County Prosecutor. Prior to that he held various positions in the Justice Department’s U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, including his last position there as Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit. Exactly what was it that astonished Grewal? According to the SEC’s Cease and Desist Order, here’s what happened: The retail brokerage unit of Morgan Stanley known as Morgan Stanley Smith Barney wanted to decommission two of its … Continue reading

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley Have Mysteriously Disappeared from this Week’s Senate and House Banking Hearings

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 20, 2022 ~ There are eight Global Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBS) in the U.S. They are: JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Bank of New York Mellon, Morgan Stanley, State Street and Wells Fargo. These are the banks that pose the greatest risk to the stability of the U.S. financial system and are monitored under the Federal Reserve’s stress tests. Five of those eight banks pose the greatest risk to financial stability because together they hold $200.18 trillion (yes trillion) in notional derivatives (face amount) or 86 percent of all derivatives held by all of the nation’s banks, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – the federal regulator of national banks. Those banks are: JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America. In any Senate Banking or House Financial Services Committee hearing that is going … Continue reading

A Fossil Fuels Giant Has Been Raising the Election Chances of Extreme-Right Candidates — Using a Dangerous High-Tech Weapon

Charles Koch

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 19, 2022 ~ The Federal Election Commission (FEC), a federal agency, states that its mission is to “protect the integrity of the federal campaign finance process by providing transparency and fairly enforcing and administering federal campaign finance laws.” So last week Wall Street On Parade sent an email inquiry to the FEC, asking the following: “The fossil fuels conglomerate, Koch Industries, which is privately-owned by billionaire Charles Koch and the heirs of his late brother, David, owns a massive voter database, data mining, get-out-the-vote operation, etc. called i360. “As you will see from the FEC link below, i360 is selling its services to a multitude of Republican candidates for seats in the House and Senate, as well as to PACs that in turn support those candidates. “My question is, how is it legal for a privately-owned fossil fuels conglomerate to operate i360, effectively a more … Continue reading

AIG Was Brought Down by Derivatives in 2008. It Just Spun Off a Company Whose Prospectus Mentions Derivatives 371 Times

Piggy Bank Thumbnail

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 16, 2022 ~ Yesterday, mainstream media was touting that the largest Initial Public Offering (IPO) of the year, Corebridge Financial, had just finished its first day of trading. The IPO was priced at $21 and closed at $20.73 (ticker: CRBG), not an illustrious start. Corebridge Financial is the life insurance and annuity business of the giant insurer, AIG. In 2008, AIG required a $180 billion bailout from the U.S. government because of its derivatives and stock loan deals with the big trading houses on Wall Street – many of the same ones that are now underwriting this IPO. If that’s not enough to make you suspicious, consider the fact that the word “derivatives” is mentioned 371 times in the prospectus for Corebridge Financial. (More on that in a moment, but first some background.) When the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission wrote its final report for … Continue reading

JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo Flunk a Test Measuring their Support for American Democracy

U.S. Capitol With Storm Clouds

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 15, 2022 ~ The nonpartisan watchdog group, Accountable.US, has released the results of an investigation into how committed to democracy the 100 largest corporations in America are. The corporations were graded on support for voting rights, the electoral process, and American democracy. The results were provided in an interactive resource called the American Democracy Scorecard. Researchers looked at 14 key criteria. Seven elements of the criteria involved making pro-democracy statements, being affiliated with pro-democracy organizations, and taking other pro-democracy actions. Seven other criteria involved corporate contributions to elected officials who are undermining democracy and voting rights. Three of the largest mega banks on Wall Street, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo, flunked the democracy test, each receiving a score of “F.” Goldman Sachs received a “D.” Bank of America and Citigroup received a “B” grade, but, clearly, that was based on very recent … Continue reading