Ask Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mary Trump What to Expect If Trump Loses

Trump, Pied Piper

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 6, 2020 ~ Americans got a taste last night of how gracefully Donald Trump might hand over the reins of power if he loses this election. A number of networks chose to cut off his remarks from the White House last night as Trump said that he had won the election if you count the “legal” votes.  In Trump’s head, the votes legally cast by mail-in ballots by duly registered voters are “illegal.” Trump’s remarks came as his lawyers both threatened to file and did file lawsuits attempting to stop the counting of mail-in ballots in states where the Trump campaign is contemplating a potential loss. No one in the Trump campaign has produced any evidence of fraud in the election despite Trump’s statement on Wednesday that a fraud is taking place. Some of the threats have not been backed up with actual … Continue reading

The Dangerous and Invisible Hand in the 2020 Election: Charles Koch’s i360

Charles Koch

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 5, 2020 ~ As Congress and 17 intelligence agencies of the U.S. government have investigated Russia engaging in interference in U.S. presidential elections, here is what has been going on right under the nose of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Justice Department and all those intelligence agencies: one of the largest privately-owned companies in the world, Koch Industries, which has a massive financial interest in being allowed to continue to pollute the environment with its fossil fuels businesses, is allowed to simultaneously run a political campaign funding network as well as a political data mining and voter targeting operation on an unprecedented scale. The Chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, billionaire Charles Koch, sits atop this political juggernaut and has been given far too much cover by mainstream media. As television networks struggle to explain the spread of hate and divisiveness in America, … Continue reading

The Delayed Reporting of Pennsylvania’s Vote Was Strategically Orchestrated by Trump Republicans

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 4, 2020 ~ Presidential candidate Joe Biden has called for Americans to have patience as states continue counting their legitimately filed ballots. Donald Trump, instead, attacked the legitimate counting of these votes in numerous states and declared himself the winner around 2:30 a.m. this morning from the East Room of the White House. Trump said he wanted all vote counting to stop and would be taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump’s fit of pique over the continued counting of mailed-in ballots in Pennsylvania is like the defendant who has killed his parents and is now demanding that the Judge show him mercy because he’s an orphan. It was the Republican State Legislature in Pennsylvania that earlier this year refused the request by counties to be allowed, because of the pandemic, to begin counting the mailed-in ballots prior to election day. … Continue reading

Scenes from Election Day in America, November 3, 2020

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 3, 2020 ~ The eagerly anticipated and yet also dreaded day has finally arrived. In the interest of preserving this day lest post-traumatic-stress-disorder kicks in and eviscerates the nightmares of the last four years from our memory banks, we thought we would capture in photos the vibes of what the American presidential election has come to. The front cover of the New York Daily News, in the photo above, perfectly captures the queasy stomachs that the majority of Americans are experiencing today. But in an utterly bizarre action, at 6:50 a.m. this morning, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were suggesting that the stock market would open up more than 400 points. There is definitely some invisible hand buying up futures on maximum leverage to move the market higher this morning. If you need further evidence of fake market optimism for corporate … Continue reading

The Fed Appears to Have Put Its Finger on the Scale for Donald Trump on Friday

Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 2, 2020 ~ The U.S. stock market, as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, lost 1,833.97 points last week. The Dow was down every day except Thursday, when it eked out a gain of 139.16. The market was reacting to the following bad news: soaring cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.; a reemergence of the virus in Europe causing business shutdowns there; the failure of the U.S. Congress to pass a new stimulus bill; and a sharply lower price for West Texas Intermediate (WTI), domestic crude oil – which signals a further slowdown in economic activity. (At 7 a.m. this morning, WTI was down further, with a $34 handle.) The stock market’s losses would have likely been greater last week were it not for an intervention staged by the Federal Reserve at 11:00 a.m. on Friday. Here’s what happened and why Americans … Continue reading

Despite Its Five Felony Counts, the Federal Reserve Has Entrusted $2 Trillion in Bonds to JPMorgan Chase

Federal Reserve Building, Washington, D.C.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 30, 2020 ~ Imagine that your neighbor across the street had been criminally charged with five felony counts for financial crimes in the past six years and admitted to committing each and every crime to the U.S. Department of Justice. Would you put one-third of all of your money in a safe, give that neighbor the combination, and ask him to hold the safe in his house for you? You would probably be suited up for a straight jacket if you did something like that. That’s effectively what the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States, has done when it comes to JPMorgan Chase. As of this past Wednesday, the Fed has a $7 trillion balance sheet and $2 trillion of its agency Mortgage-Backed Securities are sitting at JPMorgan Chase, the bank that the Department of Justice has charged with five … Continue reading

The Dow Has Lost 1,815 Points in the Past Three Trading Sessions: The Wall of Worry It Was Climbing Has Become a Wall of Chaos

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 29, 2020 ~ On Monday the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 650 points. On Tuesday, the Dow lost another 222 points. Yesterday, the Dow closed near the lows of the day, plunging 943 points by the closing bell. The pain was broad-based with only one of the Dow’s 30 component stocks closing in the green: that was The Travelers Companies, a property and casualty insurer. Market sentiment has turned bearish in no small part because of the unrelenting pandemic, the lack of a new stimulus bill from Congress, and the selloff in oil. All three are interrelated. As of 7:40 a.m. this morning, West Texas Intermediate (the U.S. domestic crude) was trading at $35.90, down 4 percent on the day and down 10 percent from its $40 handle last week. The price of oil is a heavy influencer of market sentiment for … Continue reading

Trump’s Campaign Will Celebrate a Big GDP Number Tomorrow: Here’s the Untold Story

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 28, 2020 ~ At 9:10 a.m. this morning, Dow futures were showing a loss of 623 points, signaling another nasty open for the stock market following Monday’s plunge of 650 points and a 222-point loss yesterday. The sell-off in futures this morning is being blamed on the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Europe and the U.S. and the failure of the U.S. Congress to pass a stimulus bill to cushion the coming economic fallout. But tomorrow morning will bring a report showing a huge pop in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the third quarter, and the Trump campaign can be expected to spin it into a rallying cry at campaign events. At 8:30 a.m. tomorrow, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a unit of the U.S. Department of Commerce, will report how the U.S. economy grew from July 1 through September 30. According … Continue reading

Congresswoman Katie Porter Says Fed Is Playing “Kingmaker on Wall Street” and “Appears Corrupt”

Congresswoman Katie Porter

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 27, 2020 ~ Congresswoman Katie Porter has never met an overpaid Wall Street billionaire that she couldn’t reduce to a flummoxed whimperer within a few minutes. (See video clip below of Porter and Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, during an April 10, 2019 House hearing.) Porter has had the Chairman of the so-called “independent” Federal Reserve in her radar since he appeared at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on February 11 of this year. At the hearing, Porter held up a photo of Fed Chair Jerome Powell in black tie outside the mansion of billionaire Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Porter said this: “Can you imagine how attending a lavish party at Jeff Bezos’ $23 million home, along with Jared and Ivanka and the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, might give off the sense to the public that … Continue reading

Paul Krugman Connects Ayn Rand to the Right Wing Not Wearing Masks: Here’s the Devastating Part of the Story He’s Missing

Paul Krugman

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 26, 2020 ~ On Friday, the print edition of the New York Times carried this headline over a column by Paul Krugman: “How Many Americans Will Ayn Rand Kill?” (The digital headline reads: “When Libertarianism Goes Bad.”) Krugman makes the following points: libertarian rhetoric is all about “freedom” and “personal responsibility.” Politicians in states filled with the Ayn Rand crowd refuse to issue mandates to wear masks, believing this comes under the Ayn Rand screed that individual choice must always triumph. Krugman correctly defines this failed logic as follows: “Many things should be matters of individual choice. The government has no business dictating your cultural tastes, your faith or what you decide to do with other consenting adults. “But refusing to wear a face covering during a pandemic, or insisting on mingling indoors with large groups, isn’t like following the church of your … Continue reading

Goldman Sachs Criminally Charged by Justice Department – and Its Stock Closes Up $2.49

David Solomon, Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 23, 2020 ~ If you needed further proof that crime pays on Wall Street, look at the chart above. Goldman Sachs and its Malaysian subsidiary were criminally charged yesterday by the Justice Department, they admit to the charges, and its stock closed up on the day by $2.49. The U.S. Department of Justice is being played like a fiddle at a tractor meet. Those big white shoe law firms that handle increasingly dirty cases against the mega banks on Wall Street have twice, in a period of just three weeks, managed to get the Justice Department to announce settlements of landmark criminal cases against two of the largest banks on Wall Street on the day of presidential debates when the public and the media are not paying attention to Wall Street. On September 29, the day of the first presidential debate between President … Continue reading

Charles Koch Should Be on the Presidential Debate Stage Tonight, Not Donald Trump

Charles Koch

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 22, 2020 ~ Anyone who has carefully studied the presidency of Donald Trump knows that his job is Distractor in Chief. Investigative reporters for the New York Times have spent endless hours compiling Trump’s tax evasions and unreported foreign bank account in China. The Washington Post has spent endless hours compiling more than 20,000 lies Trump has told since taking office. But the real man in charge of directing the agenda of the Trump administration, fossil fuels billionaire Charles Koch, has received far less scrutiny. Yesterday, former President Barack Obama delivered a speech at a campaign rally in Philadelphia for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. During the remarks, Obama got to the core of what Charles Koch’s political network and money machine has done to gut the safeguards for everyday Americans at the federal regulatory agencies that previously protected them. Obama didn’t mention … Continue reading

The Fed Did a Lot of Talking Yesterday about a Big Bank Failure: Should We Worry?

Lael Brainard, Fed Governor

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 21, 2020 ~ Turns out the federal government’s plan for dealing with a mega bank failure on Wall Street is no better conceived than the federal government’s plan for dealing with the worst pandemic since 1918. The Federal Reserve issued two press releases yesterday about “large banks.” One read: “Agencies finalize rule to reduce the impact of large bank failures.” The other read: “Agencies issue final rule to strengthen resilience of large banks.” Wait. What? Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has been telling anyone who would listen this year – from Congress to viewers of the Today show – that the large banks have been a “source of strength” during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. If that were true (which we’ve questioned from the first time Powell said it) why is the Fed now worrying about a “large bank failure” and … Continue reading

Loan Loss Reserves at Mega Banks Are Far from Where They Need to Be

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 20, 2020 ~ It’s time to revisit that scene from the movie, The Big Short, where Steve Carell, playing Mark Baum, is sitting in the audience at the American Securitization Forum and interrupts the speaker on stage who has just stated that he expects subprime losses “will be contained at 5 percent.” Baum loudly asks: “Would you say that it is a possibility or a probability that subprime losses stop at 5 percent?” The speaker says: “I would say that it is a very strong probability, indeed.” Baum sits down but then begins to waive his arm in the air, forming a zero with his fingers. Baum then shouts out: “Zero! Zero! There is a zero percent chance that your subprime losses will stop at 5 percent.” You can view the scene from the movie below. That scene came to mind when we … Continue reading

How Criminal Charges Against a Wall Street Icon Went from Front Page News to a Yawn at the New York Times

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 19, 2020 ~ On May 2, 1985 the highest law enforcement officer in the United States, the head of the U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General Edwin Meese, held a news conference to announce that the sixth largest brokerage firm on Wall Street, E.F. Hutton, was pleading guilty to 2,000 felony counts of wire and mail fraud. It had also agreed to pay criminal fines of $2 million and up to $8 million in restitution to the 400 banks it had defrauded. The fraud had lasted less than two years, from July 1, 1980 and February 28, 1982, and consisted of the following according to the Justice Department: “The essence of the charges was that Hutton obtained the interest-free use of millions of dollars by intentionally writing checks in excess of the funds it had on deposit in various banks.” On the following … Continue reading