The Market Is Freaking Out Over the Potential for a Perfect Storm: Fed Tightening, Shaky Mega Banks, and a Sharp Decline in Household Wealth

Federal Reserve Building, Washington, D.C.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 14, 2022 ~ The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1,276 points yesterday for a decline of 3.94 percent. The Dow’s losses were outpaced by the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which gave up 632.8 points for a drop of 5.16 percent. The sharp selloff was triggered by the 8:30 a.m. report yesterday morning, an hour before the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange, that inflation had come in hotter than expected in August. Wall Street had been looking for a 0.1 percent decline in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Instead, the August reading showed an increase of 0.1 percent. The year-over-year rate slowed to 8.3 percent from 8.5 percent in July. The Fed is set to meet next Tuesday and Wednesday and with the CPI number coming in hotter than anticipated, there is now talk of the Fed slamming on the brakes more than anticipated, … Continue reading

Trump Administration Prosecutor Charges in New Book that Justice Department Was Corrupted by Trump and Attorney General William Barr

Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 13, 2022 ~ Two new nonfiction books are being released today. Bestselling author and anthropologist Sarah Kendzior’s book, They Knew, describes Donald Trump as a “transnational career criminal.” The book from the former top federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York under the Trump Justice Department, Geoffrey Berman, a Republican, reinforces Kendzior’s thesis with the revelation that Trump’s Justice Department was weaponized “to aid the President’s friends and punish his enemies,” both foreign and domestic. One of the most outrageous demands from the Justice Department, writes Berman, was “pressure to pursue baseless criminal charges against John Kerry, who had served in the Obama administration as secretary of state.” Berman writes the following in Holding the Line: Inside the Nation’s Preeminent US Attorney’s Office and Its Battle with the Trump Justice Department: “Throughout my tenure as U.S. attorney, Trump’s Justice Department kept demanding that I use my office … Continue reading

Nonfiction Book Explains the Oligarchs’ Plot to Break Up the U.S. – To Make It Easier to Sell Off Its Parts

Sarah Kendzior, Author and Anthropologist

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 12, 2022 ~ Sarah Kendzior turned 44 on September 1. She has already had two bestselling books. She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Washington University with a focus on authoritarian regimes.   We mention this as background because Kendzior’s latest book, They Knew: How a Culture of Conspiracy Keeps America Complacent, to be released tomorrow by Flatiron Books, needs to be read as the work of a serious scholar. Six years ago Kendzior correctly predicted in numerous articles what the rise of Trumpism would bring to the United States. On August 3, 2016, three months before the presidential election, Kendzior wrote the following for Foreign Policy under the headline: “Welcome to Donald Trump’s America”: “For over a year, pundits — especially Republicans who have a stake in legitimizing their party’s abject surrender — have been claiming that Trump will eventually pivot from his extremist positions. They … Continue reading

After Funneling Trillions of Dollars in Repo Loans to Serial Bank Offenders, Lorie Logan Gets a $440,000 Job Running the Dallas Fed

Lorie Logan, Head of Trading at the New York Fed

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 8, 2022 ~ Bailing out the Wall Street megabanks that are serially fined and hit with felony counts appears to be catching on as a major career advancement strategy at the New York Fed. On August 22, Lorie Logan began her big promotion as President of the Dallas Fed, a position that paid $440,700 at the end of 2020. That’s $40,700 more than the salary of the President of the United States. Prior to joining the Dallas Fed, Logan was the Manager of the System Open Market Account (SOMA) at the New York Fed, effectively the Fed’s trading floor. As part of her job, Logan oversaw the trillions of dollars that were electronically created at the New York Fed to bail out Wall Street trading houses in the fall of 2019 and through the middle of 2020. (See our related report The Fed Appears … Continue reading

The Fed Appears to Have Violated the Dodd-Frank Act in the Second Quarter of 2020, Giving $455 Billion in Loans to Citigroup

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 8, 2022 ~ The Fed would appear to have violated both the spirit and the letter of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation in the second quarter of 2020, according to new repo loan data released by the New York Fed for the second quarter of 2020. The data shows that Citigroup received 96 percent of all repo loans made by the Fed between June 24, 2020 and June 30, 2020. Citigroup also dwarfed all other borrowers in the Fed’s repo loan program during the full second quarter of 2020. Citigroup borrowed a cumulative total of $454,751,000,000 from the Fed between April 1 and June 30, 2020. Of the 24 firms that borrowed during the second quarter of 2020 from the Fed’s repo loan program, Citigroup’s share amounted to more than the combined total of 19 firms. (See charts above and below.) Congress and the … Continue reading

President Biden, a New Book and a Poll Say American Democracy Is Under Grave Threat

By Pam Martens: September 7, 2022 On Thursday evening, September 1, President Joe Biden addressed the nation from Philadelphia, the second location of the U.S. Capitol in its early years. During his remarks, Biden spoke these words: “Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic. “Now, I want to be very clear — very clear up front: Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology. I know because I’ve been able to work with these mainstream Republicans. “But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.” The two most important words in this excerpt from Biden’s remarks are the … Continue reading

Former Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan’s Trading Scandal and the Merrick Garland Justice Department’s One Year of Silence

Robert Kaplan, President of the Dallas Fed

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 6, 2022 On August 11, the Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice, Merrick Garland, told the American people at a press conference that: “Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the Justice Department and of our democracy. Upholding the rule of law means applying the rule of law evenly, without fear or favor.” That was certainly not true of Eric Holder’s Justice Department under President Obama, nor was it true of William Barr’s Justice Department under President Trump. In fact, just the opposite was true. Under Holder, the Justice Department functioned as a coverup and white-washing mechanism for a crime syndicate of powerful players on Wall Street. (See here and here.) Under Barr, the Justice Department took a machete to the rule of law and sculpted an art form out of doling out favorable treatment to criminal … Continue reading

Here’s What Americans with Security Clearances Are Saying About Trump’s Stash of Top Secret Documents at His Resort Hotel, Mar-a-Lago

By Pam Martens: September 1, 2022 ~ The above photo was released on Wednesday evening as part of the Justice Department’s court response to Donald Trump’s motion to have a Special Master appointed to review documents seized by the FBI in a raid of his 114-room resort hotel, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida on August 8. Included in the items seized by the government were highly classified documents marked Top Secret/SCI – meaning they were Sensitive Compartmented Information that should have been maintained in a government approved SCIF – Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. The FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago on August 8 followed months of stonewalling by Trump to return government records he had illegally retained after leaving the White House. The records were first demanded by the National Archives. When the National Archives finally received 15 boxes from Trump of improperly taken documents in January, it discovered highly classified material in … Continue reading

Foley & Lardner Scrub Any Mention of Chris Kise from their Website after He Agrees to Represent Trump in Mar-a-Lago Court Case

Chris Kise, New Attorney Representing Donald Trump

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 30, 2022 ~ According to NBC News and confirmed by Reuters, Donald Trump has located a new lawyer that is willing to step into the Palm Beach, Florida court case involving the U.S. Justice Department’s raid at Trump’s beach resort/hotel/event-venue and private residence known simply as Mar-a-Lago. (For background, see our previous report: Mar-a-Lago: Thousands of People of Questionable Character Have Visited this Resort/Hotel in the 18 Months That Trump Stashed Top Secret Documents There.) According to NBC News, the new lawyer, Chris Kise, worked for the law firm Foley & Lardner right up until NBC News reported that Kise had taken the job representing Trump. NBC News reports that the bio for Kise then suddenly disappeared from Foley & Lardner’s website. (We can go a step further than that: the law firm also scrubbed past articles it had published on its website … Continue reading

JPMorgan Chase’s Stock Is a Dog – Put on a Leash by the Fed and Down 28 Percent Year-to-Date

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 30, 2022 ~ According to YCharts (give the chart time to load) since January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2021 – a span of five years – JPMorgan Chase has spent a total of $84.312 billion buying back its own stock. In eight of those quarters, it spent more than $5 billion buying back its own shares. In the three quarters when JPMorgan Chase was on a secret feeding tube from the Fed via the Fed’s emergency repo loans and other emergency programs, the bank bought back the most stock in its history according to YCharts: $6.949 billion for the quarter ending September 30, 2019; $6.751 billion for the quarter ending December 31, 2019; and $6.517 billion for the quarter ending March 31, 2020. Now, the unthinkable has happened. The Fed has actually put JPMorgan Chase on a leash. As a result, the bank … Continue reading