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Where is this settlement money going to go?  The article says a sizeable chunk will be for "customer redress" and that several billion might go to Fannie and Freddie. But will any of it get to the little guy?  This is about JP Morgan selling mortgages that they knew were riskier than they appeared, the understatement of the century, and those statements mean we're talking about investors, not the people wrongfully foreclosed upon or misled or the vast number of people hurt by this criminality in other ways.  The Obama settlement for mortgage fraud was itself a fraud and wronged homeowners got a pittance if they got anything at all.  Money that was put aside to help families get legal help and counseling was gobbled up by the governors of a significant number of states because the settlement gave the governors that option.  And we're still not talking about criminal charges in this settlement.  In fact most of these banks are still run by the same criminals who caused the devastating destruction to so many lives.  The traders and their bosses still have the money they stole in fees.  None of it is fixed by this settlement.  

JP Morgan has been profitable since the crash, with the exception of recent P&L where their legal fees, supposedly, are causing some losses.  The amount of money, billions, going out to lawyers for their defense, rather than to the parties who have been harmed, is a travesty in itself.  Just like the original crimes before the crash, where people's money was stolen by investment bankers cranking out mortgage backed securities deals at breakneck speed and gobbling up the massive fees, now it's the lawyers who are gobbling up massive fees keeping Wall Street executives out of jail and doing their best to minimize the amount of money they stole has to be paid back.  Notice a pattern?  The real victims aren't getting the billions in banking fees nor the billions in legal fees.  Notice another pattern? Nobody's in jail except maybe some token scapegoats here and there. Scapegoats who made their bosses really rich, and somehow, the money they raked in for their bosses doesn't have to be paid back. It's still in their pockets.

Also, are we supposed to believe that JP Morgan is the only bank that sold mortgages that were knowingly, riskier than advertised?  Is this supposed to convince the country that justice has been done? Many of the statutes of limitation have probably expired by now for criminal charges, courtesy of Barack Obama, who protected the bankers for all these years. Just ask Lanny, who is now out there collecting some of those billions in legal fees being paid out.  So the lesson to be learned is that while the robbing is happening, you want to be a banker and after the crash, you want to be a lawyer and gobble up the settlements.  Both of them, especially with the help of weakened regulations, could do this indefinitely, no?

JP Morgan close to agreeing $13bn settlement with US authorities
Settlement is greater than the expected $11bn and does not release the JP Morgan from any criminal liabilities

The settlement, described as tentative in some reports, is even greater than the $11bn that had been expected and is said not to release the bank from any criminal liability. It would also be the largest ever between the US government and a single company.

The bank's chairman and chief executive Jamie Dimon had been involved personally in the discussions with the US Department of Justice and this month JP Morgan admitted it had incurred legal expenses of $9.2bn from regulatory investigations and lawsuits.

In total the bank has put aside $23bn for potential litigation since 2010 – and has warned this could rise by a further $6.8bn – in moves that illustrate the stunning reversal in fortunes of a bank that had survived the banking crisis relatively unscathed.
[...]
At issue in the latest settlement is whether the bank sold mortgages that it knew were riskier than they appeared. [...]
A sizeable chunk of the $13bn relates to customer redress. According to Bloomberg the settlement includes $4bn to the Federal Housing Finance Agency – which incorporates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.[...]

As midnight strikes, same-sex couples wed across New Jersey

The black tuxedo had been rented. The blue dress had been bought. The red tape had been cleared.

At 12:01 this morning, dozens of gay couples were joined in matrimony as New Jersey became the 14th state to allow same-sex marriage.

From city hall in Newark to the boardwalk in Asbury Park, pairs of brides and grooms tied the knot in joyous ceremonies that celebrated love while mindful of their newly granted legal status.

As far as I know, this is the first time Snowden has granted an interview to a news organization, other than his dealings with specific journalists we know that he has been in contact with.
Edward Snowden: US would have buried NSA warnings forever
Whistleblower says he shared information with media because he could not trust internal reporting mechanisms

“The system does not work,” he said, pointing to the paradox that “you have to report wrongdoing to those most responsible for it.” If he had tried to sound the alarm internally, he would have “been discredited and ruined” and the substance of his warnings “would have been buried forever”.

Snowden, 30, conducted the interview with the New York Times over the past few days, communicating from Russia, where he has been granted a year’s asylum, with a Times journalist in New York via encrypted email. He took the opportunity to try to quash several of the most widely aired criticisms of his actions.

From the Army Times.
Commander defends Apache pilots in WikiLeaks video before 'The Fifth Estate' movie release

More than three years after the WikiLeaks video went viral, the commander of the Apache pilots who fired on a group of men in Baghdad, killing two Reuters employees, is speaking out.
[...]
Walach said it was time for him to set the record straight and “stand up for what is right.”

“This is the first time I’ve spoken of this firefight, and I did not speak out in the past three years because ... I believed at the time that the WikiLeaks narrative would fade away, but instead it grew into an evil and haunting presence,” he said. “Now, with the making of the movie ‘The Fifth Estate,’ [WikiLeaks founder] Julian Assange and WikiLeaks’ actions are once again glorified. This story is about defending the honor and integrity of my people and my unit that served in war together.”

Afghan special forces commander join Taliban group in Kunar

Provincial governor, Shuja-ul-Malik has confirmed the report and said that the commander has taken a tank along with some weapons and ammunition with him.

This is the first time a commander of the Afghan special forces is joining the Taliban group. However, the surrender of Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan local police (ALP) forces to Taliban militants is not rare.

NYTimes editorial board.
An Exit Strategy From Afghanistan

As it winds down its 12-year-old military commitment in Afghanistan, the United States is still looking for a face-saving way out of a conflict that seems headed, at best, for a stalemate. The new bilateral security agreement between the two nations is part of that exit strategy. So is a hoped-for political settlement with the Taliban, on which there has been no progress, and a 2014 presidential election process that is also having problems.
[...]
A major sticking point is legal jurisdiction over American forces who could be assigned to Afghanistan after next year when the 51,000 troops there now have departed. The administration, which thought the issue had been resolved, has insisted that the troops have immunity from prosecution under Afghan law and that any troops accused of crimes be tried in the United States.

Both sides have raised the stakes — the Americans, by warning that all troops could be withdrawn if the immunity issue is not resolved in their favor; Mr. Karzai, by delegating a final decision on the issue to an unpredictable tribal council and Parliament, instead of making it himself. The United States has set a deadline of Oct. 31 for a deal, but the talks could collapse, much as they did in Iraq, where the failure to agree on an immunity deal hastened the withdrawal of all American troops.

Demand Progress (Aaron Swartz's former organization) has sent this out via email twice for more attention.
How the Government Tracks You: NSA Surveillance

This is great. More of this makes a better world.
Growing Fish in Greenhouses



Action



October 26th, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
A Rally Against Mass Surveillance

Right now the NSA is spying on everyone's personal communications, and they’re operating without any meaningful oversight. Since the Snowden leaks started, more than 571,000 people from all walks of life have signed the StopWatching.us petition telling the U.S. Congress that we want them to rein in the NSA.
On October 26th, the 12th anniversary of the signing of the US Patriot Act, we're taking the next step and holding the largest rally yet against NSA surveillance. We’ll be handing the half-million petitions to Congress to remind them that they work for us -- and we won’t tolerate mass surveillance any longer.

12pm Eastern, Saturday October 26th
Gather at Columbus Circle in front of Union Station, then march to the Capitol Reflecting Pool



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