Let's begin on Wall Street. It has been five years since the big financial collapse that tanked the global economy. And while no one's been sent to jail, or community service, or even had a one-hour timeout in their room to think about what they did, or faced any real consequences for what was an undeniable self-inflicted economic catastrophe.... What are we talking about again? I'm sorry.Video below the fold.
Maybe that's about to change.10/21/2013:Risky mortgages! Seemed so much cooler and sexier when Tom Cruise did it in that movie, Risky Mortgages. His parents were out of town, and then him and his friends convinced people to take on improperly collateralized loans, and then they repackaged the loans with the help of a very sultry derivatives trader — I remember her — and that guy who went on to play Booger, I think. It's also why so many JP Morgan traders still work in just a button-down and underpants.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN: JP Morgan Chase and the Justice Department have tentatively agreed to a $13 billion dollar civil settlement.
CARL QUINTANILLA, CNBC: A $13 billion dollar settlement with the government to end investigations into bad loans that were sold before the financial crisis.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN: The Justice Department is alleging that JP Morgan knowingly misled investors by selling them securities that were backed by very risky mortgages.
That's why, it's all from the movie.
$13 billion dollars! What lucky bastards are getting a bite of that cheese? Well, $6 billion dollars is going to go towards investors' compensation, $4 billion dollars for homeowner relief, $2 billion dollars is going to be in penalty fines. Though of course, the government will have to pay JP Morgan's $8 dollar settlement processing fee. DAMN YOU BANK FEES!!! DAMN YOU AND YOUR BANK!!!
You know who must be thrilled to hear this news? Financial analysts and business reporters, who after years of covering corporate misdeeds, are finally seeing justice served.10/21/2013:(audience laughter)
LARRY KUDLOW: What is up with this incredible $13 billion dollar shakedown of JP Morgan? ... This is an arbitrary and political hosing!
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: I think it's a sophisticated shakedown.
JIM CRAMER: The Justice Department feels like it needs some scalps.
CHARLIE GASPARINO: The Obama administration is at war with American business.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Is this a witch-hunt?
JIM CRAMER: This was a jihad against JP Morgan Chase.
It's a shakedown witch-hunt scalping jihad!!! So wait, what I saw was a mutually negotiated compensatory agreement for outstanding liabilities related to some shady business dealings, you see as a shakedown witch-down scalping jihad!! I say tomato, and you say it's like if the Holocaust had sex with slavery while the last 10 minutes of Human Centipede watched. (audience laughter)
But I'll bite, I'll bite. What is the great injustice being done to JP Morgan Chase here?10/21/2013:Oh, so you're saying, why is JP Morgan responsible for the liabilities of a company they bought? Well, I guess, because they bought the company.
MELISSA FRANCIS: 80% of the mortgage-backed securities that they are being punished for were acquired when they got Bear Stearns and WaMu.
JIM CRAMER: To some degree, it seems wrong that JP Morgan has to pay for what happened at Bear.
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: What jury is going to hold JP Morgan Chase liable for the documents that Bear Stearns sold to people, when nobody currently running JP Morgan Chase had anything to do with the decisions that were made then?
But if this is a new way you guys want to run shit now, all right, how about this? I owe JP Morgan Chase $500,000 dollars on my mortgage. But I decided, you know what, fuck this place!
I'm just gonna sell it for $50,000 dollars and walk away with the money. And under this new system, the guy who buys it doesn't owe you guys shit!
The problems you caused don't disappear because someone buys you, they're included in the price. You know who knew that? Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase. In 2008, he was asked about legal liability from buying Washington Mutual. He told investors, "any liability related to the assets ... will come with us." He even braced his company for it by setting aside a $28 billion dollar rainy day settlement fund. And guess what? It's raining, motherfucker! (wild audience applause)
So it looks to me like this government settlement's $15 billion dollars less than what Dimon thought it might be. I mean, the only way this settlement could get any sweeter is if it was tax deductible.10/23/2013:Son of a bitch!! This confirms what I've always said. Settlements for corporate fraud and malfeasance and donations to breast cancer charities are equal in the eyes of the law.
CNBC ANALYST: The final tack could be down to around $9 billion dollars.
STEVE LIESMAN, CNBC: That's because the majority of the deal is expected to be tax deductible.
But here's the craziest part about the story. The passion and drive from so many CNBC and financial analysts goes solely in one direction, and not in the direction you normally associate with journalism. Here's Maria Bartiromo reacting to non-CNBC journalist Alex Pareene's incredible hubris.9/27/2013:"Cuz, I mean, profit's the sole criterion, is it not? I mean, that's how we judge things."
ALEX PAREENE: I think any time you're looking at the greatest fine in the history of Wall Street regulation, it's really worth asking, should this guy stay in his job?
MARIA BARTIROMO: But the company continues to churn out, you know, tens of billions of dollars in earnings, and hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue. Um, how do you criticize that?
Only at CNBC is Breaking Bad the story of how one man, through hard work and smart business practices, slowly insulates himself from criticism.
Watch as the intrepid young Pareene tries to suggest there may be other ways of looking at Morgan Chase.9/27/2013:(shocked audience laughter)
ALEX PAREENE: I think a lot of their earnings and revenue, we've seen, have come from really shady dealings, that they've been....
MARIA BARTIROMO: Oh, come on.
ALEX PAREENE: It's a fact, it's in the news. Everyone knows about it.
MARIA BARTIROMO: What's a fact? What's a fact?
ALEX PAREENE: The fact that they hired the children of prominent [Chinese Communist] party officials, and there's a spreadsheet on which it's connected to deals they were trying to do in China.
MALE CNBC ANCHOR: Hiring connected people is as old as....
MARIA BARTIROMO: You know, I don't like spewing things that are not actual fact on this program because I really have a problem with that.
ALEX PAREENE: Anyone can Google "China and JP Morgan". ... I mean, it's not. It was in the New York Times. It's not....
MARIA BARTIROMO: Oh, the New York Times! Oh, OK. (throws up hands)
Oh, the New York Times! The paper of record for crackheads and liars! Just out of curiosity, financial journalists seem to feel that the New York Times reporting is beneath their veracity standards. Is there a new source that you feel is fact-filled and trustworthy enough to quote on your hallowed CNBC air?10/21/2013:See? Basically, the only place these financial guys consider factual enough for re-broadcast is the one part of the Rupert Murdoch bias machine explicitly labeled opinion.
JOE KERNEN: Mandatory reading, I think, is the lead editorial of the Wall Street Journal today.
MARIA BARTIROMO: I want to talk about this big story of the day today, the editorial in the Wall Street Journal today likens the $13 billion dollar settlement ... to medieval justice.
STUART VARNEY: Shakedown, says the Wall Street Journal.
JOE KERNEN: Remember, you gotta work for the editorial board to get... you might as well be at the New York Times.
Now, there may be one mitigating factor in the circumstances that JP Morgan found themselves in, when taking on the liabilities of Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns.LARRY KUDLOW (10/21/2013): The government asked JP Morgan during the crisis of 2008, buy up Bear Stearns, and then come back and buy Washington Mutual.OK, I did not realize that. Now that changes... I did not realize that the government twisted Jamie Dimon's arm, put a gun to his head, forced him into the bad deal. Now I get your outrage. I'm sorry.
JIM CRAMER (10/16/2013): The government came to JPM hat in hand in order to save the banking system from imminent collapse.
CHARLIE GASPARINO (10/2/2012): They begged Jamie Dimon to do it. He could've walked away, and that firm would've imploded.
JOE KERNEN (9/27/2013): WaMu and Bear Stearns, which they were arm-twisted to buy.
STUART VARNEY (10/22/2013): The government did put a gun to their head. They were vigorously encouraged to take over Bear Stearns.
Ah! If only there was a way to go back in time to when that deal was consummated in 2008, and see how outraged CNBC was for JP Morgan at that time, as the government forced Dimon to swallow this shit sandwich. And, I wonder if the individual who could give us a sense of that deal was an old friend who still doesn't seem to realize his shows are taped and broadcast. So much the better. (strokes chin)JIM CRAMER (3/18/2008): There's no word in the English language that captures the ruthless brilliance of what Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan, accomplished this weekend.(audience laughter)
Go on.................JIM CRAMER (3/18/2008): Dimon masterminded a deal that's amazing for JP Morgan and makes me wanna say, BUY BUY BUY! ... Dimon totally outfoxed the Fed! ... There's no denying it was a steal. I'd even call it theft, in the best sense of the word. Or maybe a shakedown, if the legal department will let me. ... It's practically criminal, and I mean that as a positive. ... It's the Henry Potter Prize, for merciless take-no-prisoners but lots of profit banking!(audience laughter)
Fuck all y'all. We'll be right back.