Not so brilliant, after all

Chris Whalen on Jamie Dimon:

What is really interesting is that the legal complaint filed by Schneiderman talks about sloppy procedures for loan selection, but still does not get to the real fun, namely multiple pledges of loans for different RMBS. And you can be sure that Schneiderman does not really want to go that far because it might force him to ask the same question about the other, far larger issuers of RMBS.

Remember, the whole point of the Robo-signing settlement is not consumer protection, but rather fraud. The key question: Who’s got the note? If you don’t have to deliver the note into an RMBS trust, then the door is wide open for securities fraud.

What is really troubling is that while Schneiderman is making a big fuss about suing JPM over the Bear Stearns RMBS, he refuses to go after Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citi, Ally and other large banks for precisely the same type of fraud and deliberate criminal acts as were committed by Bear Stearns. The degree of negligence and stupidity displayed at Bear Stearns may have been more egregious than that at say Countrywide, but only in degree.

Once again it is shown that the politicians like Schneiderman, who have aspirations for higher office, have no problem making an example of a small firm, but will never move directly against the top four banks for their own grotesque errors and omissions.

Schneiderman has been dragging his feet with respect to Countrywide and Bank of New York for years, yet suddenly he has time to sue JPM over Bear Stearns? What’s wrong with this picture?
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Here comes winter

I guess I should start stocking up if we’re going to have a bad winter:

Expect temperatures 6 degrees colder than last winter’s, and a six-fold increase — or more — in snowfall.


In short, if Accu-Weather’s winter outlook turns out to be right, the coming season will be whole lot more like a typical winter than in 2011-12.


In the forecast released this morning, an update and elaboration of an earlier outlook, the commercial weather service in State College, Pa., is calling for near-normal temperatures this winter, with above-normal snowfall.


In addition, Accu-Weather believes Philadelphia will have an above-average number of days — perhaps seven — with snowfall of an inch or more, said long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok. Last season, it had exactly one.


The revised snow-outlook map sees the above-average snow zone extending from Philadelphia on south and west.


To the north, long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok says snowfall might not be terribly generous along the New England coast because Atlantic Ocean sea-surface temperatures up that way are well above averages.

Nazis gaining in Greece

This is, after all, how Hitler did it. Make people desperate enough, and they’ll grasp at anything:

Greece’s political barometer for September has revealed that 54 percent of Greeks do not trust any political party. The measure of the popularity of political parties has shown a dramatic swing in favour of Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi).


Whilst politicians are held in low regard and more than half of Greek citizens are so disillusioned with the political process that 54 percent no longer trust any political party, there are a few notable changes in the political landscape.


A report in Skai.gr shows that the popularity of the the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn has risen 10 points since May, winning the party a popularity score of 22 percent. Moreover, their share of the vote as evidenced in polls for September, now stands at 13 percent.

They bring good things to life

Boy, this pisses me off. This is the company of Jeff Immalt, the head of Obama’s jobs council, which is supposed to figure out how to foster job growth – in America. He’s famous for closing plants, laying people off and cutting wages and benefits — and then moving operations to other countries:

General Electric Co. (GE) is refinancing $5 billion of debt even as it expects to generate $100 billion of cash in the next four years, showing confidence in its ability to invest at returns four times its borrowing costs. The biggest maker of power-generation equipment sold $7 billion of bonds yesterday at an average 2.58 percent yield in the parent company’s first issue in almost five years. That compares with a 12 percent return that Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt said last week the Fairfield, Connecticut-based firm generates on its capital.


The offering allows the company to use the cash it brings in for stock buybacks, dividends and acquisitions. While Immelt seeks to pare debt at GE’s finance arm, the offering may boost bonds of the parent by 22 percent to $11 billion next year.


“It’s a no-brainer,” Jody Lurie, a corporate credit analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia, said in a telephone interview. “It costs nothing to issue, so why would they use cash on hand” to pay off maturing obligations?


GE borrows at lower rates than the average for U.S. investment-grade issuers, whose bond yields dropped to an unprecedented 2.85 percent yesterday, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data. That compares with 2.62 percent for GE, which includes yields on obligations of its finance arm GE Capital.

See if you can guess how that happened!

General Electric, the world’s largest industrial company, has quietly become the biggest beneficiary of one of the government’s key rescue programs for banks.


At the same time, GE has avoided many of the restrictions facing other financial giants getting help from the government.


The company did not initially qualify for the program, under which the government sought to unfreeze credit markets by guaranteeing debt sold by banking firms. But regulators soon loosened the eligibility requirements, in part because of behind-the-scenes appeals from GE.


As a result, GE has joined major banks collectively saving billions of dollars by raising money for their operations at lower interest rates. Public records show that GE Capital, the company’s massive financing arm, has issued nearly a quarter of the $340 billion in debt backed by the program, which is known as the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, or TLGP. The government’s actions have been “powerful and helpful” to the company, GE chief executive Jeffrey Immelt acknowledged in December.


GE’s finance arm is not classified as a bank. Rather, it worked its way into the rescue program by owning two relatively small Utah banking institutions, illustrating how the loopholes in the U.S. regulatory system are manifest in the government’s historic intervention in the financial crisis.

Jeff Immelt is also one of the people pushing for the Grand Bargain. Isn’t that nice that someone so compassionate is looking out for us?

Racist insults for cardboard Obama

I guess you don’t have to scratch all that deeply to find racism in America, especially in wingnut strongholds like Denver:

DENVER — As thousands of Romney supporters lined up outside his Monday night rally site at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, liberal groups and the Obama campaign did whatever they could to get their own message heard.


But even with a small airplane circling overheard trailing a banner about Romney’s 47 percent comments, the voices ProgressNow Action wanted to hear were those of Romney supporters as they passed by the group’s cardboard cut-out of President Obama and rolling video camera on their way inside.


On Tuesday morning, the group posted the four-minute video on YouTube, in which dozens of Republicans pass by cardboard Obama and, in a few cases, can’t help but hurl less-than-politically correct comments its way. You can watch the video below.


“Go back to Kenya!” one person says.


“Strangle him!” says another.


Some of the comments were directed at the ProgressNow staffers holding up the cut-out and the video camera.

“Is that your Muslim communist buddy?” one person asks.


“Why are you supporting an Islamist, Marxist idiot?” asks another.


“He looks real good standing on a street corner,” one passerby says. “In about three months, he’ll be doing that all the time.”


In an email to FOX31 Denver Tuesday, ProgressNow Action said, “we did nothing to further provoke the crowd.”
Asked what they want people who watch the tape to see, the group’s executive director, Joanne Schwartz, said this:


“It’s clear that not all, but many within Romney’s base of support dislike the President for irrational and often hateful reasons. Comments like ‘go back to Kenya,’ and asserting Obama is ‘black and used up’ reflect a much uglier prejudice than most Americans would identify with.


“Others continue to repeat discredited race-baiting falsehoods about the President’s religion and nationality,” Schwartz continued.


“Everyone we videotaped yesterday has a right to free expression, but others have the right to publicly reject intolerance. In a free society, we have an obligation to call this out.”

Ha. ha! Aren’t they great? Isn’t racism a hoot? I can hardly stop laughing.

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