FROM Dennis Kelleher
JP Morgan Chase: A Record Penalty or a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card? What does it take to get America's biggest bank to agree to what looks like the biggest civil penalty in American history? Four hours before the Justice Department was planning to announce civil charges against JP Morgan Chase, the CEO Jamie Dimon called an aide to Attorney General Eric Holder. After five direct phone calls and a personal meeting, Dimon and Holder worked out a deal. America's biggest bank agreed to the biggest civil penalty in American history for its role in the Great Recession: $13 billion. But critics say it's not what it seems. Pension funds, retirees with 401(k)'s and even bank shareholders may not see a penny. The government still has the option of criminal prosecution, but will the real masters of Wall Street fraud ever be held accountable?
Will Dodd-Frank Protect US from Banks 'Too Big to Fail?' Despite reassurances from the Obama Administration, many financial authorities say banks that are bigger than ever cannot be allowed to fail. Just five banks -- Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Bank of America -- now hold $8.5 trillion in assets. That's equal to 56 percent of the US economy, up from 43 percent six years ago. It's happened despite President Obama's call to "prevent the further consolidation of our financial system." Are pension funds and other depositors adequately insured? Might taxpayer bailouts be needed all over again?
Are America's Banks Still Too Big to Fail? Banks that got taxpayer bailouts paid back with interest, but financial authorities are warning it could happen again. Just five banks -- Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Bank of America —now hold $8.5 trillion in assets. That's equal to 56 percent of the US economy, up from 43 percent six years ago. It's happened despite President Obama's call to "prevent the further consolidation of our financial system." Regulators are way behind in implementing new rules. Are the life-savings of depositors adequately insured? If a bank with $2 trillion takes too many risks will taxpayers have to be called on? What's the state of public opinion on two unpopular institutions: banks and the federal government? What about Obama's promise that banks would never again be "too big to fail?"
The free-flowing leaks in the Trump White House President Obama tried to clamp down on leakers, but the Trump Administration is besieged almost as never before. Are the "anonymous sources" partisans or worried professionals? Are they endangering the republic or performing a public service?
Future of the Palestinians as Trump welcomes Abbas President Trump says there's "no reason there can't be peace" between Israel and the Palestinians… but the first step will have to be unity between the West Bank and Gaza. Are the Palestinian Authority and Hamas any closer to speaking with one voice?
Free speech and the ideological fight for college campuses Conservatives claim that American colleges and universities are bastions of liberal orthodoxy, shielding students from alternative ways of thinking. What better place for a protest than UC Berkeley? What better agent of controversy than Ann Coulter?
Trump fires FBI Director James Comey Vice President Mike Pence took the Administration's lead today in explaining why the President fired the Head of the FBI, saying, "The president made the right decision at the right time." Trump's action is being compared to the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre" that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1973.