Serious Questions for Jamie Dimon in Occupy the SEC/Alternative Banking Senate Letter

As many readers may know, Jamie Dimon is on deck tomorrow before the Senate Banking Committee to explain how a so-called hedge produced losses that are almost certain to exceed the $2 billion the bank has ‘fessed up to. But this is likely to be at most a ritual roughing up. First, the hearing is only two hours, and that includes the usual pontificating at the start of the session. By contrast, Goldman executives were raked over the coals for 10 hours over their dubious collateralized debt obligations. The comparatively easy treatment is no doubt related to the fact that JP Morgan is a major contributor to the five most senior committee members. Per American Banker:

JPMorgan is Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson’s second-largest contributor over the last two-plus decades, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which analyzes campaign giving from companies’ employees and their political action committees since 1989. The same is true for the committee’s top Republican, Sen. Richard Shelby, and its second-ranking Democrat, Sen. Jack Reed.

The committee’s number-two Republican, Sen. Mike Crapo, and its third-ranking Democrat, Sen. Charles Schumer, are not far behind their colleagues, with JPMorgan ranking third and fourth, respectively, among their contributors.

Second is that the format of these hearings, with each Senator getting only five minutes each per witness, makes it difficult for a questioner to pin an evasive or clever witness. It won’t be hard for Dimon to either run out the clock or bamboozle his interrogators. But he might, as he did in his hastily-called press conference announcing the losses, make more admissions to the effect that he and senior management weren’t on top of what the group was doing. That would support the notion that JP Morgan’s risk controls were inadequate, which would mean that Dimon’s Sarbanes Oxley certification for 2011, and potentially earlier years, was false.

In the hope of improving the caliber of questions, Occupy the SEC and the OWS Alternative Banking Group drafted a joint letter to the Senate Banking Committee chairman, Tim Johnson. It consists of a general discussion, and then some background for each of its questions. This letter came out of last Sunday’s Alternative Banking meeting and the signers of the letter did the heavy lifting of creating a final document.

Occupy the SEC/Alternative Banking Letter to Senate on JP Morgan

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  1. F. Beard

    Everyone wants to save banking from itself. Why not just completely privatize it and then who would care if it lived or destroyed itself?

    Banking is gambling. Why does government have anything to do with it?

    It’s pointless anyway. One day banking will be destroyed. The question is how much needless suffering will occur till then.

    1. Nathanael

      In order to destroy it, one must *demonstrate* to the public that it cannot be fixed. People have a bias towards the status quo, up to a point.

    2. Bev

      Great Question about Kucinich’s H.R. 2990 to nationalize our currency, not banking.

      And, if nations took over the creation of their own currency without incurring DEBT, then terrible problems can be fixed, like unemployment, new energy, and most immediately, like the danger to us all of Fukushima which is not being addressed.

      And, quick is needed, as George Washington’s blog posted, that a 7.0 earthquake in Japan near the site (95% probability in two years) would topple fuel rods that would equal the radiation from all the above ground testing combined. We need to solve our problems in the best way and in the quickest time. Kucinich’s 2990 is the solution to the national and international scope of the problem of Fukushima that the scale of state banks which keeps currency as privatized debt, cannot begin to address.

      quoting above document:

      X. H.R. 2990

      Suggested Question: Do you support Dennis Kucinich’s Bill H.R. 2990 to support a secureeconomy by giving up the private bank’s privilege of creating the country’s money by lending it with interest to persons, corporations and the U.S. government?


      6) Well then, should we nationalize all the banking business?

      What kind of “Kool Aid” are you drinking and who gave it to you? The banking business is obviously not a proper function of government; but providing, controlling and overseeing the monetary system is definitely a function of government. No private party can do that properly. Markets have utterly failed to do that. They have concentrated wealth, have harmed the average American and now broken down entirely, except for assistance from our government. Who would keep money in banks today, except for the FDIC guarantees?

      But banks should remain privately owned, because when reasonably structured, they perform very necessary functions, and can do it professionally and conveniently. Who within government would run the banking business? Bankers however, have nothing in their training, experience or their souls that qualifies them as masters of the universe – to control our society as the money power confers upon them.

      Banks should act as intermediaries for their clients who want to get a return on a deposit or similar investment; and their clients who are willing to pay for the use of that money. But banks must not create the money. The money system belongs to the Nation and our Federal Government must be the only entity with the power to issue and regulate our money as the U.S. Constitution already mandates. We nationalize the monetary system, but don’t nationalize the individual banks. That would be a dangerous step towards fascism. Private enterprise is a powerful mechanism that can produce excellent results when properly structured and regulated. That is an important American “theme!” The AMA does not throw out the baby with the bathwater! But it most certainly gets rid of the bathwater, which is private money creation. That acts like a private tax on the rest of us!

      We regard such nationalization proposals (nationalize all banking) either as an inability to understand the difference between nationalizing the money system and nationalizing the private banking business, OR as possibly attempts to actually block proper monetary reform, because you’d have to change the essence of America in order to do it. So it distracts from real reform. The AMA reform that we advocate actually puts into place the system that most people think we have now! People think our money is provided by government. They erroneously believe that the Federal Reserve is already a part of our government. They think the banks are lending money which has been deposited with them, not that they are creating that money when they make loans. Under the AMA many of those things people already believe about money and banking actually become true! It’s a natural fit with already existing attitudes.

      7) Doesn’t your AMA proposal merely continue with a fiat money system?

      Shouldn’t we be using gold and silver instead? Wouldn’t that provide a more stable money?

      Our system is absolutely a fiat money system. But that’s a good thing, not a bad one. In reaction to the many problems caused by our privatized fiat money system over the decades, many Americans have blamed fiat money for our troubles, and they support using valuable commodities for money.

      But Folks! The problem is not fiat money, because all advanced money is a fiat of the Law! The problem is privately issued fiat money. Then that is like a private tax on all of us imposed by those with the privilege to privately issue fiat money. Private fiat money must now stop forever!

      Aristotle gave us the science of money in the 4th century B.C. which he summarized as: “Money exists not by nature but by law!” So Aristotle accurately defines money as a legal fiat.

      As for gold, most systems pretending to be gold systems have been frauds which never had the gold to back up their promises. And remember if you are still in a stage of trading things (such as gold) for other things, you are still operating in some form of barter system, not a real money system, and therefore not having the potential advantages as are available through the American Monetary Act!

      And finally as regards gold and silver: Please do not confuse a good investment with a good money system. From time to time gold and silver are good investments. However you want very different results from an investment than you want from a money. Obviously you want an investment to go up and keep going up. But you want money to remain fairly stable. Rising money would mean that you’d end up paying your debts in much more valuable money. For example the mortgage on your house would keep rising if the value of money kept rising.

      Also, contrary to prevailing prejudice, gold and silver have both been very volatile and not stable at all. Just check out the long term gold chart.


      19) Should we have the individual 50 states own banks? Like North Dakota?

      More Kool-Aid and distractions…Look folks the objective is to get the banks out of the Money creation field, not to get the government into banking!! A highly distracting idea that does not in any way accomplish any necessary reform! Instead it gives our fraudulent banking system a moral free pass! It is mind boggling that progressive people fall for this. (see the home page for an in depth article by Jamie Walton on this)

      20) How about local currencies?

      Local currency movements can help people to understand the money problem but it would be an illusion to think that local currencies would stop a mismanaged, unjust national system from unfairly concentrating wealth; from being a motivating factor for warfare; from financing harmful polluting activities even when saner alternatives exist. Understand also that a national currency properly placed under governmental control gives much greater local control than the present national currency under private control, because locally, our voting power can exert influence on national policy.

      And remember the principle of subsidiarity put forward by E.F. Schumacher. His slogan was not “small is beautiful.” What E.F. Shumacher actually said is what the AMI is saying: Use an “Appropriate scale”- do things on an appropriate scale. That dominant scale in the currency area is national and will continue to be for th

      1. Bev


        The Top Short-Term Threat to Humanity: The Fuel Pools of Fukushima

        Posted on April 7, 2012 by WashingtonsBlog

        The Greatest Single Threat to Humanity: Fuel Pool Number 4

        We noted days after the Japanese earthquake that the biggest threat was from the spent fuel rods in the fuel pool at Fukushima unit number 4, and not from the reactors themselves. See this and this.

        We noted in February:

        Scientists say that there is a 70% chance of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hitting Fukushima this year, and a 98% chance within the next 3 years.

        Given that nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen says that an earthquake of 7.0 or larger could cause the entire fuel pool structure collapse, it is urgent that everything humanly possible is done to stabilize the structure housing the fuel pools at reactor number 4.

        Tepco is doing some construction at the building … it is a race against time under very difficult circumstances, and hopefully Tepco will win.


        Money is Needed. NO DEBT Money…National and International Money.

        1. Bev

          I would like to know how Fukushima might be fixed, especially if it is only money that is preventing the problems from being solved. So how?

          If debt free and interest free government money is more national in scope and cannot address international problems, then would the way to solve this be through the U.S. international debt balance sheet which is always settled in gold (settled on the books without moving the gold), as Jim Sinclair states.

          Is this the only mechanism to fix Fukushima?

          In which case, add the costs to fix Fukushima to the balance due. Currently, the U.S. international balance sheet and therefore, the price of gold if it were settled today would be sky high. Why not higher? For what you would get–stopping more radiation to us–in return for the money would be priceless.


          Chart: Federal Debt Held by Foreign & International Investors (FDHBFIN) and the Equilibrium Price (FDHBFIN/OZ)

          Federal debt held by foreign and international investors topped $5.17 trillion in Q12012. $5.17 trillion divided by 262 million ounces (assumed gold reserves of the United States) equals an “equilibrium price” of $19,091/oz (for gold).


          What is the best, fastest way to fix Fukushima?

    1. bhikshuni

      Sounds like the president still can’t feel the Wall St knife in his back. Even as they twist it, he sounds like he is begging for more. Must be that control via a knife in the back is more directly efficient than via puppet strings (a la Romney).

      1. Jack M. Hoff

        Oh, did you you mean the Crappo who replaced the other peice of Crap, Mr. Craig, who got caught spreading and tapping while on the Capper at the airort? What a bunch of losers the spud state puts forth.

  2. briansays

    not to mention congressman joe donnelly from indiana who as a democrat dutifully serves on the house financial services committee and is a possible pick up in the senate from of all places indiana as the reps threw out lugar

    this will be a well scripted kubuki performance
    it was intended as such from the get go

  3. Sleeper

    No – we ought to be happy – real questions are being asked – simple questions even a senator could understand – And these are open questions which our supine press can ask even if they are no more than a pretty face.

    Kubuki performance this maybe, don’t expect anything to come of this except another blow of the maul to drive the wedge between the senate royalty and the rest of us ordinary folks even deeper.

  4. MOTI


  5. par4

    Another exercise in futility. There won’t be any justice until these criminals and their bought and paid for politicians are standing in front of a ‘people’s court’ facing the death penalty.

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