Twitter 2, JP Morgan, 0: Bythe Masters Withdraws After One Day Appointment as CFTC Advisor

No, this was not a world-record revolving door stint. Blythe Masters, head of JP Morgan’s commodities group, was announced yesterday as having joined a Commodities Futures Trading Commission advisory committee. I didn’t bother writing it up because what could you say beyond what appalling evidence it was of how much the Administration was willing to toady to JP Morgan (Acting CFTC Commissioner Mark Wetjen was responsible for this tasteless idea). The Federal Energy Regulatory Committee settled with JP Morgan for $410 million over charges of manipulating the energy markets. Masters also got away with lying to regulators during the FERC inquiry. She was lucky to escape civil charges. And that’s before we get to the fact that the missing-in-action-as-far-as-big banks-crimes-are-concerned Department of Justice, was, predictably, not willing to take up the case. By any commonsense standard, Masters should have been under the hot lights.

But this was even worse than the specter of Jamie Dimon getting a raise for negotiating a very favorable settlement for widespread abuses and regulatory violations that took place on his watch. His board apparently also has a soft spot for children who shoot their parents and then plead for sympathy for being orphans. But this wasn’t an internal wink and nod (and fat envelope with cash) for getting away with flagrant, recidivist lawbreaking; now Federal regulators are rewarding it.

The Twitterstorm was intense, although not as large as the #askJPM fiasco. That’s no surprise; Masters is known mainly to finance pros and regulators, while the banks’ misdeeds (and its shameless leader Dimon) are infamous.

A selection of choice tweets:

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#FakeBlythe had some of the best offerings:

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I will have to remember that definition of wonk….

Amusingly, the official cover for Masters’ volte face is she suddenly checked her calendar and realized she was too busy with the sale of the bank’s physical commodity business to do the role justice.

The Journal attributes the reversal to  Congressional unhappiness:

J.P. Morgan Chase JPM & Co. commodities chief Blythe Masters withdrew from a regulator’s advisory panel a day after her appointment was disclosed amid Democratic lawmaker objections to her involvement, people familiar with the matter said.

The lawmakers expressed concern about Ms. Masters’s participation in the Commodity Futures Trading Commission panel given her role presiding over a unit accused of manipulating power markets….

The CFTC’s disclosure Thursday that Ms. Masters had been appointed to its global markets advisory committee prompted calls to the CFTC by aides to senior Democratic lawmakers, the people familiar with the matter said.

Lawmakers and their aides were “surprised” that a regulator would invite an individual whose division allegedly manipulated markets to act as an adviser on the regulation of commodities, one Senate Democratic aide said.

The, by contrast, does give the Twitterstorm credit for having contributed to the demise of this terrible idea.

However, the fox may still wind up running the henhouse. Bloomberg notes that the CFTC may appoint another JP Morgan exec to the advisory committee. If so, I hope the Twitter enforcers put paid this idea for good.

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  1. psychohistorian

    Her comment that “I’ll do it because its the right thing to do.” sticks in my craw.

    Further enabling fascism for her is the right thing to do.

    Wearing an orange jumpsuit in a penitentiary somewhere is my idea of the right thing for her to be doing…..but rule of law is for the little people she condescends to.

    1. Working Class Nero

      Dude, the hashtag “FakeBlythe” should have given you a clue. Maybe it’s late there and you were reading fast but surely “Making banks even more too bigger to fail” should have alerted your sarcasm detector.

      1. psychohistorian

        My apologies. I should have read closer.

        I don’t do Twitter and haven’t seen any remorse (or jail time) from any of the finance folk so assumed she was just claiming more of the Doing God’s Work meme….JPM is the head of the Church of Mammon, isn’t it?

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Sadly enough, even though the Master’s quote
      is satire, it’s almost certainly what the
      messianic masters of the universe actually
      believe in the darkest depths of their shrivelled
      souls, that their fascist vision of a plantation
      economy is the salvation of humanity. Just as
      the “fuck the EU” statement by Hillary’s
      assistant sec Nuland is a frank expression of
      US efforts to install a fascist regime in Ukraine,
      the fake Master quote is exactly what she
      would say were pretense no longer necessary.
      And yet these machinations are invariably
      dismissed as conspiracy theories.

      I like the John Adams quote at Jesse’s Cafe
      today: “Power always thinks it has a great soul
      and vast views beyond the comprehension of
      the weak; and that it is doing God’s service
      when it is violating all His laws.”

      Presumably that describes the views of most of
      America’s founding slavers.

      1. Working Class Nero

        The Ukraine phone tap is very interesting for reasons that have not been emphasized as of yet. Victoria Nuland is actually part of the notorious Kagan clan of neoconservative ideologues. She is married to Robert Kagan but was very savvy to keep her maiden name because we all know how much the Democrats believe that diversity is our strength and so having the wife of a Kagan in charge of important foreign policy dossiers instead of an actual Kagan is a sign of just how far we have progressed.

        Now sure a cynic would wonder why the Kagans were not banished to the foreign policy equivalent of the Single-A leagues (teaching at a JC in New Jersey?) after the debacle they championed in Iraq. But no, they still hold high office. Now if only one of their spawn ends up being gay or marrying an Asian we can keep the grand tradition of Kagan foreign policy diversity going through both the coming George P. Bush and the Chelsea Clinton Administrations as well.

        So while the “Fuck the EU” hook is pretty appealing, it is not the most interesting part of the conversation. After all, the milquetoast EU response to this recording shows just how much contempt they rightfully deserve to be held in. No, the quote that got me and that I am sure will most resonate with Ukrainians and Russians was “ I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience.”

        The pro-Western Ukrainian opposition is led by a triumvirate of Vitali Klitschko, a former heavyweight boxing champion, Oleh Tyahnybok, an ultra-nationalist who freely uses terms such as “Ukrainian Jewry” and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the son of university professors, economic liberal (European for neoliberal) and who has been referred to as an “imprudent little Jew” by an opposing candidate in the 2010 Presidential election. I hope you get the picture here.

        Klitschko the boxer pretty much wants to join the EU and NATO and is very popular, Tyahnybok the ultra-nationalist wants to only join NATO (to get out from under the Russian jackboot) but is a confirmed EU-skeptic and is also extremely popular, while “Yats” is pro-EU and Nato and seems to have neoliberal economic experience and in a fair election would come in a distant last place against his two rivals.

        So from a realpolitik point of view, it seems the US would be best to back the EU hostile ultranationalist but it is pretty understandable from a personal point of view why the Jewish Nuland would be working to keep him on the sidelines and pushing the neoliberal (and supposedly) Jewish candidate in his place. Also given the fact that both her parents are professors and so are “Yats’” we can see why she would think a lowly prole boxer (but one who is often photographed playing chess!!) is unworthy of higher office. The reality is though, of the three, the ultra-nationalist Oleh Tyahnybok is the closest to being an actual Fascist and there is no doubt he would be a huge embarrassment to the Western powers. So perhaps the Americans are banking on the fact that while “Yats” would join the EU, once in power he would be a hostile force within it (like the UK) and help to keep it from ever unifying and becoming a counter-balance to hegemonic US global power.

        For the Russian and Ukrainian audience this incident will resonate as just another example of Jewish Americans manipulating outcomes in their countries and will seem to be a repeat of the “Rape of Russia” where a gang of disproportionately Jewish economists (Larry Summers, Jeffrey Sachs, Andrei Shleifer, Stanely Fischer, and Jonathan Hay) went to “liberalize” Russia and lo and behold six of the seven oligarchs that resulted were Russian Jews thanks to state assets being sold to them for pennies on the ruble.

        Now if a gang of Chinese American economists had gone to Russian and suddenly six out of seven oligarchs that subsequently arose were Chinese Russian, people would have commented on this. Not so in this case.

        And so [sarcasm] luckily for Russia, Vladimir Putin came to power and took the radical step of kicking to the curb five of the six Jewish oligarchs (and sending their asses to London or the south of France to run football teams) and replaced them with proper gentile Russian oligarchs because we all know it is better to have your own kind oppressing you than to have members of a group that have been historically oppressed and suffered centuries of pogroms having their jackboot on your neck.[/sarcasm] But in doing so he has earned the enmity of powerful NeoCon families with real power on the ground.

        What we are seeing in Ukraine is the culminating point of the eastward expansion of the European Union Empire. Perhaps there will be a split decision between the West and Russia and the Dnieper River will ultimately be the temporary border between the EU and a resurgent Russian Empire. The battle between the US and the EU is whether Ukraine will be a full and active member of the EU or whether it will be a typical euro-skeptical periphery member. I would bet on the latter for the time being.

        1. Banger

          You have a good grasp of what is going on. I find the whole neocon thing to be fascinating. They went from being on the outs after 2006 within the Bush administration to having a major voice in a variety of institutions including the State Department, the Democratic Party, NPR (very dramatically) and many media outlets.

    3. LS

      The Smog Of Fraud

      Team Obama pulled a cute one last week nominating Blythe Masters, JP Morgan’s commodity chief, to an advisory committee of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) which supposedly regulates activities on the paper trades in corn, pork bellies, cocoa, coffee, wheat, corn — oh, and gold, too, by the way, in which JP Morgan has been suspected of massive gold (and silver) market manipulations and other misconduct lately. That would include the 2011 MF Global Fiasco in which nearly a billion dollars from “segregated” customer accounts somehow ended up parked over at JP Morgan as a result of bad derivative bets on tanking Eurozone bonds. MF Global, primarily a commodities trading brokerage, was liquidated in 2011. The CFTC never issued referrals for prosecution to the Department of Justice in the matter and, of course, MF Global’s notorious CEO, Jon Corzine remains at large, enjoying caramel flan lattes in the Hamptons to this day. Such are the Teflon transactions of the Obama years: nothing sticks.


  2. JTFaraday

    “I will have to remember that definition of wonk…”

    That sounds about right to me actually. Condescending people making policy to which others will be subjected and to which they’re pretty sure they’ll never be subjected themselves.

  3. The Dork of Cork

    This is merely a Punch and Judy show which functions as a mechanism to throw meat to the Twittering masses.
    Who gives a F$£K ?
    I have only seen her interviewed once.
    Does she even exist ?

    The debate on the internet has become existentialist – divorced from real local concerns.

    JPM controls global trade and war..
    Derivatives have merely replaced Cruisers in this role.

    When the American navy vacated Cork city at the Great wars end the last boat to leave was JPMs yacht.
    “All the ships had departed, apart from Corsair, the yacht of the billionaire J.P. Morgan, which had taken over from USS Melville as the base for the Officer Commanding. By June even the Corsair was gone.”

    These guys have run this global gaff in their own interests for a long LONG time.
    But that is not a reason to let them dominate our inner lives of conversation.
    These people never had that level of materialist control over our lives.
    At the end of the day she is just a woman serving on the ship of state.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Lawmakers and their aides were “surprised”

    It helps to practice that ‘surprised’ look in the mirror beforehand, so you won’t burst out laughing.

  5. diptherio

    A won battle does not a won war make…or something…

    JPM’s leaders and their ilk will continue to exert every bit of their influence over institutions and individuals alike, until we dismantle them. Until they no longer exist, they will require fighting.

  6. JGordon

    I am really disappointed that Blythe withdrew as an adviser to the CFTC. I really thought that with her being there a new leaf had been turned over for America: where instead of being two-faced about supporting liberty and justice and all that crap (while trying to subvert those things at every turn in fact), we would have a more honest, up-front society: where the criminality and corruption of our “leadership” is openly acknowledged and celebrated. But I guess there’s some out there who still see benefit in maintaining the annoying facade. Sad.

  7. Lonely-in-Dallas

    I am truly amazed that no one has made the obvious pun of this lady “blithely” lying to various bodies! :))

  8. Ken Ward

    Blythe Masters maybe be better known than this post suggests. She was, after all, one of the heroines of Gillian Tett’s Fool’s Gold. One of Tett’s favourite terms of praise was ‘cerebral’, a description she applied to more than one Morgan Chase employee.

  9. The Dork of Cork

    The strange story of how the local milkman became a man prepared to drop a little sun on Minsk. ( starts at 12.00 minutes )

    He showed just enough aggression in the face of authority to go the distance , but he never crossed the mark.
    Blythe Masters is merely the milkmans daughter.
    Another killer but perhaps she is a nice woman underneath.
    Who knows ?
    She is merely following orders is she not ?
    Therefore why focus our attention on a middle ranking soldier. ?

    This is how Bank of Amsterdam like operations work.
    Where the New York Fed operations are the real government via the total control of credit.

    If you want to see how the bank operates at a mid ranking level then look no further at this video.
    Everybody has their place in the peeking order.

    The great lesson of these last 400 years is that you must become more brutal & clinical then the new model army if you are to win.
    However if you do this you also lose by becoming one of them.

    We must try to avoid twitter conversations as this neglect of local concerns plays directly into their hands.
    More then anything else Cromwell and the people who followed destroyed Gaelic culture via monetary means.
    Turning us into ever more materialistic and goal oriented beasts.

    Burning the local village is the default programme.

  10. savedbyirony

    Perhaps so, but probably not in the way her PR machine would prefer. (i remember her also receiving positive coverage in one of the flawed Frontline shows dealing with the financial crash.)
    Notch this quick departure up in part to the subversive power of humor, presently a much under utilized means for change/activism imo. A while ago there was a NC post which led to the people talking about ACT-UP and its effectiveness for moving TPTB. I think they had a better than average track record while they were active, for various reasons, but one of which i am convinced was that they often used a good deal of dark, but not overly cynical, humor in their activism. TPTB want us to take them seriously, engage them seriously -doing so is a sign of respect- but being brave enough and creative enough to openly mock them leaves them with less ground to control the argument from.

  11. Teejay

    This position as “advisor” was it temporary, part time, pro bono? Was she leaving JPM,
    or was she playing both sides of the net?

    1. bob

      She plays both sides of the net, owns the ball, repo’d the net and has offered up title to the court as collateral to ensure the captivity of the line judges. After netting all of the exposure, you owe her $543,239.23 for licensing rights to that analogy.

  12. joe

    old news but – blythe masters should be in jail….the energy scam investigation remains “open” – she was caught red-handed and waltzes around getting appointed to henhouse duty….incredible…..

  13. phichibe

    This was/is even more appalling than Yves indicates. Imagine if Steven Cohen had been appointed to an SEC Advisory committee after settling with the Feds and paying $1 billion in fines. Blythe Masters is one of the true villains of the “derivatives as WMD” story and despite the financial blood on her hands she was undeterred when the opportunity for further profits by criminality beckoned in the commodities side of things. And not only does Dimon not fire her, he nominates her as Chase’s rep to the CFTC. And Obama’s man there OKs her. Simply incredible.

    This is ten times a more insulting gesture than when Cohen bought that Picasso. And the Obama folks were OK with it? Vive la Revolution!


  14. profoundlogic

    Blythe Masters….That name brings to mind a word that starts with a “C” and ends with a “UNT”.

  15. Katniss Everdeen

    From a tweet:

    “is like putting a Monsanto exec in charge of food safety”

    A Monsanto exec IS in charge of food safety (FDA).

  16. Jay

    Why does it not occur to anyone to call for Mark Wetjen’s head, if this was his idea? This discredits the entire CFTC. Those “surprised” lawmakers should be calling for the resignation of everyone in its leadership, then its dissolution.

  17. Paul Tioxon


    Obviously, the twitter death squads are further evidence of the ethnic cleansing of the institutions of government of the people most qualified to render judgement upon their peers. Not since the Eichmann Kommandos has such an effort been made to rigorously define a precise definition of a people to liquidate. Clearly, simply being an employee of JP MOrgan or involvement with high level finance such as commodity futures is a prima facie case for guilt. Like Pol Pot and the Khymer Rouge identifying the bourgeoisie counter-revolutionaries by the wearing of glasses and then killing them for the crime of reading, working as a decadent intellectual and not laboring as a calloused farmer.

    Whither America under such a reign of terror? First they came for ponzi schemers, but I did nothing, because I was an accounting control fraudster. Then they came for the embezzlers, and I said nothing, because I trade in a jurisdiction beyond the reach of prosecution. Then they twittered for me, and there was no one left to speak up for me because I had not spoken up for the others and we were divided and conquered. Only the Wall Street Journal Op-Ed page remained. Truly, they are the monks holed up in walled security, the last lamps of scattered light in a new dark age of ignorance, scribes of truth to be transmitted for another day when it is again, morning in America. We can only hope and pray!

  18. cripes

    Obama’s crew, following his example, become more brazen all the time. It’s a version of the boiling frog conundrum.
    Sometimes it’s not noticed (good for the emperor).
    Sometimes it is (even better).
    Cut food stamps?
    People whine and whimper, and then it peters out.
    Crank it up a degree or two and slay Detroit.
    Chained CPI.
    A few more drone attacks.
    Openly declare desire to kill whistleblower patriots.
    Legislate serfdom to the medical-insurance racket.
    Plunder pensions.
    Laugh in your faces about drones, single-payer and medical weed.
    Say “I’m really good at killing.”
    Blow smoke about minimum wage and never introduce a bill.
    Appoint every criminal you can find to staff the government and call them “savvy businessmen.”
    And so on ad infinitum.
    They’re counting on people being too addled, inattentive, traumatized, brainwashed and freaked-out to respond.
    Get it?

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