What A Great Country. You Can Pick Your Own Reality.

What A Great Country. You Can Pick Your Own Reality.

Is this a great country! If you're a conservative you can watch the Fox News Channel and hear everything you want to hear the way you want to hear it. If you are a liberal, you can tune in to MSNBC and get the liberal point of view. The same stories, but with a totally different take. You can pick your own reality.

I was thinking about this the other day when I recalled an email sent to me by a friend with an article in a publication called NEWSMAX, which recounted the New York Post's page 1 article headlined "Uncle Scam." The article's subhead read "U.S. Robs Bank of $13B." The reference was to $13 billion in fines levied on JPMorgan in relation to its mortgage securities business.

The Post quoted bank analyst Dick Bove of Rafferty Capital, who said the deal "is a basic and fundamental attack on capitalism." He went on  to say, "It is possible that the government is taking away the property of JPMorgan shareholders without the shareholders having committed any crime or having any say in the expropriation of these funds."

The Post article also quoted Doug Kass, a hedge-fund manager, who said, "I just think that these banks like JPMorgan are being whacked like a pinata. Ultimately, the earnings power of banks is being regulated out of them from the (Securities and Exchange Commission), from the Department of Justice."

That is Bove's and Kass' take on the story. The other side, you might recall, is that JPMorgan and a number of other major financial institutions sold worthless mortgage-backed securities to financial institutions in other countries around the world and, in the process, caused a worldwide financial crisis. Some of those countries are still reeling from that crisis, but JPMorgan and the other American financial institutions got bailed out by our government using your taxes and mine. The fines to JPMorgan and other banks are small payback for the government loans that kept them solvent and, in many cases, doing better than ever.

It's interesting to note that folks who get caught by the police for possession of narcotics can go to jail for years, when the only harm they were doing was to themselves. Did any of those bankers who were involved in fraudulent behavior on a grand scale go to jail? No. How about the JPMorgan employee in London whose manipulations cost that bank about $2 billion. Did he go to jail? No. The top man at JPMorgan kind of brushed that episode off, in effect saying "stuff happens." 

Do you remember the grinning guy on TV who bragged about approving all those mortgages for folks who obviously couldn't afford the house they were buying? It was like a game, with no thought about the people he was hurting. And his boss kept pressuring him to approve more of those mortgages!  Did they go to jail? Not to the best of my knowledge. 

What do you think?

Beau Weisman, Editor