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JPMorgan CEO Blasts American Media, Washington In Bizarre Conference Call

Wholly unsurprisingly, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon made financial pages headlines for abstractly criticizing Washington bureaucracy and the American media during a conference call with reporters on Friday. The call was meant to detail the bank’s record-breaking second quarter earnings.

“It’s almost an embarrassment being an American citizen traveling around the world and listening to the stupid shit we have to deal with in this country,” Dimon — who’d recently returned from an overseas work trip — complained, repeatedly banging on the table.

“The United States of America has to start to focus on policy which is good for all Americans, and that is infrastructure, regulation, taxation, education,” he went on. “Why you guys don’t write about it every day is completely beyond me. And, like, who cares about fixed income trading in the last two weeks of June? I mean seriously.”

Dimon, a major Democratic donor worth $1.16 billion as of this writing, endorsed a theoretical 10% tax hike for top income earners in 2015 before refusing an offer to be President Trump’s treasury secretary.

Asked by one reporter on Friday if his criticism was aimed at the Trump administration, Dimon said “No,” adding, “That was frustration with you.”

Photo: Steve Jurvetson via Wikimedia Commons

Why Donald Trump’s Favorite Targets Are His Republican Comrades

Donald Trump has inspired so much fear among his Republican comrades that he no longer has to issue harsh tweets when they misbehave. They do it themselves.

Newt Gingrich was once himself revered as House speaker but has since become a Trump fawner. When Gingrich recently opined that Trump was no longer interested in “draining the swamp,” the sky fell on him.

In a James Bond movie, an oaf like Gingrich would have been quickly eliminated in a baroque manner. But Gingrich fell on his belly and begged forgiveness.

“I goofed,” he tweeted. “Draining the swamp is in, @realDonaldTrump is going to do it, and the alligators should be worried.”

Evan McMullin, who ran as an independent in the 2016 election, issued a wry tweet on the groveling: “Newt is learning the public prostration required of authoritarian loyalists. The dear leader often changes his mind but he’s always correct.”

During the campaign, Trump famously slandered Sen. Ted Cruz. He implied Cruz’s wife is ugly and accused his father of having helped assassinate John F. Kennedy. Then, in a startling display of total submission, Cruz endorsed Trump for president.

Trump has always taken a sadistic pleasure in humiliating those who disagree with him, and his favorite targets are frightened Republicans. He will be starting his administration with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress and wants obedience.

Trump has a team of enforcers ready to go after Republicans harboring stray thoughts. His hotheads are ready to issue dire threats against independent thinkers, with Breitbart amplifying the smears.

As campaign surrogates, both New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani disgraced themselves trying to cover for Trump’s birther lies. Neither emerged with a job in the administration.

By contrast, Trump is quite accommodating to the New York financiers he’s naming for key positions. The bankers and hedge funders may be into money, but they tend to be fairly liberal on social issues. Gary Cohn, No. 2 at Goldman Sachs and Trump’s pick to head the National Economic Council, is a Democrat.

When JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon declined Trump’s offer to head the Treasury Department, an unnamed Trump source let loose that the president-elect “doesn’t respect him.” Chances are Dimon could not care less, but note that Trump himself didn’t make the negative remark. Note also that Dimon has since become a Trump business adviser.

As for his views on policy, Dimon has spoken positively of a $15-an-hour minimum wage for New York City. He just announced that Trump will not expel 11 million undocumented immigrants from the country, adding, “President-elect Trump is different from candidate Trump.” And guess what. Not a peep of displeasure from Trump — and no abject apologies from Dimon, no apologies at all.

In Trump world, one treats financial titans with the utmost respect. He and they are in relationships likely to result in mutual profit.

Republican lawmakers under brutal surveillance must surely resent Trump’s warm ties with a Democrat, incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. A fellow New Yorker, Schumer knows what Trump is all about, and Trump knows it. Besides, Wall Street is a hometown employer.

Schumer has offered loud support for Trump’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure program. Conservatives are supposed to be against such big spending, but most Republicans will probably cave once “pressure” is applied.

But Schumer also announced he wouldn’t help Trump devise a shrunken version of Obamacare. Yet no threat has been hurled down from Trump Tower, only invitations.

Conservatives with spine will resist Trump’s break with doctrine. The other Republicans will adopt a pose of servility. And they’re the ones Trump will have fun with.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

IMAGE: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

A Whining Wall Street Banker Pleads For Pity

J.P. Morgan was recently socked in the wallet by financial regulators who levied yet another multi-billion-dollar fine against the Wall Street baron for massive illegalities.

Well, not a fine against John Pierpont Morgan, the man. This 19th-century robber baron was born to a great banking fortune and, by hook and crook, leveraged it to become the “King of American Finance.” During the Gilded Age, Morgan cornered the U.S. financial markets, gained monopoly ownership of railroads, amassed a vast supply of the nation’s gold and used his investment power to create U.S. Steel and take control of that market.

From his earliest days in high finance, Morgan was a hustler who often traded on the shady side. In the Civil War, for example, his family bought his way out of military duty, but he saw another way to serve. Himself, that is. Morgan bought defective rifles for $3.50 each and sold them to a Union general for $22 each. The rifles blew off soldiers’ thumbs, but Morgan pleaded ignorance, and government investigators graciously absolved the young, wealthy, well-connected financier of any fault.

That seems to have set a pattern for his lifetime of antitrust violations, union busting and other over-the-edge profiteering practices. He drew numerous official charges — but of course, he never did any jail time.

Moving the clock forward, we come to JPMorgan Chase, today’s financial powerhouse bearing J.P.’s name. The bank also inherited his pattern of committing multiple illegalities — and walking away scot-free.

Oh, sure, the bank was hit with big fines, but not a single one of the top bankers who committed gross wrongdoings were charged or even fired — much less sent to jail.

With this long history of crime-does-pay for America’s largest Wall Street empire, you have to wonder why Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s CEO, is so P.O.’d. He’s fed up to the tippy-top of his $100 haircut with all of this populist attitude that’s sweeping the country, and he’s not going to take it anymore!

Dimon recently bleated to reporters that “banks are under assault.” Well, he really doesn’t mean or care about most banks — just his bank. Government regulators, snarls Jamie, are pandering to grassroots populist anger at Wall Street excesses by squeezing the life out of the JP Morgan casino.

But wait — didn’t JPMorgan score a $22 billion profit last year, a 20 percent increase over 2013 and the highest in its history? And didn’t those Big Bad Oppressive Government Regulators provide a $25 billion taxpayer bailout in 2008 to save Jamie’s conglomerate from its own reckless excess? And isn’t his Wall Street Highness raking in some $20 million in personal pay to suffer the indignity of this “assault” on his bank. Yes, yes and yes.

Still, Jamie says that regulators and bank industry analysts are piling on JPMorgan Chase: “In the old days,” he whined, “you dealt with one regulator when you had an issue. Now it’s five or six. You should all ask the question about how American that is,” the $20-million-a-year man lectured reporters, “how fair that is.”

Well, golly, one reason Chase has half a dozen regulators on its case is because it doesn’t have “an issue” of illegality, but beaucoup illegalities, including deceiving its own investors, cheating more than two million of its credit card customers, gaming the rules to overcharge electricity users in California and the Midwest, overcharging active-duty military families on their mortgages, illegally foreclosing on troubled homeowners and… well, so much more.

So Jamie, you should ask yourself the question about “how fair” is all of the above. Then you should shut up, count your millions and be grateful you’re not in jail.

From John Pierpont Morgan to Jamie Dimon, the legacy continues. Banks don’t commit crimes. Bankers do. And they won’t ever stop if they don’t have to pay for their crimes.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page atwww.creators.com.

Photo: Steve Jurvetson via Wikimedia Commons