Trump Era White Collar Crime: Who’s Chasing Who?

What is going on with Wall Street White Collar Crime in the Trump era?

Hedge Fund Managers Never Die

Sheelah Kolhatkar wrote an excellent article in The New Yorker this January.

Her book, Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street, is all about the way the US New York District Attorney tried to bring down Hedge Fund Manager Steve Cohen.

This from CSPAN yesterday:

You’re Fired!

It turns out that the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, who attempted to jail Steve Cohen,  has since been fired by Donald Trump.


Bharara’s own performance as a prosecutor has prompted mixed reactions.

From praise:

To mixed:

And outright hostile:


This hedge fund ethics and compliance executive was also jailed by Bharara.



Reading List

For more on Preet Bharara in the New Yorker:

TV Show

The TV Show Billions is loosely based on the Hedge Fund Insider Trading Battles that creator Andrew Ross Sorkin has covered while working as a New York Times journalist, CNBC Squawk Box host and successful author.


This is how the show’s creators responded to Bharara’s sacking:

So what do you think is really going on?

Is Mr Trump really ‘draining the swamp’ — or just feeding the crocodiles?



Sleeping Rough & Stealing our Jobs!

Riz Ahmed says British directors, producers and writers aren’t hiring non-white British actors.

That’s why so many have to try their luck in America.

Plenty of white British actors feel they have to base themselves in the States too.

But this is never referred to as a problem.

Migration Watch

Samuel Jackson recently said American producers and directors prefer hiring non-white Brits as they’re cheaper than their American counterparts and often classically trained.

Taking our jobs!

I don’t work in the entertainment industry and I certainly wouldn’t want to get into an argument with Mr Jackson.

However  I’m happy to highlight the similarity between his comments and the arguments I hear used in the UK against eastern Europeans and their employers.

They’re coming over here, undercutting the locals, and taking our jobs.

To hear such comments from such an iconic figure is worrying.

But there must be some truth to what Mr Jackson says.


He’s not a politician. He must have spoken out for a reason.

We know who Samuel Jackson is thanks to Globalisation and US Cultural dominance —  I do not begrudge him his success.

I can see how any actor would want to go to the US for their big break.

But equally I don’t see why Jackson shouldn’t identify reasons African American actors are missing out on rôles.

Especially rôles that would help them develop and become bankable  box office names as well as Oscar winners and cultural icons — like him.


Let’s have a look another world — Football.

There are many theories as to Why England Lose.

The excellent Simon Kuper of the FT wrote a book about it called – Why England Lose.

Some say that the influx of foreign players to the English Premier League  since the 90’s stops most English Players from getting the  top level experience that the national team so desperately needs.

As for football managers — I assume the last English manager to win the English League was still Howard Wilkinson for Leeds in 1992.

The French

The French have their own problems.

So where do we all stand?

Open Border Vs Closed Shop

Should globalisation allow anyone to go and work anywhere?

Or do open borders mean locals end up losing out because wages stagnate?

Should we be telling people they cannot leave their countries because we fear they will steal our jobs?

Even as we bomb their countries and steal their minerals?

And take the best of them to treat our sick and develop new drugs and machinery?

And their unskilled to be exploited and underpaid.


I don’t have one size fits all answers to these questions.

But we need to have meaningful dialogue because all this affects us all.

Whether we are winners or losers from the system – it’s under severe stress and we all have to live with that.

Here’s an article on Why Culture Matters from my friend David Malone.

Deporting Rough Sleepers

Nothing nice about this Homelessness story.

Community Level

This post talks about what we can do to alleviate homelessness  — Don’t Despair, Don’t be Brutalised by Anne Booth.

Ex-KGB Billionaire appoints City of London lobbyist to run London’s biggest newspaper

Billionaire ex-KGB spy Alexander Lebedev has just hired George Osborne to edit London’s Evening Standard newspaper.

The move has triggered concerns about media bias and conflicts of interest.

This from HSBC Fraud whistleblower Nicholas Wilson.

In Praise of Sound Money

Here is Osborne praising the Conservative Chancellor Phillip Hammond  straight after last week’s disastrous budget.


Will there be calls for Tory U-Turns in Osborne’s Standard?

Conflicts of interest

Only last week the Evening Standard itself printed a story on Osborne’s conflicts of interest.

Originally covered by Financial Eyes / London Conversation here.

  Original Shape-Shifter

Adam Curtis’s short 2009 film, Oh Dear, points to parallels between Russian and British propaganda — particularly to George Osborne’s rôle. (after 3 minutes 12 seconds)

KGB Banking Oligarch

Lebedev himself made his money from banking in the late 90’s after having been a London based Soviet spy.

BBC Bias

Here is the BBC’s very own ex-Lebedev man, Amol Rajan, being interviewed by its ex-Murdoch Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil:

The establishment routinely ignores questions about media ownership and media bias in this country.

But even by British standards this is an unprecedented political appointment.

City AM

The City Of London’s daily financial free paper City AM’s editor Christian May was given the job without ever having worked at a newspaper.

Though I disagree with many of his views Christian May edits well:


Murdoch’s Times has had it in for Russia for a while. It’s pushed for sanctions against Russia for its role in the Crimea and Syria.


Lebedev does seem to be friendly with Putin.

Standard Morale

I wonder what having the Austerity Chancellor in charge of the Standard will do for staff morale.


Farage openly promoting Marine Le Pen

But since “quitting politics” he’s already backed Trump in the US election and now he’s doing the same for the leader of the French National Front.

Double Standards

In the tenth minute of this 40 minute interview Farage asks Le Pen if she feels British Prime Minister Theresa May snubbed her by inviting her rival Emmanuel Macron to Downing Street.

Farage himself never let UKIP enter Le Pen’s nationalist grouping in the European Parliament.

Theresa’s Judgment

In this 30 second clip Le Pen refers to Macron as not being the sort of person she thought Theresa May would want to meet as, in contemporary French politics, he’s the key salesperson of deregulation and Globalisation.

Marine Le Pen and Nigel Farage bond over Theresa May’s terrible judgment.

They correctly point out that it makes no sense for Theresa May to say she stands for Brexit and threatening immigrants but then roll out the red carpet for Macron and not Le Pen.

Farage points out that Theresa May wanted nothing to do with Trump until some days after he was elected – despite the supposed similarity in their agendas.


Farage and Trump, unlike Le Pen, strongly back deregulation.

They refer to it as cutting red tape.

But Le Pen talks about protecting French workers from deregulation.

Trump and Farage pretend to rail against corporate power but their loyalties lie with the uber-rich.

Could it be a similar story with Le Pen?

A former top lawyer and daughter of a multimillionaire, her party also needs big cheques but courts and delivers a mainly working class vote.

The only things they really agree on are the threat of open borders and Islamic terrorism.

Economic Patriotism

Le Pen shows solidarity with May and Farage against the vindictiveness of the European Union.

She says the EU wants to punish Britain.

Farage asks her about how she wants to protect French businesses and whether there is room for trade with Britain.

Le Pen says her Economic Patriotism means ensuring French Local Authorities buy from local suppliers.

She also says further measures should be taken to protect french industries from ‘dumping’ – where foreign firms sell their products cheaper because they are able to produce more for less due to weaker labour and environmental laws.

I feel China and Germany are being alluded to here but there’s no mention of British and American exporters and the huge deregulation going on in the USA which they plan to use to boost exports to France.

On the other hand she says she also wants France to “conquer the world” and therefore favours trade.

She concludes that for some industries you need protection but not for all.

This is similar to Steve Bannon’s assertion that he is not a White Nationalist but an Economic Nationalist.

America already had a Buy America policy under Obama.

And while France’s local industries obviously ought to be protected, there are massive inconsistencies in Le Pen’s argument.

But Farage doesn’t point them out.

How can global waves of economic nationalism and protectionism help French exporters?

But we can still sell to each other with minimal taxation, right?

Farage asks if by threatening to impose tariffs on Britain, the EU is ultimately making French workers pay to protect the EU project.

Conversation moves on to talk of migration, borders, Calais and suspending the Schengen agreement.

Brits living in France are reassured that they will not be threatened.

Le Pen says many of the French in London will return to France.

Taxes will be cut as unemployment falls and public spending is cut.

Le Pen says being a Muslim in France is not a problem – it is sectarianism she says she objects to.

She says she is against Islamist Fundamentalism.

When asked about anti-semitism in her party Le Pen says she doesn’t tolerate it and would prefer not to be judged by the words of all her supporters.

Farage says he knows how it feels to be judged by one’s supporters.

Conversation then goes to Putin.

Le Pen argues Russia and US are both as important as each other and that Russia has done a lot of good in Syria.

Farage asks if borrowing from Russian banks compromises her.

Le Pen says she couldn’t borrow elsewhere but that her lender doesn’t choose her policies.

On Trump – Le Pen says she too opposed TTIP and is glad he wants to be a President of the US and not of the world.

Global Revolution

Le Pen says there’s definitely a global revolution going on.

She points out that it is funny that the Anglo Saxon creators of neoliberalism are now the ones who reject it.

Farage says that it was Brussels who created this neoliberalism and not the Anglo Saxons.

Le Pen replies that the Anglo-Saxon world implemented Liberalism and the EU has turned it into Ultra Liberalism.

She says that either way, they are both now on the same side. 

This doesn’t feel unlike rival football hooligan firms enjoying a friendly beer before resuming normal service and beating the crap out of each other.

The Raheem Kassam / Tommy Robinson interview on Breitbart is a great insight into the various conflicts and shifting identities at play in some of these manufactured populist movements.

The Spice Girls, The Sex Pistols and even the Jimi Hendrix Experience were all put together by their management teams.

So why not UKIP or the EDL?

Kassam, a self-defining ex-muslim and product of intellectual PC-friendly culture, shifted to the alt-right and now runs Breitbart London which is controlled by Steve Bannon.

Tommy Robinson changed his slightly Irish and double barrelled name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon to head up the English Defence League with an alias taken from a notorious Leeds United football hooligan.

He makes his money running a tanning salon in Luton.

Yes, that’s right.

From people in a multicultural area who pay him money to look less white.

Everybody’s looking for something. And you have to make a living, right?

There’s a beautiful symmetry here.

Where were we?

The French Presidential Election

Farage asks why Le Pen should be French President.

She says because she is profoundly French.

The other candidates just want to represent the Insurance, Banking, and Drug Companies.

Le Pen is asked if, having won the first round, she can win the second round.

She says it is a choice for the French.

It’s no longer a left-right split.

Do we want France to remain France?

She says if voters really want French values such as secularism, equality of race and religion, and not sectarianism, then they will vote for her.

Le Pen says the other candidates have a post national vision.

They want to work for Mrs Merkel.

The election is a referendum on Globalisation.

Farage asks Le Pen if she thinks she will win.

Le Pen says she thinks she will.


US Politics: Healthcare Debate

    Are all Americans deserving of the right to healthcare?

      Yes — Universal healthcare systems should mean free access for all at the point of delivery, focused on protecting public health, and funded via general taxation.
        No — No-one should ever be forced to pay for services they will never use and no-one should be allowed to use services they could never afford.



          The US health care debate on CNBC this morning started with EVERYONE AGREEING that EVERY AMERICAN DESERVES COVERAGE.
          Discussion quickly moved on to whether IMPROVING ACCESS to HEALTHCARE is best achieved by MAKING IT MORE AFFORDABLE.
          It was then pointed out that the only way you could make healthcare more affordable would be to force all taxpayers to subsidise the health system.
          Finally there was talk of the injustice of taking money off citizens whose belief systems prevent them from ever using the health system in the first place.

        When Sqwawk Box presenter Andrew Sorkin pointed out that this was an absurd line of argument his co-presenter stated that though he agreed with Sorkin he still thought the point of view deserved mentioning.

    Check the buzzwords in this recent MSNBC video:

    What is the difference between Receiving Affordable Care, Unaffordable Coverage & Insurance, & Access to Healthcare?

    What is the difference between Classic Republicans, Democrats and Trump’s people?

    Back to the UK

    Looks like Brexit has been brought about to Deregulate the Labour Market and get rid of the minimum wage.

    Here is Dr Bob Gill on what is really happening to the UK’s NHS.


Nepotism trumps Feminism at the Bank of England

If you want to know what makes Britain tick, take a look at the Bank of England.

Interlocking directorships and the Old Boy Network still dominate public life as its recent appointment of Charlotte Hogg reveals.

But few media commentators ever refer to this as a problem. In a recent book – Trust, Power and Public Relations in Financial Markets, Dr Clea Bourne – refers to ‘organised silence’.

Charlotte ‘I wrote the rulebook’ Hogg

Charlotte Hogg, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England (BoE), was appointed the Bank’s Chief Operating Officer in 2013 but never, despite being asked about potential conflicts of interest, disclosed that her brother is a Barclays director.

When she appeared in front of the Treasury Select Committee (TSC) to discuss her recent promotion Hogg said she was well aware of the Bank’s code of conduct — quite apt given she wrote it.

You’d think the daughter of two members of the House of Lords might have more respect for protocol.

It turns out that Hogg’s brother, Quintin, is the least interesting member of the family.

Charlotte Hogg’s mum Sarah Hogg aka Viscountess Hailsham was head of John Major’s Policy Unit in the 1990s — where the controversial Private Finance Initiative (PFI) that has virtually bankrupted the NHS was pioneered.

Sarah Hogg then wrote a book about the Major Years with David Cameron’s recent EU Finance Commissioner & PR Man Jonathan Hill.

Drain the Moat

Charlotte Hogg’s father Douglas Hogg aka Lord Hailsham was himself a Cabinet Minister as well as MP to Mrs Thatcher’s home town of Grantham.

Douglas Hogg was also one of the most prominent offenders in the 2009 parliamentary expenses scandal.

He charged the  British taxpayer upwards of £2000 to clean the moat of his country estate.

Grantham Uncut

Incidentally Grantham’s Hospital’s 24 hour A&E department service was severely reduced in August due to staffing problems at neighbouring hospitals.

Ultra Nepotist Lectures Diversity

Charlotte’s mother Sarah Hogg joined the Financial Conduct Authority board in April 2016

Here she is speaking at a Business Department Select Committee on Executive Pay and Diversity in the Boardroom.

She opens by stating that she is a member of the Takeover Panel, Lead Independent Director of HM Treasury and a non executive director of John Lewis Partnership (since 2011).

Is it right for public institutions in a so called democracy to be run by such a tiny clique?

I wonder what HSBCFraud whistleblower Nicholas Wilson has to say about these FCA, Bank of England, Treasury, and John Lewis connections?

After all John Lewis Partnership Credit Cards are run by HSBC and they’ve made a lot of money defrauding their customers.

According to her CV, Charlotte Hogg was also on the board of BBC Worldwide from 2010 to 2013.

From 2002 to 2010 Sarah Hogg was Chairman of 3i, the Bank of England founded private equity firm that bought Barclays’ highly lucrative PFI Infrastructure business in 2013.

But Barclays and 3i were already collaborating on University PFI projects under Sarah Hogg’s 3i Chairmanship.

Hogg was able to draw on the knowledge and contacts she had built up when pioneering PFI at John Major’s Policy Unit.

Their joint venture eventually became University Partnerships Programme (UPP) — now known to be rip off merchants who market and lobby for increased student debt under the guise of enhanced choice and high quality student experience :

It turns out that Hogg was first recruited for the Chief Operating Officer role at the Bank of England by Virginia Bottomley’s headhunting firm.

Former Health Minister Bottomley is current Health Minster Jeremy Hunt’s Aunt.

So there you are. A very brief tour of the Hogg’s interests.

Below are a few more articles about Charlotte Hogg.

Guardian Piece from 2013 on Charlotte Hogg’s Connections


More on the débâcle:







Transgender Tournaments

Every society has its customs.

Harvest seasonally celebrates good weather and a community’s ability to feed itself.

And mating rituals, often hierarchical, involve male displays of physical excellence and material resourcefulness to attract reproductive females.

But when societies code their rules using abstract tools like language then inherent ambiguities and opportunities for conflict undoubtedly emerge.

in 2015 Feminist Germaine Greer was ‘no-platformed’ for her views on gender.

Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell was also no-platformed for showing Greer  support.


Applied Linguistic Subversion

So is Political Correctness driving Cultural Revolution?

Or the other way round?

Aristotelian Dualism Vs 21st Century Non-Binary

Is post-modernism fueling post-truth & transgender politics?

Multilayered Meta-Misinterpretations

As every bit of language is now deconstructed to its most ambiguous form.

An atomised society full of polarised people.

The best way to undermine a ridiculous law is to apply it to the letter.

But the interim injustice must be tolerated for how long?

Minority rule was frowned upon in Zimbabwe and Apartheid South Africa but minorities rights everywhere ought to be protected too.

Equal opportunity is complicated – but surely worth it.

Post Brexit Plan: Scrap Living Wage, Hire Cheapest Trade Negotiators, Hope EU still want to Trade

I don’t remember many calls to scrap the National Living Wage before the Brexit vote.

Maybe the government think such a policy might come in useful when we have to negotiate with the EU.

But Brussels doesn’t seem keen on letting Brexit Britain sell Banking Services to the Eurozone.

This FT article’s comment says it all:







BBC to Broadcast Trump State Visit despite White House ban on BBC reporters

Donald Trump’s Administration has taken another step toward becoming a full dictatorship by banning the BBC and several other ‘dishonest media’ from the White House’s daily briefing.

The President’s favourites far-right Breitbart, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Network, and even Turkish State Media were allowed to attend yesterday’s off-television briefing.

Which means Trump now respects Turkey’s press more than Britain’s.

Will the BBC really broadcast Trump shaking the Queen’s hand while its own reporters, unlike Turkey’s, are banned from participating in the White House’s Briefings?

Another national humiliation.

What about our Special Relationship?

By Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s own definition the United States is moving the US from democracy toward dictatorship:


As most of the Press have been critical of the White House’s use of alternative facts since day one, the White House Correspondent’s Dinner should be interesting this year:

Banned Outlets





The Daily Mail (including a list of who was and wasn’t invited):










TEFL in London

Going round the room this morning I asked people where they were from.

Krys, from Poland, said he had lived in South America for 24 years. I asked him if he was an Engineer.

“No, I am a missionary.”

Christ, I thought.

“Does that make you a Catholic Priest?”

“Yes. I have been here in London for three weeks. I will work here now. Mainly with people from Latin America.”

I told him about a friend who got into Voodoo in Brazil – with some Christianity and Shamanism thrown in.

Krys says Voodoo is just one of a whole family of similar religions.

We discussed Ayuhuasca. I asked some of the women in the room if they would consider giving it all up and moving to the forest. There wasn’t too much interest.

Next to Krys was Ana Lucia. She’s from near Milan and is off to South Sudan to help with the famine. Krys told me that Ana Lucia used to live in Brazil too. They were very near each other.  She was an accountant for an NGO. A missionary in her own right. Funny that. Having two of them next to each other. Especially as I’d never met one before.  At least not in class. Actually there was that one from Taiwan the other day. She was off to help kids with HIV in Kenya.

Some good people out there!

Cycling back through West Hampstead I got stuck in Storm Doris. Nearly got knocked off the bike. Saw cute girl I used to go to school with. Still looking good.

Then more interesting chats with another student. Talking about arguments used in court cases to get your guilty client off.

Apparently the thing to do is to  drag the case out then tell the judge he made a minor procedural error. Aim to get a retrial and then rely on the state’s desperation to get a quick conviction — that should get the conviction cut.