Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail? + US Fraud RECAP

03 Economy, 07 Other Atrocities, 11 Society, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence, Corporations, Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, Government, Law Enforcement, Money, Banks & Concentrated Wealth, Officers Call, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests
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Phi Beta Iota: With a tip of the hat to Rolling Stone and author Matt Taibbi, reproducing the entire article was the only way to show the emphasis added by Brother Chuck.  Updated to add photo and observe that this particular article is rocketing around the Internet.  See also our review of GRIFTOPIA.

UPDATE: Three comments from Facebook:

  • Robert Smith Socrates became disheartened. Machiavelli was on to something – power corrupts. I suspect that a true and totally transparent democracy of ideas and information are requisite groundwork for an enduring democracy.
  • Robert David Steele Vivas Transparency, truth, and trust. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson both understood, Will Durant says it best (see my review of his Philosophy and the Social Problem)
  • Lynn Wheeler In the late 90s, got asked by NSCC (before they merged with DTC) to look at improving integrity of trading transactions (in part because had recently done something similar for payment transactions) … after putting some amount of work int…it was suspended. The comment was that a side-effect of improving the integrity would have also greatly increased transparency and visibility (which apparently is antithetical to trading culture … some x-over with recent RS article focusing on secrecy as a fraud-enabler).

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

Financial crooks brought down the world’s economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them

Matt Taibbi. Rolling Stone, 16 February 2011

Over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer.

“Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail,” he said. “That’s your whole story right there. Hell, you don’t even have to write the rest of it. Just write that.”

I put down my notebook. “Just that?”

“That’s right,” he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. “Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there.”

Nobody goes to jail. This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth — and nobody went to jail. Nobody, that is, except Bernie Madoff, a flamboyant and pathological celebrity con artist, whose victims happened to be other rich and famous people.

This article appears in the March 3, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is available now on newsstands and will appear in the online archive February 18.

Entire Piece with Emphasis from Chuck Spinney Below the Line

Review: Griftopia–Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America

6 Star Top 10%, America (Founders, Current Situation), Atrocities & Genocide, Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Civil Society, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Economics, Intelligence (Public), Misinformation & Propaganda, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Public Administration, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), True Cost & Toxicity, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
Amazon Page

Matt Taibbi

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Star Game Changer….Maybe

November 2, 2010

This is an extraordinary book, combining gifted insights and turns of phrase with serious research that has a point worth fighting for: Wall Street led by Goldman Sachs has ripped off the entire US economy, and they still have most people thinking that politics matters.

It merits comment that while Michael Lewis was first, with Liar’s Poker, and was recently quoted as saying he had no idea Wall Street would get away with these obvious high crimes against the public for another 30 years, this author takes us all up another level, weaving in everything–politics, culture, sex, booze, LSD, and the occasional rabbid racoon.

The author is especially deft at observing, documenting, and describing the combination of lunatic ignorance and blessed righteous anger within the Tea Party, at the same time that he points out they have no idea that they have been funded and directed by the very people who have stolen their economy out from under them.

I am especially impressed by the author’s understanding of how Wall Street has managed to co-opt the very people they are destroying by leveraging the “shared” view of excessive government regulation. I for one absolutely believe that states should start nullifying federal laws and regulations that impair state-based businesses (e.g. butchers and cabinet-makers). What the people being destroyed do not understand is HOW they are being destroyed by Wall Street, which is essentially eating out the foundation from under them.

QUOTE (32): What has taken place over the last generation is a highly complicated merger of crime and policy, of stealing and government. Far from taking care of the rest of us, the financial leaders of America and their political servants have seemingly reached the cynical conclusion that our society is not work saving and have taken on a new mission that involved not creating wealth for us all, but simply absconding with whatever wealth remains in our hollowed out economy. They don’t feed us, we feed them.

Continue reading “Review: Griftopia–Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America”

Journal: Wall Street’s Naked Swindle

03 Economy, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence, Ethics, Government, Reform
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A scheme to flood the market with counterfeit stocks helped kill Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers — and the feds have yet to bust the culprits

MATT TAIBBIPosted Oct 14, 2009

What really happened to Bear and Lehman is that an economic drought temporarily left the hyenas without any more middle-class victims — and so they started eating each other, using the exact same schemes they had been using for years to fleece the rest of the country. And in the forensic footprint left by those kills, we can see for the first time exactly how the scam worked — and how completely even the government regulators who are supposed to protect us have given up trying to stop it.

This was a brokered bloodletting, one in which the power of the state was used to help effect a monstrous consolidation of financial and political power. Heading into 2008, there were five major investment banks in the United States: Bear, Lehman, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Today only Morgan Stanley and Goldman survive as independent firms, perched atop a restructured Wall Street hierarchy. And while the rest of the civilized world responded to last year’s catastrophes with sweeping measures to rein in the corruption in their financial sectors, the United States invited the wolves into the government, with the popular new president, Barack Obama — elected amid promises to clean up the mess — filling his administration with Bear’s and Lehman’s conquerors, bestowing his papal blessing on a new era of robbery.

Journal: Rolling Stone on Sick and Wrong (Washington Corruption, Health Care Example)

Ethics, Legislation, Media Reports, Reform

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SICK and WRONG: How Washington is Screwing Up Health Care Reform – and Why It May Take a Revolt to Fix It

Matt Taibbi

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Let’s start with the obvious: America has not only the worst but the dumbest health care system in the developed world. It’s become a black leprosy eating away at the American experiment – a bureaucracy so insipid and mean and illogical that even our darkest criminal minds wouldn’t be equal to dreaming it up on purpose.

The system doesn’t work for anyone. It cheats patients and leaves them to die, denies insurance to 47 million Americans, forces hospitals to spend billions haggling over claims, and systematically bleeds and harasses doctors with the specter of catastrophic litigation. Even as a mechanism for delivering bonuses to insurance-company fat cats, it’s a miserable failure: Greedy insurance bosses who spent a generation denying preventive care to patients now see their profits sapped by millions of customers who enter the system only when they’re sick with incurably expensive illnesses.

The cost of all of this to society, in illness and death and lost productivity and a soaring federal deficit and plain old anxiety and anger, is incalculable – and that’s the good news. The bad news is our failed health care system won’t get fixed, because it exists entirely within the confines of yet another failed system: the political entity known as the United States of America.

Just as we have a medical system that is not really designed to care for the sick, we have a government that is not equipped to fix actual crises. What our government is good at is something else entirely: effecting the appearance of action, while leaving the actual reform behind in a diabolical labyrinth of ingenious legislative maneuvers.  [Emphasis added.]

STEP ONE: AIM LOW

STEP TWO: GUT THE PUBLIC OPTION

STEP THREE: PACK IT WITH LOOPHOLES

STEP FOUR: PROVIDE NO LEADERSHIP

STEP FIVE: BLOW THE MATH

As Rolling Stone’s chief political reporter, Matt Taibbi’s predecessors include the likes of journalistic giants Hunter S. Thompson and P.J. O’Rourke. Taibbi’s 2004 campaign journal Spanking the Donkey cemented his status as an incisive, irreverent, zero-bullshit reporter. His latest collection is Smells Like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire