Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Can We Please Put These Wall Street Crooks in Jail Where They Belong?

Posted by: Noël Jones

Matt Taibbi--the same reporter for Rolling Stone who broke the story on the SEC document-shredding scandal--now brings us this report on a deal that the Obama administration and major Wall Street bankers responsible for the crash of our economy are trying to strike with the attorneys general of all 50 states, to limit to $20 billion the damages
that major banks can pay for running this country into the ground, and insure them against being prosecuted in the future for predatory lending, theft and fraud. As an example of just how ridiculous this amount is, Taibbi points out that the Florida state pension system alone lost $62 billion, never mind the other 49 states, or the millions of Americans who were duped into bad mortgages and refinancing packages, only to lose everything.

The lone hold-out against this deal, is Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of New York, who is throwing the book at them and refusing to sign the deal, and he is under great pressure from the Obama administration to sign the deal. This is particularly distressing when you consider that the SEC (not to mention the President) is supposed to be looking out for the American people, as is the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) who is leaning hard on Schneiderman, as well as Federal Reserve board member Kathryn Wilde, who Taibbi quotes as saying to Schneiderman:

"It is of concern to the industry that instead of trying to facilitate resolving these issues, you seem to be throwing a wrench into it. Wall Street is our Main Street — love ’em or hate ’em. They are important and we have to make sure we are doing everything we can to support them unless they are doing something indefensible."

This level of double-speak is shocking in its arrogance. Wylde is behaving as if it is perfectly normal for our government's concern and "support" to be for major bankers, rather than the American people. She talks as if the deliberate scheming to proliferate predatory lending--and then packaging those mortgages in complicated financial vehicles that bond them with insurance to get them rated as AAA products for trading on the market until the market collapses--is not "indefensible."

I'd say write to your senator to demand accountability, but considering Senator Toomey is a derivatives trader himself, your appeal is sure to fall on deaf ears. Our government has been bought. What can we do about it, other than writing Eric Schneiderman love letters? Aside from voting in a new president, I honestly don't know, and am open to suggestion. I only know one presidential candidate that is willing to take on the Federal Reserve, and that's Ron Paul. What are the chances that Americans are mad enough that he'll win the Republican nomination?


Dennis R. Lieb said...

The Republicans would be more likely to destroy him with a smear campaign or find someone nutty enough to shoot him before they ever let him win. Everybody else on their side of the aisle has already proven themselves to be either total ideological kooks or religious fanatics.

As for the Democratic options I see none. There are no untainted figures, save for Bernie Sanders (Ah, but there's that Independent thing again - no chance in Hell).

The current occupant of the White House is one of two things: a complete wimp, willing to take any crap the right shoves down his throat or a manipulative and sinister character looking to protect his Wall Street pals like the rest of the wretched political mob.

Unfortunately at this point I am leaning toward the latter. In any case he is the most disappointing President I've ever experienced. Its one thing to know someone is a bum before he enters the Presidency and be expecting him to screw you over at every turn. Its quite another for someone with the promise this guy affected to possess ending up a fraud.

Maybe firing squads aren't such a bad idea after all - for treasonous activities such as we're seeing today you could start with the SEC and work your way along. That might finally get some one's attention.


Anonymous said...

The FBI & the Secret Service have each just added another page to Dennis' file.

Joanne said...

Our forefathers and mothers must be rolling over in their graves.

Noel, thanks for great post. I like Ron Paul too. It seems that corruption has become acceptable. We need to wake up.

Not sure of answers but maybe we can start by building strong communities.

noel jones said...

Although Ron Paul is not a religious fanatic and though he is certainly ideological, he is hardly a kook. I think that marginalizing an ideology itself as crazy, shuts, rather than opens, a discussion where various tenets of an ideology can be examined. This is something that our sound-bite media world does on the regular.

For example, Ron Paul was interviewed about the recent floods and FEMA response, and dared to say that we don't need FEMA. This video-bite has been played over and over on cable news networks ever since, offered up as evidence that Ron Paul is out of touch and doesn't care what happens to Americans struggling to recover from the flooding. And that is after an almost complete media black-out on both liberal AND conservative news channels of how well Ron Paul did in the GOP polls after the GOP debate and his close second finish to Bachmann in the Straw Poll.

Bernie Sanders was interviewed by phone regarding the Vermont floods and asked about Ron Paul's comment (over footage of covered bridges being washed away by the flooding rivers) and Sanders said that he respected Paul on many points, but that on this point he was out of his mind.

Last night, to Anderson Cooper's credit, he interviewed Ron Paul and gave him the opportunity to explain his views. Unlike other politicians who seem to back-pedal every time they're caught saying something that is not politically advantageous, he reiterated his comment about FEMA, and said that he was speaking from his own experience with his constituents in Galvaston, TX during Katrina, and that the federal agency, run on our tax dollars, actually IMPEDES local residents who want to work together to save their homes and the homes of their neighbors, and that the levy systems that FEMA has built over the years have actually made the effects of flooding WORSE since their inception in 1979. He also pointed out that their very existence encourages people to make stupid decisions as to where to build, because they know FEMA will come rebuild for them if they get flooded.

Then Anderson Cooper said, "Are you saying that the Federal government should take no part in rescuing people in these situations?" Paul answered, "Rescued? Yes. By our National Guard and other military units--and they'd be free to do that if they weren't stuck over in Iraq and Afghanistan right now."

Now, with regard to our economy, Ron Paul is the only candidate that has been seriously taking on our Federal Reserve system and its cartel of bankers for his entire career. For that, he has been called a kook as well. It's true, libertarians are fans of deregulation, but what often gets overlooked is that they are very much in favor of putting people in jail for crimes.

noel jones said...

Now THIS is more like it: