Sourced from PBS Frontline, The Untouchables
OK, now that the inauguration is over and it’s time to see how many of the pie in the sky promises and premises actually get fulfilled over the next four years, it’s also a good time to look at some of them and try to assess their chances in a country that has basically become a right wing oligarchy in which most ideologies have converged at a point well to the right of what we used to call the center. I suspect that the mere contention that there might have been some failures of the Obama Administration and the notion that there may be even more such failures in the offing will bring the usual howls of rage from those who truly believe he can do no wrong but it’s not going to alter the fact that those failures exist.
I suspect one of the biggest failures we’ll be seeing over the next four years is one of the same we saw during the past four… the failure to do a goddamned thing about the predations of the “too big to fail” financial sector that is bleeding this country dry daily. We can talk all we want to about having passed a few minor Wall Street “reforms” but the simple fact is that Wall Street continues to be the leading factor in the decline of America, not only as a limited democracy, but as a representative republic, which so many are so wont to point out that it is when someone on the left laments about the losses the majority of us have had to endure.
As I sit here typing away to the four or five folks who may actually see what I’ve typed when it’s finally posted, not a single one of the Wall Street banks has been called to task for its role in the collapse of the economy. Not a single CEO or even minor executive of any of the Wall Street financial institutions that brought the country to it’s knees has received even so much as a legal slap on the wrist.
This actually comes as no surprise to those who were able to look at those the president appointed to his cabinet four years ago and see the handwriting on the wall. If you truly plan to do something about the economic stranglehold the big banks have on the country, you don’t appoint people from the big banks to be the guardians of the treasury. It does NOT get any simpler than that. Mr. Obama did so and sure enough, for four years virtually nothing got done.
Twenty, or even ten years ago I would have said that the American people are not stupid enough to have lived through what we’ve been going through for the past five years and not have known that this was no accident or a result of any mere “missteps” by those running the show but the result of deliberate fraud ( Jason Breslow ) perpetrated by outright criminals who knew exactly what they were doing. But that doesn’t explain why in the glaring light of hindsight huge numbers of heads haven’t rolled on Wall Street. Everything needed… means, motive and opportunity… was there in abundance and indeed the jails are full of people who were convicted on a lot less evidence than the federal regulators had in this instance.
But as of this writing, with the statute of limitations about to work it’s magic in protecting the guilty and allowing the innocent to suffer, regulators continue to mill around in total disarray and the fat cats at the big banks continue takeover of the country virtually without hindrance of any kind other than a few civil “penalties” consisting of mere “chump change” to most of these companies and that have done nothing to alleviate the suffering of the American people at the hands of the Wall Street parasites.
As of Jan. 9, the Securities and Exchange Commission had charged 153 entities or individuals in crisis-related cases, and won $2.68 billion in penalties. The largest penalty was a $550 million agreement with Goldman Sachs to settle claims it misled investors over a mortgage-related security called Abacus 2007-AC1. In its complaint, the SEC charged that Goldman never revealed that the hedge fund manager who created Abacus, John Paulson, was betting against the same mortgage bonds that made up the security. Though Goldman did not admit to the SEC’s allegations, it acknowledged that marketing material for Abacus “contained incomplete information.”
But government watchdogs are quick to remind that enforcement has focused mainly on civil penalties, rather than criminal charges against executives from any Wall Street firm. The government’s first criminal case, a nine-count indictment against two former Bear Stearns executives for securities, mail and wire fraud, ended in November 2009 with a not guilty verdict on all counts.
Ted Kaufman, who was appointed to fill the remaining two years of Joe Biden’s senate term explains why criminal prosecution of the criminals lining Wall street never became a priority for the Justice Department and Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, proves he’s just as adept at sidestepping through a minefield as any of them by explaining that Prosecutors are holding Wall Street to account for the financial crisis, but success should not be measured solely by the number of convictions to date.
Phil Angelides, chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission reveals that Enforcement of Wall St. is “Woefully Broken”.
We were a 10-member commission appointed by the Congress of the United States. We were given a modest budget, ultimately just short to $10 million, with a very broad charge to look at the causes of the crisis that brought down our economy and caused so much devastation around this country. …
And also our charge was if we found potential violations of law, we were to refer those matters to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
Which in this case would have been Mr., Breuer’s Criminal Division at DOJ and we’ve already seen that he’s just not all that into punishing billionaires for their excesses against the people he was supposedly appointed to serve. In any event, he won’t be around to see the situation to its final disposition since he’s decided to step down from his position according to a WAPO story yesterday. Taking a well earned rest after having virtually guaranteed… by his failure to act in a timely manner allowing the statute of limitations to become a major factor…that none of the perps would ever see the inside of a courtroom, let alone a jail cell. I mean come on now, if they couldn’t put a single case together in four years, do we really think they’ll do it in one?
No… there’s simply no way you can call this anything but a failure on the part of our government unless you want to admit that they were and are in collusion with the vultures and parasites who are willing to destroy an entire way of life solely to line their own pockets (a supposition I have not problem with). There will be no real reform and there will be no return to what most of us oldsters consider “normalcy” as long as these “too big to fail” companies remain in existence and the “too big to jail” people running them are not only free to walk the street but to continue their depredations unhindered by even a slap on the wrist. As long as they can continue to make instant millionaires of our politicians… ;;cough;; Mitch McConnell ::cough::… the rest of us are well and truly boned.