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Excerpt: "Taibbi also expresses his concern over recent Obama appointees - including Jack Lew and Mary Jo White - who go from working on behalf of major banks in the private sector to policing them in the public sector."

Bill Moyers and Matt Taibbi discussed how the bankers live under a different set of rules than the rest of us. (photo: Moyers & Company)
Bill Moyers and Matt Taibbi discussed how the bankers live under a different set of rules than the rest of us. (photo: Moyers & Company)


Jail the Bankers

By Bill Moyers and Matt Taibbi, Moyers & Company

02 February 13

 

ILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company ...

MATT TAIBBI: The rule of law isn't really the rule of law if it doesn't apply equally to everybody. I mean, if you're going to put somebody in jail for having a joint is his pocket. You can't let higher ranking HSBC officials off for laundering eight hundred million dollars for the worst drug dealers in the entire world.

BILL MOYERS: And ...

VINCENT WARREN: There is not a country in the world that believes that the U.S. drone attacks that we are doing on countries that we are not at war with is the right and sustainable solution for us.

VICKI DIVOLL: All we have is the president interpreting his own powers and the limits on his own powers. And that is not the way it's supposed to work. We need more oversight.

BILL MOYERS: Welcome. This week, two United States senators insisted that the Justice Department come clean. Why are Wall Street's big banks not only too big to fail but too big to jail? Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a Democrat, and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a Republican, are outraged that the giant banks violate the law with impunity -- laundering money, cheating homeowners, falsifying information -- every trick in the ledger book. They sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding to know why the banks get away with fines instead of jail time.

Maybe they had their anger roiled by "Frontline," Public Television's premier investigative series. The other night, "Frontline" broadcast a report called "The Untouchables," on how the Department of Justice allegedly has looked the other way for fear that prosecuting the banks would do even more damage to the American economy.

ELIOT SPITZER in Frontline: The Untouchables: It was a definite sense that justice backed off.

NARRATOR in Frontline: The Untouchables:Did the government fail?

MARTIN SMITH in Frontline: The Untouchables: A number of people told us that you didn't make this a top priority.

LANNY BREUER in Frontline: The Untouchables: Well I'm sorry that they think that because I made it an incredibly top priority:

BILL MOYERS: That's Lanny Breuer, the assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division at the Justice Department. A week after the Frontline report, he stepped down and is now expected to return to private corporate practice -- one more government appointee spinning through the lucrative revolving door between Washington and Wall Street.

That door could be a big reason why government treats the banks with kid gloves. A man who once worked for Citigroup, Jack Lew, the president's chief of staff, has been picked to be the new Treasury Secretary. And Mary Jo White, the newly named head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, is a chief litigator at a top law firm representing big investment banks like Morgan Stanley.

With all this happening, it's time to talk with journalist Matt Taibbi. You've seen him on our broadcast before. A contributing editor at "Rolling Stone," he's been tracking the high crimes and misdemeanors of Wall Street and Washington for years.

Welcome back to the show.

MATT TAIBBI: Thanks for having me.

BILL MOYERS: You're working on a story right now that'll come out in a couple of weeks on the HSBC settlement. That's the, tell me about that, why it interests you.

MATT TAIBBI: Well, the HSBC settlement was a really shocking kind of new low in the history of the too big to fail issue. HSBC was a serial offender on the money laundering score. They had been twice given formal cease and desist orders by the government. One dating back as far as 2003, another one in 2010 for inadequately policing the accounts in their system. They laundered over $800 million for cartels in Colombia.

BILL MOYERS: Drug cartels?

MATT TAIBBI: Drug cartels in Colombia and Mexico. They laundered money for terrorist connected banks in the Middle East. Russian gangsters. Literally, you know, I talked to one prosecutor who's, like, "They broke basically every law in the book and they did business with every kind of criminal you can possibly imagine. And they got a complete and total walk." I mean, they had to pay a fine.

BILL MOYERS: $1.9 billion, a lot of money.

MATT TAIBBI: It's a lot of money. But it's five weeks of revenue for the bank, to put that in perspective. And no individual had to suffer any consequences at all. There were no criminal charges no individual fines, which was incredible. Incredible.

BILL MOYERS: Lenny Breuer also forced the Swiss bank UBS, as you know, to pay a big fine in the LIBOR, the price fixing conspiracy. And that outraged you as well, didn't it?

MATT TAIBBI: This is the, I think the biggest financial scandal of all time. It was a price fixing scandal where, essentially, some of the world's biggest banks got together and they conspired illegally to artificially rig the global interest rates which are based upon this London inner bank offered rate, which is a rate that measures how much it costs for banks to lend money to each other.

This LIBOR rate affects the prices of hundreds of trillions of dollars of financial products. And it goes from everything from credit cards to mortgages to municipal bonds. Basically everything in the world the price is, you know, is somehow connected to LIBOR. And these guys were monkeying around with this for individual profit. And they got, again, a complete and total walk on this. There were no criminal charges, which is just unbelievable.

BILL MOYERS: Did you see the Frontline documentary "The Untouchables?"

MATT TAIBBI: I did.

BILL MOYERS: Then you're familiar with Lanny Breuer's testimony.

MARTIN SMITH in Frontline: The Untouchables: You made a reference to losing sleep at night worrying about what a lawsuit might result in at a large financial institution. Is that really the job of a prosecutor to worry about anything other than simply pursuing justice?

LENNY BREUER in Frontline: The Untouchables: I think I am pursuing justice and I think the entire responsibility of the department is to pursue justice, but in any given case, I think I am prosecutors around the country being responsible should speak to regulators, should speak to experts, because if I bring a case against institution A, and as a result of bringing that case there's some huge economic effect. If it creates a ripple effect so that suddenly counter-parties and other financial institutions or other companies that had nothing to do with this are affected badly, it's a factor we need to know and understand.

MATT TAIBBI: Think about what he's saying. He's essentially saying that some individuals are so systemically important, that they can't be arrested and put in jail. Now, it's only a few steps forward to the corollary to that, which is if some people are too systemically important to arrest, other people may safely be arrested. So we're creating a class of people who are arrestable and another class of people who are not arrestable, which is crazy. It's a crazy thing for the assistant attorney general to say, to admit out loud that he's dividing Americans up into these two classes. There's no reason they couldn't have taken a number of individuals from some of these companies and put them on trial.

Historically, we've always done this. Even under the Bush administration, if you go back just ten years, you know, WorldCom, Enron, you know, Adelphia. We took the leading individuals of these companies and we put them on trial to make an example out of them. And this is exactly what we're not doing in this case. Those companies were systemically important then. I don't see why they can't do the same thing now.

BILL MOYERS: You were shocked when you heard that President Obama had named Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission. And you wrote that she was a partner in a law firm that represented a lot of these big banks. You know, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Chase, AIG, Morgan Stanley.

You said, "She dropped out and made the move a lot of regulators make, leaving government to make bucket loads of money, working for the people she used to police." And I gather your great concern is that you don't want to see the country's top financial cop being indebted to the people who created the bank role?

MATT TAIBBI: Right. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's just simple common sense. I mean, you're sitting on $10 million, $15 million, however much money she made working there at Debevoise and Plimpton when she was a partner and you owe that money to this specific group of clients and now you're in charge of policing them, just psychologically think of that. It doesn't really work, you know? It doesn't really work in terms of how aggressive a prosecutor should be, what his attitude towards the people he's supposed to be policing should be. It's just, the circumstances just aren't quite right. You'd much rather see a career civil servant in that in that situation.

BILL MOYERS: She was once a tough prosecutor. What's your beef?

MATT TAIBBI: Well, you know, I have people who are telling me that I'm wrong about this, that Mary Jo White was an excellent prosecutor and she's a good choice. But, you know I've done stories in the past about an episode, you had an SEC investigator named Gary Aguirre who was pursing an insider trading case against the future CEO of Morgan Stanley. He asked for permission to interview that future CEO. His name was John Mack. It was denied. And it was because there was communication between Morgan Stanley's lawyer, who at the time was Mary Jo White and the higher ups at the SEC who included the director of enforcement, Linda Thomsen. Aguirre was later fired for complaining about having this investigation squelched.

BILL MOYERS: Blowing the whistle.

MATT TAIBBI: For blowing the whistle. But the SEC was later forced to pay a $750,000 wrongful termination suit to Aguirre in that case. But what's so interesting is that Aguirre's boss, the guy who killed that case went to work for Mary Jo White's firm nine months after the case died. And he got, you know, a multi-million dollar position. It's a classic example of how the revolving door works in Washington. You know, you have these regulators at the SEC. And they know that there's that job out there waiting for them. So how hard are they really going to regulate these companies when they know they can get that money?

But in Washington, you know, people kind of shake their heads at it because it's so common you know, that these people, they move from government back to, you know, these high priced legal defense firms that represent the banks. And then they go back to government again. And it's this sort of, this coterie of, you know, 100, 200 lawyers who really run this entire thing. And it's all the same people on both sides.

BILL MOYERS: Lanny Breuer was one of them. He was in a very prestigious Washington law firm. Jack Lew, the new incoming secretary of the Treasury if he gets approved, served three years at Citigroup. His record there, according to "The Wall Street Journal" was not very lustrous for a man who's about to take over the Treasury Department. But "The Wall Street Journal" suggests that he got his job, not because he had the experience, but because he was a crony of Robert Rubin.

MATT TAIBBI: Jack Lew served in the Clinton administration. I think he worked in the OMB in the, you know, Office of Management of the Budget. And he was one of the key players in helping pass the repeal of Glass-Steagall. And, you know, this is kind of the way it works. It's not a one to one, you know, obvious connection. But, you know, Glass-Steagall was repealed specifically to legalize the merger of Citi Group. And, you know, coincidentally Bob Rubin, who was the Treasury secretary and Jack Lew end up working at Citi Group five, ten years later. And they make enormous amounts of money. And then they go back to government. And again, this is just sort of this merry-go-round that everybody in Washington knows about. And that's the way it works.

BILL MOYERS: How do you explain President Obama's attitude in this? When he was running for president, he promised the close the revolving door. And he seemed genuinely shocked at the collapse of the financial system and the banks' role in it. But he also was raking in massive campaign contributions from these very people. Did those investments, did those contributions turn out to be good investments, or do you think he's just overwhelmed by the system that's controlled by these guys?

MATT TAIBBI: I think that they genuinely accept the explanation that they're probably hearing from all these people who run these Wall Street companies. You know, people like Bob Rubin and Larry Summers who are close confidants of the Obama administration are probably telling them, "Look, if we start prosecuting all kinds of people for you know, X, Y and Z, there's going to be major instability in the markets. People are going to flee America. They're going to withdraw capital from the American financial system. It'll be a disaster. Jobs will be lost." But it's just not an acceptable it's explanation. I think they're--

BILL MOYERS: Why?

MATT TAIBBI: Well, just because the rule of law isn't really the rule of law if it doesn't apply equally to everybody. I mean, if you're going to put somebody in jail for having a joint in his pocket, you can't let higher ranking HSBC officials off for laundering $800 million for the worst drug dealers in the entire world. People who are suspected, not only of dealing drugs, but of thousands of murders. I mean, this is an incredible dichotomy. And eventually, you know, it eats away at the very fabric of society when some people go to jail and some people don't go to jail.

BILL MOYERS: But do you ever have the sense that those guys are, you know, are and their lawyers are up there laughing at all of us on their way to the bank, no pun intended? I mean, the fact of the matter is they are immune. There was a story in "The Washington Post" the other day by Howard Schneider and Danielle Douglas. With the lead, "Five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a global push to tighten financial regulation around the world has slowed in the face of attempted recovery, which the banks helped bring on. "And a tough industry lobby effort. Big banks, insurers and other financial giants remain intact and arguably too big to fail." I mean, nothing really has changed.

MATT TAIBBI: No, no, definitely not. And in fact, if you want to look at it objectively, since 2008, you know, the companies that we're talking about have become bigger and more dangerous and more immune to prosecution than they were back then. And you might even say by a lot. I mean, you know, the first factor was that you had a series of mergers in 2008, which you know, made companies like Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase, you know, double in size.

Or they were much bigger than they were before. So therefore they're more dangerous. And so you have these companies, like Barclays, like Royal Bank of Scotland, like UBS, like HSBC, which are, you know, they can't be regulated. We can't get an accurate accounting of what's going on in their books. And apparently now we can't even criminally prosecute them for laundering money like HSBC does. I mean we just keep setting the bar lower and lower and lower. And it's getting scary I think.

BILL MOYERS: There's a new analysis out just the other day from the Economic Policy Institute that shows the super-rich have done well in the economic recovery, while almost everyone else has done badly. And the economist Robert Reich says, "We're back to the widening inequality we had before the big crash." Are the financial and political worlds just too intertwined and powerful for anything to change?

MATT TAIBBI: I mean, it's a concern, I would worry about. But it doesn't mean you can't, you know, try to stop the problem. I definitely think though that there is this connection now between political power and financial power that's just becoming more and more overt. I mean, what Lanny Breuer is saying in that video is these people who have an enormous amount of power, destructive financial power we can't prosecute them.

On the flip side what they're essentially saying is that people who don't have any money at all, it's politically safe to put them in jail. And so, you know, we're creating this kind of dual class. And it's a very upsetting and disturbing situation.

BILL MOYERS: Matt Taibbi, we'll be looking forward to your next expose in a couple of weeks. Thank you very much for being with us.

MATT TAIBBI: Thanks for having me on.

 

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+22 # wipster 2013-02-02 09:46
Great interview, you know?
 
 
+23 # tswhiskers 2013-02-02 10:03
The big concern in govt. and big business seems to be who is "politically safe" to arrest for a crime. High social status and wealth have been relatively safe from legal prosecution throughout history and obviously things are not going to change now. yes, it's very disappointing that a president, esp. one like Obama seems unable/unwillin g to bring the Wall St. crooks to justice. It is wrong, it is weak and it is all too human. There are people out there who are willing to take them on in the press: Vincent Bugliosi, Greg Palast and of course Moyers. Unfortunately they don't belong to the U.S. Justice Dept. But in this age of greed, I guess too many have too little courage and stand to lose too much to bring them to justice. Short of sending a HUGE petition to U.S. Atty General Eric Holder, I see nothing that we the public can do. If anyone has such a petition going, I'll sign it.
 
 
+20 # wantrealdemocracy 2013-02-02 11:06
Sign a petition? Get real. Fat lot of good that will do. No elected official will give a fart about any petition. All they care about is getting richer and they do that by following the directions of their 'financial contributors', you know, the top 1% who own the government of the United States of America. We, the people, are going to have to do a hell of a lot more than signing on line petitions. We are going to have to read the Declaration of Independence and follow the path of our founding fathers and alter or abolish our rotten corrupt government. We need a reawakening of the American people with moral strength to create a just and equitable government.
 
 
+3 # tswhiskers 2013-02-02 14:25
I agree that a petition, even a very big one, would probably be ineffective. But short of rioting in the streets I cannot think of any other way to solve the problem of a non-responsive govt. This is not a matter of withholding votes. The federal govt. is so dependent on big money that there is little that the public can do except complain and Obama et al. already know how we feel about the big banks and Wall St. As Vardoz says and rightly, there are no longer any institutions, e.g. unions, that defend middle class interests against the depredations of big business. I'm open to suggestions but at this time, corporations and politics generally have too much power and money and we the public have only the vote to protect us. And Republicans have not forgotten their goal from the Bush Admin., namely to become the permanent ruling party in American politics. Like most of us on this blog I feel helpless. Occupy was a good attempt at getting the attention of corporate America but by its nature it couldn't last.
 
 
+2 # glyde 2013-02-03 10:26
If only we did have the vote to protect us. The choices are given us by both political parties, and we have little to no voice in that.
 
 
+14 # Vardoz 2013-02-02 12:31
But it has not always been this extreme and there has not always been such extreme inequality. The rule of law has not been so lop sided. We did have protections, anti- trust laws, banking laws, the Glass–Steagall Act that Clinton got rid of. I often wonder where all the billons in fines go to. Do they go to help Main St, college students, food for the tens of thousands of hungry American children? It just seems like a big race to the bottom economically and environmentally for the majority of Americans. We didn't always have gigantic for profit prisons that is the biggest prison system in the world. Things overall have gotten much worse. As the cost of living is soaring and wages are flatlined, we the people are paying more in every way now that the corporate/banke rs/ Wall St/ Fed flood gates have opened and it is a free for all for those incharge and those at the top. There was a time when unions were strong and we could live more comfortably.
 
 
+35 # reiverpacific 2013-02-02 10:25
Well, DUH!!!
Bet this isn't going to get ONE suit even investigated.
They answered their own question right off "The Bankers live by a different set of rules". End of story.
And they wouldn't get to live like this if they didn't have most of the government in their back pockets.
This article and discussion might have a bit more impact and relevance if the OWNER-MEDIA, including PBS, chose to publish something similar.
I've nothing against ethically or creatively got wealth, especially if the product benefits others but these bastards make nothing and give out less whilst accumulating more than they'll ever need -but that's the difference between "need" and "greed" innit?!
 
 
+4 # SusanT136 2013-02-03 09:47
Quoting reiverpacific:
Well, DUH!!!...Bet this isn't going to get ONE suit even investigated...This article and discussion might have a bit more impact and relevance if the OWNER-MEDIA, including PBS, chose to publish something similar.


Bill Moyers & Company airs every week on PBS 2 - 3 times. Matt Taibbi is regularly published in Rolling Stone.

That being said, it's true that mainstream media is ignoring this. But why do you seem to look down your nose at those who are at least attempting to shine some light on this issue and awaken people? Moyers is one of the few bright lights on television, and Taibbi consistently calls out Wall Street.

No suits will be investigated until there is a sufficient uprising demanding it. It's going to take a hell of a lot of people and anger for that to happen. When you just say "The Bankers live by a different set of rule. End of story" you sound jaded and resigned (although yes it's obviously true). Agreed it is a very frustrating and sadly old story of wealth controlling the rules, but historically the only time the "rules" ever get changed is by people who believe it's possible to effect change getting involved.
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2013-02-03 11:12
Quoting SusanT136:
Quoting reiverpacific:
Well, DUH!!!...Bet this isn't going to get ONE suit even investigated...This article and discussion might have a bit more impact and relevance if the OWNER-MEDIA, including PBS, chose to publish something similar.

Bill Moyers & Company airs every week on PBS 2 - 3 times. Matt Taibbi is regularly published in Rolling Stone.
That being said, it's true that mainstream media is ignoring this. But why do you seem to look down your nose at those who are at least attempting to shine some light on this issue and awaken people?----
---- When you just say "The Bankers live by a different set of rule. End of story" you sound jaded and resigned (although yes it's obviously true). -----" only time the "rules" ever get changed is by people who believe it's possible to effect change getting involved.

You assume too much in your over-zealous criticism of my post as you don't know me.
I'm aware that Moyers is an old hand with PBS but still consider them part of the owner-media post Michael Powell -but I made my point.
I used to get Rolling Stone, -I'd hardly call that Joe Six-Pack's bedtime reading.
Jaded and resigned? I wouldn't be posting here or have been a lifelong activist who has been beaten, jailed and sometimes published, with radio training to boot if that was the case. It's just that this is old hat which most RSN readers are already aware of.
And what's YOUR activist record?
 
 
+1 # sschnapp 2013-02-04 11:57
Susan said "historically the only time the "rules" ever get changed is by people who believe it's possible to effect change getting involved." I would refine that to the rules change when there is a broad-based, multi-race, multi-class, democratic social movement. The task of organizers and activists is to figure out how to do that. We need to direct our energies at this question. It's important to describe what's happening (Moyers & Taibbi, among others, do that so well) and we also need discussions of strategy. Bill Fletcher consistently writes about rebuilding the labor movement. I'd love to see Moyers regularly feature Fletcher and folks engaged in other sectors (racial justice, environment, peace, etc) for discussions of movement building.
 
 
+19 # James Marcus 2013-02-02 10:38
'By your Appointees shall we know you'. This I wrote to President-elect Obama, after voting for him, first term.
I was in shock over his appointees.
I knew, then, at that point, the extent of this Charade.
Bankers have no obligation to anyone but their shareholders, and partners. Truth, from them, is unfortunately skewed, or absent.
Impeach This president, and prosecute his minions.
He is the Ultimate Liar. Smooth and slick. By his Lies shall we know him. Banks and Bankers have Corporate charter to make money and they are doing it.
Containing their Influence on the Public Trust is up to our Politicians. And they are failing us. Deliberately and criminally. War is the result. Their favorite 'Tool', for justifying, and Stealing....Eve rything
 
 
+8 # Vardoz 2013-02-02 11:04
Unfortunately impeaching Obama, although he is a slick,seductive liar impeaching him will not change anythng. As long as we do not have the rule of law anymore one person illiminated will not make a difference. The whole system is broken and as much as we try to avoid the awful circumstances we are, things will continue to get worse. This state of affairs will lead to a global depression.
 
 
+21 # anarchteacher 2013-02-02 10:53
The US has been an official bankocracy for 100 years since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913.

The story of how the Wall Street elite secretly met at Jekyll Island for this clandestine purpose is well documented.

(see The Case Against the Fed, by economist/histo rian Murray N. Rothbard):

http://lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard202.html

The Fed has been the covert enabler of the warfare-welfare State and much other deadly perfidy.

The global narcotics trade is the biggest business in the world. It is fueled and enabled by money laundering on a vast scale by banks and financial institutions across the planet.

It is time to connect the dots linking the "underworld" of organized crime (narcotics) to the "upperworld" of the establishment (Wall Street banks and CFR-connected corporations/fo undations/media ) in the global economic crisis.

How much of those trillions of "toxic assets" were noxious narco dollars? I suspect that a significant part of the problem behind AIG lay with this clandestine intersection of drug money and money laundering, hence the beginning of the 2008 bailouts.

Can you visualize Goldman Sachs as the world's largest pusher?

And what would that make their principal pimp, one Barack H. Obama?

It's time to quit ignoring the Narcosaurus in the bankster boardroom (and in the network newsroom).

Let the unsavory and unvarnished truth finally come out!

This incisive Bill Moyers program is a great first step.
 
 
+10 # Vardoz 2013-02-02 11:34
And then those people on the streets are put in jail for using drugs. Keep us poor and ignorant. It's the elite vs the people of the world- we are the collateral damage - we are no better than worhtless expendable trash. But who wants to die for freedom and justice?People are dying for drugs.
 
 
+4 # anarchteacher 2013-02-02 12:35
Peter Dale Scott has convinced me that the "deep politics" reality of our foreign policy since the end of World War II has been narco-centric, behind the Cold War/War on Terror public facade or rationale. We clearly see this in revelations of AIG, Goldman Sachs, and the 2008 bailouts.

As Larry Chin observed:

"AIG’s involvement to US covert operations stretches back to World War II, in its roots as C.V. Starr, the intelligence-re lated proprietary founded by OSS agent Cornelius Vander Starr. The Starr proprietary was connected to CIA/OSS figures Paul Helliwell and Tommy Corcoran. The notorious CIA fronts connected to C.V. Starr, including Civil Air Transport, Sea Supply, and Air America/Pacific Corp were exposed by Peter Dale Scott in his book Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina. It is also a huge financial “pass-through”, whose counter-parties include Goldman Sachs and (not surprisingly) the same major financial institutions that are the top recipients of the US government’s TARP bailout."

"It is no surprise that Barack Obama is the top recipient of AIG funds. AIG’s money also lines the pockets of other members of the Obama administration, and prominent members of Congress, including Senator Christopher Dodd, who has been accused of a sweetheart deal aiding AIG."
Street."

See Charles Gasparino's book, Bought and Paid For: The Unholy Alliance Between Barack Obama and Wall Street.
 
 
+13 # 666 2013-02-02 10:56
"Look, if we start prosecuting all kinds of people ... People are going to flee America. "
- and the problem is what? the financial terrorists might move to dubai to be closer to their clients? f-em! cut their economy loose. seize their assets and kick they criminal asses out of the country (either that or persecute them for terrorism). Take all that money and float a new currency for "real people" and without their involvement.
 
 
+12 # Vardoz 2013-02-02 10:58
We are in an era of corporate anarchy- anything goes for those at the top while the majority pays a terrible price.
 
 
+19 # Billsy 2013-02-02 10:59
Talk about double standards! My family and I have had to jump through hoops to establish and manage trust accounts at banks and certify the source of ANY deposit over $1,000.00 The flow of paper work requiring notaries, the mistakes the banks have made about which forms to file, etc. go on for weeks. And yet, this outfit gets away with a fine and slap on the wrist for laundering drug money, firms fraudulently sell financial instruments they know to be junk, bet against their own clients, and NO ONE is doing jail time or even on trial. The system is so corrupt that at age 60 I see little reason now to trust regulatory agencies to do their job, have little faith in the justice system and think most cops are incompetent. lazy bullies. I believe the chief reason so many despise 'big government' today is a result of the Reagan and GWB era policy to undermine the federal bureaucracy and these continuous reports of corruption and lax enforcement.
 
 
+12 # Billsy 2013-02-02 11:00
High time to threaten nationalization of banks too big to fail. If the public bails out a bank, the public owns the bank.
 
 
+1 # Vardoz 2013-02-02 11:36
And how will we do that?
 
 
+4 # keepinitreal 2013-02-02 11:18
I agree with this one, however, Obama's administration is made up of ALL bankers, wonder which way this will go??? Democrats?
 
 
+7 # Vardoz 2013-02-02 11:37
No place good. Like Taibbi said. Its a very sacry time- we are all shepp among wolves.
 
 
+6 # Michael_K 2013-02-02 11:39
Reminds me of colonial America, except that - back then - the King was in London.
 
 
+10 # listentome 2013-02-02 12:18
http://current.com/blog/93947176_icelands-economy-recovering-well-after-bankers-jailed.htm

http://www.greenewave.com/other-countries-bailout-bankers-iceland-jails-them/

Just a few examples of what should be done.
You will all agree.
All we need is a prosecutor. There was one in Vermont who was willing to go after W. Why not give these prosecutors enough money to do it? Much evidence in public hands, so the research cost would be minimal. Just a thought.
 
 
+7 # wrknight 2013-02-02 12:19
What's depressing is that there are 330 million people in this country and we wind up being saddled with a choice between two totally spineless candidates for president. Why can't we get some decent candidates with guts. Granted, Obama was the lesser of two evils, but as the saying goes, the lesser of two evils is still evil.

Even worse, why can't we get decent people in Congress to oversee the administration and reject the revolving door appointments. Congress is equally culpable in the Washington revolving door phenomenon, but voters continue to ignore what their Congressional representatives allow to happen.

So the problem comes back to the voters who fail to participate in the political process until the damage is done by the "selection committees". By that time, we are faced with voting for tweedle dee or tweedle dum, both of whom were sold to the highest bidders.
 
 
+5 # BeaDeeBunker 2013-02-02 16:53
To quote partially from wrknight:

"So the problem comes back to the voters who fail to participate in the political process..."

I have been harping on this problem of 'voters' for years, but my analysis goes beyond the voters themselves. I'm more concerned with those who don't vote to begin with!

Let's do the math...it's real simple. When the final results of a presidential election get published we learn the following facts: (my numbers are approximations, and are rounded off, again, to make the math as simple as possible)
1. 50% of eligible voters, vote (your participating voters pool-appox. 90 million).

2. Of that 50%, normally, one candidate gets at least 51% of that pool of popular votes, and wins the election.

3. Without getting at least 51% of the popular vote a candidate can still win the election, since the election is not based on popular votes, but instead the Electoral College decides the winner.

4. What about the 50% (90 million) who are eligible to vote, but don't? How would their 'participation' affect the outcome of an election?

5. If only 25% (approx. 45 million) voted the election would still be sanctioned, because it's winner take all statewide for the E.C. votes. This is true even if the figure was 10% or 5%!!

6. Until something radical is done about these flaws in our system, we are playing high stakes poker for high stakes positions with only 26 cards in the deck.

This is CRAZY!!!
 
 
0 # brux 2013-02-03 16:06
good points BDB
 
 
+8 # angelfish 2013-02-02 12:25
The adjectives are ENDLESS. Sad, Depressing, Outrageous, and on and on...! WHEN will John Q. Public EVER see Justice in this Country? The Democrats are SUPPOSED to be the "good guys" since the RePublican Party has been usurped by the Nazi/Fascist Whackos. Sadly, they too, are Paper Tigers. I hate to think that it will take a Revolution, but I can't see anything else making them work FOR Americans instead of the Criminal Rich. Heartsick doesn't begin to describe what I'm feeling.
 
 
+6 # DerProfessor 2013-02-02 12:28
And voila! Welcome back to the Middle Ages and the divine right of kings. And their bankers. Let's bring back the chopping block, too, so anyone who has the temerity to complain that the nobility has treated him unfairly will lose his head publicly.
 
 
+11 # artsci 2013-02-02 13:22
If the legal system can't put bankers in jail, what it likely to eventually happen? For one, I would not be surprised to see vigilante justice emerge. Ordinary citizens, and history tells us it will be the middle class, will find a way to see that justice is meted out to the rich and powerful. We call that a revolution.
 
 
+5 # Scotty44 2013-02-02 15:57
Too bad Moyer didn't disclose the Kennedy assassination conspiracy when he was high up in government. The assassination was a big step in moving to our fascism. On the other hand, a number of people who knew to much and couldn't be depended on to be quiet, died unexpectedly by similar causes. The assassination's festering still threatens people at all power levels that might have a bent to serve the public. Some have been killed while trying to serve the public. Some may still be doing the best they can without getting killed, believe they are walking the tightrope as well as anyone could, and fear if they stopped, the next one in the position wouldn't push the envelope as much. Are they correct? Who knows? None alive have been as gutsy as Kennedy, at least at his level.
 
 
0 # anarchteacher 2013-02-02 19:24
Establishmentar ian Bill Moyers does not believe in a "Kennedy assassination conspiracy" but remains a Warren Commission Report loyalist dedicated to his old boss Lyndon Baines Johnson.

It's as if heavily researched and authoritative books such as James W. Douglass' JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters; Phillip F. Nelson's LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK's Assassination; Fletcher Prouty's JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy; David Talbot's Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years; Peter Dale Scott's Deep Politics and the Death of JFK; and Russ Baker's Family of Secrets did not exist in the Moyers universe.

Fortunately they do in ours and millions of people are finally waking up to the murderous coup d'etat that took place on November 22, 1963 by the top echelon of the National Security State.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig10/marshall10.1.html
 
 
+6 # lark3650 2013-02-03 09:01
I JUST FINISHED READING JAMES W. DOUGLASS' BOOK AND IT IS A GREAT READ. I FIRMLY BELIEVE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A DIFFERENT WORLD HAD JFK LIVED.
 
 
0 # brux 2013-02-03 16:05
This post is just spam for some scam - just so that you and your family can survive the coming catastrophe ... this guy should be kicked RSN and everywhere else ... what a dupe.
 
 
+5 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-02-02 17:32
Remember Paris 1789.
 
 
0 # GreenBee 2013-02-03 18:59
Quoting Kootenay Coyote:
Remember Paris 1789.


In this highly technological age, violent overthrow may not be possible. But we could start getting the money out of politics by having publicly funded elections. Sherrod Brown (Senator OH) has been pushing for this and Tim Ryan (Rep. OH) has told me that if the Dems could get a majority in the House it would be their first order of business.
 
 
+6 # Walter J Smith 2013-02-02 19:01
If you love this business as usual, just keep on either not voting, or voting for whichever of those too big to hold responsible political parties.

If you want to force them to be accountable, vote for a third party. Any third party. And help the third party get more votes.

Other wise, it is business as usual. No batter which tweedle-dee-dum bo or tweedle-do-wron go you vote for.

Obama makes the feel-good-easy folks feel good and righteous and sleep well doing nothing to hold him responsible for anything at all, just like Obama apparently sleeps well doing nothing to hold the big CEO thugs responsible for anything at all.

And it would hardly be any different with any other D or R party hack in there.
 
 
+2 # lanik 2013-02-02 19:57
Just for the sake of discussion let's assume the party is over. Time to go 'home'. Where on the planet might that be? Where exactly is the place alluded to that 'Americans will leave' and go to? Anybody?
 
 
0 # brux 2013-02-03 16:00
I'm listening ... I'd love to get away from the moronic self-destructiv e society America has turned into. - that or change it around ... but neither seem possible.
 
 
-9 # seeuingoa 2013-02-02 20:51
Matt Taibbi:

"I know" 3 times and "you know" 9 times !
 
 
+3 # tm7devils 2013-02-02 22:53
I bet, if a nuclear bomb went off in your city, that you would worry that you pissed your pants...
 
 
+1 # DRPJJ 2013-02-03 05:53
Between the "kill lists, the desire of the 1%" and the recycling of the same crooks between government and business, there's no way anything will cause a change for the better. Even if SOME lower level crooks get caught and put away, its for such a short time, in a fancy excuse for a jail and they keep their stolen loot. Our American dream has been broken and now all we have are nightmares.
 
 
0 # lark3650 2013-02-03 08:53
As Thoreau said: "There are a thousand hacking away at the branches of evil to one that is striking at the root." Thanks, Matt.
 
 
+1 # brux 2013-02-03 15:59
Come on, we cannot jail the bankers, that will do not good, torture them and execute them ... maybe.

Seriously though, we should just take their money - fine them, and not the piddly fines we have been giving business people - take all their ill gotten gains and then some.

That will accomplish 4 things ...
1 - save us money for prisons
2 - force these guys to get real jobs
3 - get back tax money needed to get rid of the debt
4 - serve as a warning for other criminal types not to do this again.
 
 
0 # olindaboat 2013-02-03 22:27
Fascism , in all its ugliness.
And what are we going to do about it?,
 

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