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Matt Taibbi writes: "The mental stumbling block, for most Americans, is that financial crimes don't feel real; you don't see the culprits waving guns in liquor stores or dragging co-eds into bushes. But these frauds are worse than common robberies. They're crimes of intellectual choice, made by people who are already rich and who have every conceivable social advantage, acting on a simple, cynical calculation: Let's steal whatever we can, then dare the victims to find the juice to reclaim their money through a captive bureaucracy."

People walk down Wall Street, 09/28/10. (photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
People walk down Wall Street, 09/28/10. (photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images) your social media marketing partner


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+10 # forparity 2011-02-17 12:18
I agree. But then again, why are not the principals from HUD (notably Andrew Cuomo), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac in jail. Back in mid-late 90's HUD ordered up the lowered lending standards - pushed Fannie (already connected to Countrywide Financial) to push tens of millions of poor minorities into leaving their relatively safe rental units to invest into real estate - creating the ground floor for the housing bubble (yes, everyone and their mother piled on - with real estate brokers leading/pushing millions more into an always overvalued - and rapidly over heated real estate market.. saying.. "hey, of course you can afford this, and if you don't get in, you'll loose out."

Yep, loose out on yet another era of greed and fraud. Which reminds me of the Enron era - the 90's.

We don't learn our lessons well - these economic bubbles are not healthy.
+27 # Marty Lee 2011-02-17 13:09
While Fannie and Freddie jumped into dubious mortgages and did some work with subprime lenders, this was relatively small stuff and late in the cycle (e.g., 2004-2005). The main impetus for the boom came from the entire machinery of private securitization. In fact, the powerful private-sector players consistently tried to marginalize Fannie and Freddie and exclude them from rapidly expanding market scam.

30 years of financial deregulation, made possible by capturing the hearts and minds of regulators, and of politicians on both sides of the aisle, gave a narrow private-sector elite – mostly on Wall Street – almost all the upside of the housing boom.

The downside was shoved onto the rest of society, particularly the working poor, who now have lost their pensions, their houses, their jobs. These people did not cause the crisis. But they are paying for it.
-13 # forparity 2011-02-17 15:55
No. The fuel for the housing bubble was created (regulations were passed by HUD) in the mid-late 90's - the wood was on the fire, and lit. By late 1999-2000 it was off and running.

I said, everyone then piled on; but it was begun by HUD ordering the lowing of lending requirements and then by setting historic massive goals to push poor minorities into the real estate market. Like this little tweak. This is but one:

The proposal -

The regulation:

Read that last one - it's only two pages.

Even Obama is on record in saying this is what started the process - which got out of control.

You see, even here, it's the federal government ordering Fannie and Freddie to buy up these Trillions of dollars of mortgages (under performing), then to package them up into these GSE (Gov't sponsored enterprises) -- then sell them to Wall Street.

I'm not defending Wall Street - but if the government had not created this mess - Wall Street would not have had all of this junk to play with.

Besides, the country by early 2000 was reeling from the bubble crash - and then got leveled with a recession - then 9/11.. this gov't fed housing bubble powered right thru it. Amazing.
+10 # CTPatriot 2011-02-18 05:38
Nice job with the reich wing talking points. But it wasn't HUD/Fannie/Fred die that created subprime mortgages and it wasn't HUD/Fannie/Fred die that sold them under fraudulent terms and it wasn't HUD/Fannie/Fred die that created the Credit Default Swaps, etc. that took billions in mortgages and transformed the related risk into the trillions. That was the private mortgage industry and Wall Street.

I realize that what you are seeking to do here is transfer the blame from Republicans and Bush to Clinton and the Democrats for this. Clinton gets plenty of blame for signing the repeal of Glass-Steagal. Bush is the one who amped up the pressure to put every American into home ownership. Or have you forgotten that very vocal and visible part of his administration' s agenda?
+3 # Ken Hall 2011-02-19 01:32
Pretty pathetic, 4parity. Did you even read the article? it's about Wall St fraud. MERS was conceived by a Wall St firm in '95 or '96. After MERS was created, Wall St could bundle and sell mortgages on the market and didn't need Fannie or Freddie to buy them. The FMs eventually got into the subprime market because they were trying to win back market share, which they never did. And, BTW, the standards were higher for Freddie and Fannie than the big players in the market. I also refer you to indictments against Alan Greenspan, the Friedmanite who presided over the bubble, saying nonchalantly that "the markets will take care of themselves". There is plenty of information out there, based on fact, that disproves your points.
+5 # Steven Brown 2011-02-17 14:14
Follow The Money! Where did it really go??? Figure that one out and you have your answer. Ask yourself, how did Bill and Hillary really get so rich? It is not the sale of books. How does a former President still commandeer U.S. State department jets at his will to send his personal bankers around the world? As was said by a mother in 1750's, I wish my son's would stop creating wars, maybe in order to be a member of any United States office you should only hold one passport! Any other country in the world allow that? South Africa is a favored vacation spot of this family so why not just turn the United States into a waste land, it does not effect them in any way. Wake Up America! That's why they incorporated us so they can bankrupt us, easy money! Someday when America wakes up they may just run these guy's down in the streets, isn't that what one President said? Hmm... A former President said to me that they look at the office as a "rental car, use it up and throw it away"! That my friends is what you have when you usurp the people you are to represent or as the other group called it Operation Paper Clip! Hijack a government and use and abuse the opportunity to the max. Every member of our government should live and die by the rules they create and govern by, instead of acting as if they are better than us.
+13 # X Dane 2011-02-17 17:44
Whatever lessons we learn is almost immaterial for as Senator Durbin said: Wall street OWNS THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE.

So we can rant and rave to no avail. They will do the bidding of their masters
+1 # 3rdM-3rdE 2011-02-20 09:04
Their masters are 'private central banks' and the age-old scam of Fractional Reserve Banking (FRB)- [probably the proverbial 'oldest trick in the book', at least as far as the Public Sector goes]. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, 'Holy Romans', Venetians, French, English- all have had the same problem- or disease, rather- of a special class of self-appointed elites getting away with monopolizing a government's currency & macro-economic policies, whilst fleecing the public taxpayer(s) for such [essentially useless, if not pernicious] 'public service'. US taxpayer support for such useless/wastefu l/regressive 'interest on the national debt' has now escalated to about $700bn. per year., or approx. $2,300 per head on every man, woman, and child.

Q: Why do the people put up with this?
A: Propaganda, attitude inoculations, & other distractions; and because, not knowing any better, they (almost) always have.

Obviously, this semi-barbaric practice will not last very long into the 3rd Millennium. We know as much as they do.
+2 # Vincent Czyz 2011-02-18 11:11
I guess you didn't read the article:
Over and over, even the most obvious cases of fraud and insider dealing got gummed up in the works, and high-ranking executives were almost never prosecuted for their crimes. In 2003, Freddie Mac coughed up $125 million after it was caught misreporting its earnings by $5 billion; nobody went to jail. In 2006, Fannie Mae was fined $400 million, but executives who had overseen phony accounting techniques to jack up their bonuses faced no criminal charges.

And as the article points out, NONE of the executives involved EVER goes to jail.
+41 # fredboy 2011-02-17 12:33
They are not in jail because Wall Steet OWNS its regulators.
Just like the banks own the Comptroller of the Currency.
And big ag owns the Department of Agriculture.
And just about every moneyed interest owns Congress.
Today the Republican whores in Congress are gutting programs that help the poor--because the poor don't own them. They say we need the money to make up for the billions lost when they lowered the taxes of the nation's richest.
I believe they have awakened the vilest karma to surface since the French Revolution. It may take another decade or so, but Hell is coming. Hell is coming.
0 # forparity 2011-02-17 12:57
I think I read in the article

"As for President Obama, what is there to be said? Goldman Sachs was his number-one private campaign contributor. He put a Citigroup executive in charge of his economic transition team, and he just named an executive of JP Morgan Chase, the proud owner of $7.7 million in Chase stock, his new chief of staff."

Of course, that's not new news to all the "Republican whores," out there. Huh?

Also seems to me that President Obama's budget - his proposal - calls for some $2 billion in cuts to federal aid which helps poor people pay their heating bills. And this had been a very cold winter, as was last winter, and seeing as how meteorologists are predicting that we are in that cycle again..

When I looked out at the landscape in late 1999 - at how we were celebrating the exceptional period of fraud and greed (the Enron) era - while the decade was producing more deaths from civil wars an genocides than any other decade since WW II (2000's were much better, or much less worse, I should say), everyone who knows me, heard me predict that hell is coming - They all knew it.
+12 # DaveW. 2011-02-17 14:11
forparity, So Obama is a "closet Republican." Does that exonerate the "Republican whores?" And that "exceptional period of fraud and greed" was greatly exacerbated and extended by Bush that simply "looked the other way." Wasn't it Enron and "Kenny Boy" who were doing their damndest to bankroll H.W.'s little boy? You always want to put the Democrats on the "meat hook" of responsibility. It's "conservatism", from either party, that's the real culprit. Another words, those who prescribe to a "Social Darwinist" mode of thinking. But, of course, Jesus was a conservative. NOT!
-6 # forparity 2011-02-17 17:15
You've seen me enough to understand that, in my view, it's just simply horrible to talk of others in that light - whores - disgusting intolerant bigotry sort of talk.

Obama's not even a closet conservative - not to mention a closet Republican. He's a social progressive - with no leadership experience who went to Washington not having a clue as to how the world actually works. He's trapped in the closet.

Politics is the real culprit, in my mind. The country was built on solid conservative views (I'm leaving religion out of this as I'm rather agnostic). The battle between the federalists and and the anti-federalist s was more about a battle between those who thought that it was a no-brainer that there wasn't much of a chance that the federal "national" gov't would get too strong, against those that thought that we needed guarantees(henc e their bill of rights).

Once again, Enron was of the Clinton era - groomed by Clinton's Commerce Dep't (1st Ron Brown, then Bill Dailey). When Bush came in, his admin. refused to renew the billions in gov't loans the Clinton team had handed out, and refused to help Rubin (at CitiCorp, which held much of Enron's commercial paper) - and thus, Enron, which had conquered all during the Clinton years, promptly went under, as had thousands of other era businesses.
+10 # DaveW. 2011-02-17 19:12
forparity, These arguments long ago become redundant and counter-product ive. We're NOT going to change each others minds. The country HAS NOT prospered under conservative leadership if you look at the whole picture. A relatively small number of people and corporations (whoops, I almost forgot they're one in the same now) have profited mightily but overall purchasing power and job availability has declined under Conservative leadership. And that includes Clinton and Obama who is certainly NO "social progressive." I don't like the intolerant bigotry anymore than you and have seen plenty since Obama, who I, quite honestly, have lost faith in. NO American President has faced the type of resistance and obstructionism to ANY type of idea he might have. NO American President has been inundated with the "Birther" crap he still faces. I want to live in a world where people help other people who need help.I want to live on a planet that is respected for its resources not exploited for whatever profit we can churn out no matter the consequences. I want to exist amongst fellow creatures in some semblance of harmony and because of my beliefs I'm labeled a "Liberal" and looked upon as some sort of "bleeding heart" monster who just wants to spend other people's money. Its ALWAYS about money with true Conservatives. "Solid Conservative views" are pernicious and self-aggrandizi ng. End of line.
-3 # forparity 2011-02-18 00:47
Once again, the "birther crap" was made powerful by a Democratic operative, and a strong supporter of Hillay Clinton, during the 2008 Democratic primary season - a Mr. Philip Berg.

But - the national main stream media and folks can all go about and spread hate and division based upong the ruse that it's only one side fo the isle.
+4 # CTPatriot 2011-02-18 05:51
Anyone who calls Obama a progressive is either a moron who gets all their information from the reich wing media, a conservative propagandist, or all of the above.

Obama the campaigner was a progressive. Obama the president is a conservative, more in the traditional sense. He is certainly to the right of many former conservative presidents, including Ike and Nixon.

Of course, the label "conservative" has since been hijacked by the most extreme elements of the right as well as radical Libertarians and tea baggers. So it's somewhat understandable that a right of center leader like Obama would appear progressive to someone like yourself.
0 # Ken Hall 2011-02-19 02:39
4parity: "The country was built on solid conservative views..." If you're talking about the USA, I think not. The conservatives were Tories. That is what conservatism is, the preservation of the status quo, in my dictionary " who resists innovation or change." Look it up. The rebels were progressives, they wanted something different. And while you dismiss federalists as "no brainers", the prime mover of the revolutionary war and Father Of His Country, George Washington, was a staunch federalist. Thomas Jefferson was an anti-federalist , yet wanted to constrain the influence of corporations in politics. Perhaps it was the anti-federalist s who lacked vision; perhaps Jefferson couldn't foresee an era when a strong federal gov't would be needed to counteract the excessive power of corporations. Seems to me that Washington had it right.
0 # sophie 2011-02-22 16:45
W.'s First Enron Connection:
Update on the Bush-Enron Oil Deal
by David Corn

In 1986, according to a publicly available record, the two drilled for oil together--at a time when Bush was a not-too-success ful oil man in Texas and his oil venture was in dire need of help. Bush's business association with Enron, it seems, has not previously been reported.

In 1986, Spectrum 7, a privately owned oil company chaired by Bush faced serious trouble. Two years earlier, Bush had merged his failing Bush Exploration Company (previously known as Arbusto--the Spanish word for shrub) with the profitable Spectrum 7, and he was named chief executive and director of the company. Bush was paid $75,000 a year and handed 1.1 million shares, according to "First Son," Bill Minutaglio's biography of Bush. Under this deal, Bush ended up owning about 15 percent of Spectrum 7...

As the details of the Spectrum-Harken acquisition--wh ich Bush badly needed--were being finalized, Enron Oil and Gas Company, a subsidiary of Enron Corporation, announced on October 16, 1986, that it had completed a well producing both oil and natural gas in Martin County, Texas...

To spell it out: George W. Bush and Enron Oil and Gas were in business together in 1986--when Ken Lay was head of Enron. (Lay was named Enron chairman in February of that year.)
-6 # forparity 2011-02-17 17:21
Dave.. No, I don't only just want to put the D' on the hook. I simply want them to held for what they are responsible for, as the R's are held responsible for what they do.

If Dole would have beat Perot and Clinton and been President during the late 90's (or Bush, or whoever) we still would have had the bubble of greed and fraud. Who knows, perhaps it would have even been worse. Certainly Enron would have faired as well as better.

Can't blame Bush for Enron. For those 8 years they were Clinton buds.

On the other hand, you want to give Bush credit for Enron's great leap forward in creating massive wind farms during the 90's? (Obama's buds at GE, ended up with that business).

Well, Jesus knew how to make a fish compound, did he not? (you know - I'm a pretty fair shot.. have more fun with me, K?)
+3 # Ken Hall 2011-02-19 02:20
While Clinton was not a friend of the working man, to say he was responsible for Enron is a real stretch. It was a fellow Texan, Phil Gramm (with an R after his name) who pushed so hard for deregulation of the energy markets. In the interest of full disclosure it should be noted that Gramm's wife served on the board ($$$) of Enron. Conflict of interest? Gramm was in bed with his wife who was in bed with a company he was charged with overseeing for the benefit of his constituents.
0 # 3rdM-3rdE 2011-02-20 09:34
I think you people should realize that ForParity providing this forum with some balance serves to elevate the overall playing field. He's not saying that the Repubs. (or 'the Right') is always right. He's just saying, among other things, that the Dems. (or 'the Left') are not always so.

Is this not unreasonable, given that both parties (or factions of the Establishment) get most of their money from mostly the same places these days? [I won't say from the same 'people', as I don't consider corporations to be as such].

The Democratic Party has a long history in America. Some times they (their leadership) have stood up for the majority of the people; sometimes they have not. Its not the end of the world. They (party leadership) are just a tiny group of people, who put their pants on one leg at time, just like the rest of us. Get over it, please.
+7 # Procyon_Lotor 2011-02-17 16:05
fredboy , I have little doubt that many would agree with you on the point that retribution will come in the form of a French Revolution style cataclysm. I've even felt a little optimistic about this myself. But then I concluded that this time around, the big money also controls the entertainment industry - which they use to pacify vast numbers of us with entertainment designed to induce apathy. This is a formidable deterrent to revolution. Equally effective is the propaganda spoon-fed to viewers of Faux News and the like. These people have been primed by network "entertainment" to believe that greed is everyman's god-given right. When a person who has been thus conditioned turns to the "news" wing of this same network, he is prodded to join in lockstep with shills, hucksters and paid liars whose job it is to assure the carefully cultivated outrage of their viewers. They occupy every position in the pantheon of persuasion: Moralist, Militant, Seductress, Hysteric, Counselor, Physician, - every base is covered, every appeal indulged in. These tactics muster the activists among their viewers. The rest are smothered with apathy.
I fear it is the apathy that will bury us.
+9 # Mayepe 2011-02-17 12:43
Impunity is where corruption starts and continues. If there is no deterrent, we are likely to suffer from the same evil again.
0 # Historian, amateur 2011-02-20 10:13
Excess globo-elite clubbiness at the expense of their home regions is a millennia-old (actually timeless) phenom… analogous to cancer cells on the body politic. I think one may say that such cancerous conditions have taken down ‘Western’ Civ at least 2-3 times prior:
1) c.1200 BCE [from which it took about 4-5 centuries to recover];
2) c.4thc AD [from which it took, arguably, another approx. half millennia to recover];
3) 14thc [from which it took only about a century to recover, in England, at least];
...and now, a pseudo-millenni alist 4th time around?

What's the cause 'this time'? If one takes a ‘blame the elite’ stance, its Fractional Reserve Banking and the useless old cult of 'private central banks'.

If one takes a 'blame the people' stance, however, that perhaps a national identity cycle propels formerly virtuous, civic-minded citizens into gluttonous, sybarite tubs of tyrant goo (a 'natural' national identity cycle), then its, well, a far more complex matter to say the least.

The former view is more inclined to an alert conscience/pure subconscience; leading to long term orientation.
The latter view is more inclined to pure conscience/impu re subconscience, leading to short term orientation.
0 # Historian, amateur-2 2011-02-20 11:33
Quoting Mayepe:
Impunity is where corruption starts and continues. If there is no deterrent, we are likely to suffer from the same evil again.

-Here's what I think of the 5W's & H:
Taibbi's "...away from the rabble" ref. may mean something to the effect of 'away from the non-reLent to bullies & reSent your parents’ crowd. That condition may sound weird or abnormal, but cancer cells' takeover of a body politic is also a pretty weird (but sadly not yet abnormal) phenomenon.
What makes it happen? Mostly the elevating of certain individuals with a globo-‘post-nat ional', narrowly rational-choice outlook.
What allows this to happen?- ‘The Order’ (or, supposedly, its lack thereof) [Illuminati-Jes uits-MilitaryIn dustrial-Comple x]; perhaps to advance their own retreat from the 2nd millennium scene, in more or less accordance with their own calendar [3rd millennium for the 3rd Estate], which They made in the first place, several centuries ago.
Where?- Wherever is: a) deemed important & b) they can get away with it.
Questions of When & Why (time & motivation) I think are closely related, and have to do with something that I call the "Celestial Calendar"- which is basically a cultural system that the Order has been able to propagate (in the 20thc at least), via the good old Anglo-American- Hollywood-corpo rate media. More on this in part 3.
0 # Historian, amateur-3 2011-02-20 12:39
Quoting Mayepe:
Impunity is where corruption starts and continues. If there is no deterrent, we are likely to suffer from the same evil again.

Regarding the When & Why questions [of the 5Ws & H]...
I think the following "Celestial Calendar" (in regards to 20thc Anglo-American- Hollywood Corporate Media Culture) may shed some 'new' [I've seen nothing about this on the www.] light on the subject. Everyone knows (or at least should know) that the Jesuits have- for nearly half a millennia- been the world's foremost calendar & astrological-nu merological experts. Why not combine the two? Not everybody knows that a lot of banks and corporations have the Knights of Malta or Knights of Columbus as primary shareholders. Again, combine the two, and you have an abundance of vehicles for propagating this 'Cosmic Calendar' to the masses here on schoolroom Earth- 'on Earth as it is in Heaven' so to speak.
I'm no expert on Astrology, but I do know the 12 basic signs, in addition to a lot about the great American 20th century private corporate media culture (& private ‘Federal’ Reserve bankrolled politics).

Of course, Fractional Reserve Banking is a more urgent, global, and pressing issue right now. But I'd like to add some details about the "Celestial Calendar" in part 4, so we may have a broader view as to what has been going on in recent decades.
+1 # Historian, amateur-4 2011-02-20 13:30
Basically the top suits in the UK, Ca, Au, Fr, Ge, It, Sp, Mex, Ptg, Gr, Br, Arg, Sw, Jpn, Kr, Ind, etc. use the [exact] same Calendar, the [mostly] same global float/ managed Currency, & the [mostly] similar Christian-Buddh ism type religion- at the top/elite levels. Apart from language, this is an enormous amt. of common ground. But the main core of the 'Celestial Calendar' is Anglo-Amer.-Com monwealth, & to a somewhat lesser extent EU (where everything 'from on high' tends to be more of a joke anyway).
Here are (in my opinion) the 12 signs/trends/fa ds, over the past 100 yrs (8.33 per sign):
Yang side [dom./rising=Spring]
1.Aries (cardinal fire)-1918.2-1926.6
2.Taurus (stable earth)-1926.6-1934.9
3.Gemini (mutable air)-1934.9-1943.2
4.Cancer (cardinal water)-1943.3-1951.6
5.Leo (stable fire)-1951.6-1959.10
6.Virgo (mutable earth)-1959.10-1968.3
Yin side [dom./rising=autumn]
7.Libra (cardinal air)-1968.4-1976.6
8.Scorpio (stable water)-1976.7-1984.10
9.Sagitarius (mutable fire)-1984.11-1993.3
10.Capicorn (cardinal earth)-1993.3-2001.6
11.Acquarius (stable air)-2001.7-2009.10
12.Pisces (mutable water)-2009.10-2018.3
[also 1909-18]
So 'we' are now, so to speak, in the 1st decant of Pisces (i.e. Pisces-Pisces, until apr. 2012.8)
+21 # HowardMH 2011-02-17 12:48
The reason Wall Street is not in jail is because most Americans are to busy trying to survive and don't have a clue about Wall Street. Congress and Wall Street are profiting on 95% of Americans being stupid and guess who is winning and laughing all the way to the bank. Where are the Two Million protesters in Wash DC with their base ball bats against Wall Street?? Congress is counting on stupid Americans and Congress is winning.
Maybe it is time the Lemming (the 95% stupid people) in the US did what is going on in Egypt. Nooo, the Lemmings in the US are too stupid to even realize there is a problem yet, but even they will get it soon. When one Hedge Fund Manager can make over $5 BILLION and at the MOST only pay 15% TAXES - you think maybe there might be just a little problem with the US Tax Code? Also, GE how many Billions do they make every year – and they DO NOT PAY ANY taxes. But GE donates lots of money to Congress every year. When are the Lemmings going to get it?
+15 # Joan Mocine 2011-02-17 13:03
The main activity of our government is to keep U.S. citizens from grabbing anything at hand, rushing to Washington (and NY and L.A., and Chicago, and Atlanta, etc., etc.) and bashing everybody in government. They do this by speaking in meaningless platitudes, by calling our attention to side issues, by lying about what they do, and by inundating us with footage of kidnapped children, details of mass-murderers, the latest Hollywood divorce or mega-star drug overdose, etc.

You can find out what's really going on but you have to dig and search.

I certainly hope that fredboy is correct and that Hell is coming, but I figure that when it does come we'll either be blamed or our attention will be directed to Charlie Sheen.
+11 # Procyon_Lotor 2011-02-17 13:14
Only the horror of behaving like John Boehner prevents me from weeping openly when I consider the facts presented in this article.
+6 # Richard Cummings 2011-02-17 13:25
The fault lies with the Justice Department. Robert Bicks was the Assistant Attorney General who took on the price fixers and sent some prominent people to the can. It stopped. You don't need to wait for the government regulatory agencies to take action. There are plenty of federal crimes Wall Street has committed but it is the political contributions that stop anything from happening. Blankfein is a Democrat. They will not go after him. The Obama campaign intends to raise and spend a billion dollars on the 2112 campaign. You can bet that Blankfein will be helping them.
+6 # D12345 2011-02-17 13:48
Taibbi is one of the best people writing today. Thanks.

Skip the "supreme court" juvenilia it is really unworthy of your talents.

Keep up the great work.
+7 # DaveM 2011-02-17 14:07
There is an old rule of thumb created by an American economist whose name eludes me at the moment. However:

If you borrow $100 from a bank, you owe the bank $100 plus interest.

If you borrow $100,000 from a bank, you owe the bank $100,000 plus interest.

If you borrow $1 billion from a bank, you own the bank and whether you wish to pay it back is entirely up to you.

The current crises may be adequately explained by the fact that people in a position to do so have simply followed the old cliche: never steal anything small.
+10 # DPM 2011-02-17 14:21
What we need is a political and financial paparazzi and a web site to, daily, publish "who is 'doing' whom". Where all these people come from and go to. Pictures of politicians and financial "big shots" at their most embarrassing and criminal. Fungus dies in the sunlight. Make their movements and deals so public that some kind of action has to take place. Every golf outing, cocktail party and yacht club meeting needs to be documented and published online. Every e-mail and conversation exposed. It is being done in the middle east with cell phones and the internet. Why not here? Make government officials so afraid of being connected to these crooks, that they avoid them. Then, maybe we can get some justice for the rest of the country.
We can't rely on our "paid for" media. We, as a people, have to do this ourselves. What do you say?
+1 # stonepig 2011-02-18 11:21
DPM, I really liked that. It is sensible, practical, doable. A citizen paparazzi press pass can be earned at one's local public access tv station.
+2 # 3rdM-3rdE 2011-02-20 13:45
Why not check out the State Bank of North Dakota instead? Learn something useful for the future.
+4 # Richard Schmidt 2011-02-17 14:24
Yes, why not indeed? We have this lovely system wherein we give all of our money to greedy, mentally incompetent children and tell them to go and play nice. And then we wonder why they periodically screw up the world.
Shakespeare was wrong when he said, "First we kill all the lawyers." He, of course, meant to say, "First we kill all the bankers." Well, perhaps we should play nice instead and just send them all to a Federal Prison--Alcatra z anyone???
+8 # Vernon Smith 2011-02-17 14:27
Last week, in the LATimes, there appeared an article by Kareem Fahim, Michael Blackmon and David Rohde entitled: "Egypt's Ire Turns to Confidant of Murbarak's Son", ie, Ahmed Ezz.
I quote from said article, "Egyptians watching the rise of a moneyed class widely believe that self-dealing, crony capitalism and corruption are endemic." Later, in another part of the article, there was this comment, "[In Egypt] where wealth bought political and polital power bought great wealth".
Sounds exactly like Washington, DC to me.
Yet, while I live in a small town, I wait for folks to demonstrate in the streets of both NYC and DC...but where are they? Where is our Twitter? It isnow two full+ years of this meltdown and, it seems to me, that we just lie down and take. What is wrong with us?
+1 # stonepig 2011-02-18 11:37
vernon, what's wrong with us? We haven't suffered enough at the hands of the ultra-snakes. what is wrong with us? The rest of the people suffering don't have a clue. Another senior I know just left a message that she doesn't get what I meant by the revolution starting in Wisconsin...she doesn't know what is going on over there. A college kid didn't know who Bradley Manning is, or what Wikileaks is.
that about covers it.
Thou shalt not steal, covet, lie, nor kill.
Another thing...I have yet to find a website that tells us what we are doing to battle all this. I read posts on Common Dreams that make me want to hurl, this site at least has smarter people, less prone to really stupid comments, probably cause they are more informed by their own search for truth..thank God for Rolling Stone. I don't trust the Nation as they seem to play the middle road nice rule, as does the Progressive. Hightower usually has great things to say but he needs to catch up. Forget huffingoldsheet is a sad commentary that we have to figure out why this is this way. Read or listen to John Dean's "Conservatives without Conscience"...i t makes this a bit clearer. I'm anxiously awaiting the complete hacking of all government documents and the 93% powerless to show their power. Teach..Reach..B reach. That could be a motto.
+4 # nonymot 2011-02-17 14:44
In the privatization process, jails were all sold by the Fed to Wall Street. Security was given to Blackwater.
And all sentencing is done by
Justice(?) Thomas.
+13 # Dick Huopana 2011-02-17 15:00
Why isn't Wall Street in jail? I can't answer that question because I'm still working on why Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Powell aren't in jail (or graves) for their horrendous Iraq war crimes. I know that those on Wall Street have committed awful crimes and deserve our attention. But the crimes of Bush et al are far worse and should not be allowed to go unpunished. Bush is, unshamefully, attending Super Bowls and World Series games and receiving standing ovations from packed stands; that is not appropriate punishment for the high-crimes his war team committed.
+2 # josé wellington 2011-02-17 16:28
The financial complex money is obtained by sell of papers in market, providing to buyer a promise of profit, some 'plus value', according Marx theories. These papers represents debts originated from loans, public debts, judicial debts, supporting comercial. industrial and agricultural financial loans.among others.
Intricate ways allows profit for paper handlers and law system is conceived to protect all operations resulting shield to market operators.
This mechanism is seeing in the world's abroad and this are capitalism most important settings to its existence.
Today, there's no law complex in the world that can punish intricate financial operations and this occurs due to its political influence in countries economic's life, a capitalism basis. Punishing all financial crimes can be a threat to capitalism itself...
+6 # moby doug 2011-02-17 16:29
All three Chairmen of the SEC appointed by Bush: Harvey Pitt, William Donaldson, and Christopher Cox, colluded with their Wall Street buddies, protecting them while ignoring conspicuous financial outrages. I remember how slimey it was in 2005 when Bush appointed the conservative California Republican Congressman Cox to "protect" investors. It didn't take an insider to see that the only people Cox was going to protect would be the Wall Street thieves themselves. But little criticism, much less punishment, has been aimed at Bush, Cox, or his predecessors for this outrageous dereliction of legal duty.
+2 # Frank T. 2011-02-17 16:43
Look, if we aren't going to jail these crooks because we are confused, why not have a general amnesty for all non-violent first offenders? I mean in the interest of fairness, the real crooks will either be back in jail or get jobs on Wall Street.
+3 # Bodoc 2011-02-17 19:02
"The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic." Joseph Stalin

Perhaps stealing a buck is thievery, stealing millions is a statistic.
+9 # DBell 2011-02-17 20:18
Don't you people get it? Here's the deal. As long as "they" keep us at each other's throats for being "Democrats" or "Republicans" -- "liberals" or "conservatives" -- keep us pointing fingers at Obama or Boehner and who is worse -- they keep us from seeing the real situation. Democrat or Republican this system is broken and the PEOPLE (yes liberal and conservative) should agree on that and take on the corruption that is spelled out so clearly in this article. But as long as they keep us fighting over Social Security, abortion and the teachers union the politicians will keep on accepting millions of dollars in donations (aka bribes) from corporate fat cats who laugh at the little people squabbling in the street below. The anger has to be directed at the corruption -- it's not about federal spending and the deficit or Obama-care -- corporations and the government are ripping you off and you're screaming at each other. Don't you see how silly this is? The first step -- pass legislation or force the Supreme Court to declare that corporations are not "people" and do not have the rights granted in the constitution. It all begins there. If we took all the energy of the left and right and brought it to bear on the issues that would first end corporate ownership of our government we could later begin to argue social policy on a level and, maybe, amiable playing field.
+4 # DaveW. 2011-02-18 01:01
DBell I applaud your ideas but am figuring that you're younger than me. I'm 54 and done a bit of marching. We GOT to convince the average citizen to turn off the F*****g TV and quit playing x-box and unplug the damn I-pods and "The Price is Right" and the "700 Club" and all the F*****g awards shows and "reality" crap and get on the goddamn streets before we're sitting behind barbed wire sayin' "what the f*** happened?" Try pressing the "outside of knees" together. That's about how far you're going to get trying to right and left together right now. We need a 24/7 TV mouthpiece from the left. Fox is like a f*****g casino. They NEVER close. All we have is about 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, on GE owned MSNBC. They show the "justice" of our prison system otherwise. Not much competition for the "free market" and compettition advocate from Australia.
+1 # CTPatriot 2011-02-18 05:55
Agreed. Unfortunately the corporatists and their allies in the media have so thoroughly polluted the minds of the tea bagger crowd that the chances of us ever getting past the left-right divide are slim, especially when you educate yourself on the authoritarian mind, how it relates to those with conservative views, and how people with that mindset believe what meets their ideological view regardless of how many disproving facts are presented to them.
+4 # Uppity Woman 2011-02-18 10:25
I would like to respectfully disagree with you about our chances. Because the "right" has such a large megaphone, I believe that we tend to over estimate their numbers. I live in the southern US, and in most places the left/right divide is not that clear, and if the more extreme right wingers have a majority (which has not been my experience, but then I haven't met everyone in the southeast yet) it is a very slim majority. People here do tend to be a bit more "conservative" on some issues, but believe me, most everyone is aware of the huge amount of corruption going on. I reach out to folks and find lots of common cause- if we would put down our labels, those who disagree with us on some issues might be more inclined to do the same. We really need to look at how the people in Egypt came together, and find ways to make it happen here as well.
+2 # stonepig 2011-02-18 11:50
Ok, are there any lawyers out there who have started, or want to start, a citizen's charge against these crooks? It can be done, don't dismay that we can't make that work.
0 # Carrillo 2011-02-18 14:32
actually, yes there are but the people to join to make it happen are still all asleep it seems... areyoumadenough
0 # stonepig 2011-02-21 09:43
Went there, too much of one guy's opinion and not enough support to fly. Sorry, it just seemed pretty lame. There are already major organizations like BoldProgressive s and FireDogLake that have a better following and less thought blather.
+1 # stonepig 2011-02-21 09:53
Oh boy oh boy...I just went looking at a bunch of labor union sites and holy smoke...they are cookin and protestin and hahahhaahah those big shots with their yachts and Rolls best be wandering off somewhere to hide. We're comin for you next. The workers of this country won't stand by any more and let the super rich agenda and its tea bagger misfits clueless about the fact that they are just patsies...anywa la revolution
-1 # stonepig 2011-02-21 10:02
oops I may have been referencing another site entirely...sorr y about that...but I am not too sure that the rumey site is going to help. I don't see a clear description of their plan. I don't like that it asks for some serious info on my finances and home ownership. Who is backing these people, and why are they linked to conservatives?
+4 # angelfish 2011-02-17 23:48
Since the Reagan Administration ALL the crooked banks, investment firms and Mega-wealthy "Me First-ers" have gotten away with literal and figurative MURDER! John Q. Public is always there to bail their sorry A$$es out, yet NOBODY pays but US back, EVER! There is NEVER any payback or restitution to the ones who saved their financial bacon. They continue to rape and pillage us financially with NO end in sight. They've even bought our Supreme Court! WHERE is ANY relief for the poor working stiff who continues to foot the bill, day in and day out? Watch what's going on in Wisconsin. They are Union Busting and trying to turn the State into a "Drone" society that has no recourse to FAIRNESS and must bow and scrape to the conservative Cabal that has necessitated the Democratic members of their Senate to flee rather than get steam rollered by the Machine that is trying to "break" the will of the workers. Wake up America! The sicko, Conservative Mega-Wealthy "I'm up, pull up the rope-ers" are on the march. Which State will they target next? Nevada? Arizona? New Jersey, New York? Maybe YOUR State. Be afraid. Corporations are now legally people. Your vote and voice are literally WORTHLESS in the face of all their MONEY! So long, Democracy, welcome, Plutocracy! So sad!
+4 # Tjalle eugster 2011-02-18 05:20
Hello from Egypt - a magnificient example of true people power.
You can do it in USA too!
It takes
1. a critical mass of people - millions.
2. an idea or vision most people can agree upon.
It worked here because people from all walks of life UNITED. Young and old, intellectuals and workers - Muslims and Christians.

Make a manifesto of 1o blatant and easy to understand examples of how Wallstreet and the political system has f**ked the wonderful American people.
Give links to websites for those who want to know more.
Then circulate it on Facebook and Twitter.
Use your mobile phones to take pictures of the homeless, the jobless, the sufferings of your people. Share them.

Maybe have Flash groups suddenly appearing and shouting the above slogan.
Get together, share stories of the money- tyranny and political oppression.
Get informed. Don't listen to propaganda - use the net.
Take courage - start a peaceful revolution.
If we could do it - you can too.
The Winds of Change are blowing.
Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come.
We are with you all the way.
+5 # Uppity Woman 2011-02-18 10:15
We love you, Tjalle! Thanks so much for your courage these past 3 weeks, and for your encouragement to those of us here in the US. I believe we are all going to come together over the next year to put an end to the bullies and frauds who think they are better than the people. We love you! Keep up your vigilance and know how much we all truly appreciate you, and the Egyptian people.
+2 # SK141 2011-02-18 11:45
"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men." -Woodrow Wilson, after signing the Federal Reserve into existence

George Carlin is RIGHT AS RAIN. The politicians are PUT there to make you think you have control....YOU DONT.
+3 # SK141 2011-02-18 11:29
Nuclear Fission starts with one tiny tiny particle getting off its ASS.
Wisconsin just may be that tiny particle that was gotten off its ass by watching smaller particles in Egypt and what can be set into motion. STATUS QUO NO!!!!!!
+2 # SK141 2011-02-18 11:44
"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men." -Woodrow Wilson, after signing the Federal Reserve into existence

+2 # TheDeprogrammer 2011-02-18 13:16
This has been the case only because of the repeal of Glass-Steagall and until we stop bitching about it and join in the fight to reinstate said policy coupled with the fixed exchange rate,it won't be changed.Read the FCIC final report Phil Angelides just published in a book for everyone to read.His report vindicates Lyndon LaRouche who has been right all along.Angelides just testified before Congress and gave the files to Federal Prosecutors to begin handing out indictments.Unl ess you start working with those submitting the solutions,you are just blowing smoke yourself.It's join or die time as Ben Franklin put it.If you intend to become part of the solution then help get Glass-Steagall reinstated instead of letting this continue any longer.Now get on board and lets make this happen collectively,go to
0 # 3rdM-3rdE 2011-02-20 13:56
Why not just get rid of Fractional Reserve Banking and the cult of (interlocked) 'private, central banks' altogether?

Have we not outgrown this most ancient of swindles?

“It is absurd to say our country can issue bonds and cannot issue currency. Both are promises to pay, but one fattens the usurer and the other helps the people"
- Thomas Edison
+4 # AreYouMadEnoughYet 2011-02-18 14:46
Thanks for that Tjalle:
"Hello from Egypt - a magnificient example of true people power.
You can do it in USA too!
It takes
1. a critical mass of people - millions.
2. an idea or vision most people can agree upon.
It worked here because people from all walks of life UNITED. Young and old, intellectuals and workers - Muslims and Christians."

We can beat this when we all agree that neither side is legit and that we are no longer willing to take sides against each other.

When we join together to fire the crooks and jail them - which means joining together to take the legal action it is in our power to take. The movement has already started. James Galbraith, William Black, Joseph Stiglitz, Michael Hudson and MANY others are already on our side - we just have to get to work. We do that by working together to jail the bankers and restore Americans to their homes and their money. You cannot do it all at once, but you can start. We've started. And we have NO political affiliations.
0 # 3rdM-3rdE 2011-02-20 14:05
Right on! Here's to TRUTH!

``I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs.''
- Thomas Jefferson
+1 # Teredo 2011-02-19 15:51
While one can justifiably blame the various financial systems in the US for the economic debacle which we are still enjoying. I feel that we should look a little deeper into the rolls of the series of governments, starting with Reagan and on up through Bush II, have played in this disaster.

For those who are really interested in finding how things went so dramatically wrong I would suggest a little light reading, My recommendation would Noam Chomsky’s “Hegemony or Survival” and Naomi Klien’s “Shock Doctrine.” Once those books are read the causes for the economic collapse become very apparent..
0 # ashi 2011-04-17 12:00
You must add this link and info for all to see it. HELP IS ON THE WAY.

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