Friday, August 17, 2012


 The Obama justice department just announced it would not bring criminal charges against anyone at Goldman Sachs.  After an exhaustive (their word) investigation, no one at the Justice(?) Department could come up with a single law which Goldman violated.  This continues a pattern of failing to convict even one of the architects of a global robbery which almost destroyed the world's economic framework.

     After the repeal of the Glass-Steagle Act, commercial and investment banks became one and they were free to gamble with depositor's money knowing they were backed by a federal guarantee not to let them fail.  Starting in 2000, these casinos began creating and selling derivatives, collateralized debt, swaps and other vehicles most of which these geniuses had no idea how to value or evaluate their risk.  (They used algorithms devised by M.I.T. graduates who totally failed to adequately assess or predict risk)  The greedier they grew, the more exotic the offerings.  Eventually, they began to offer packages of sub-prime mortgages bundled together, which they knew would fail miserably, and sold them while at the same time betting against them and making billions.  They were no different than Madoff or Sanford.  They were creating and selling fraud and profiting from it.

     Goldman Sachs created a package of securities christened "Abacus".  They allowed a privileged customer and trader, John Paulsen, to pick which blighted properties would go into this toxic soup.  Then Paulsen, and Sachs, took positions betting against their own product.  They made sure it would sink and made money off the suckers they induced to invest.  This practice, and many others like it, robbed, de-frauded, cheated investors out of billions of dollars and exposed the banks to such extreme jeopardy, the American taxpayer had to bail them out to the tune of trillions of dollars.  Yet, the Justice Department could not find any crime they committed.

     Goldman paid hundreds of millions of dollars in a civil settlement, without having to admit any wrongdoing, as have numerous other banks.  This continues a pattern of the very rich and powerful buying their way out of jail.  Angelo Mazzillo, the CEO of Countrywide Savings and Loan, was one of the worst offenders on sub-prime mortgages.  He paid a $70 million fine, about 1/10th of his net worth, and no criminal charges were pursued.  It is clear there is a different set of criminal statutes for the rich than for average Americans.

     More recently, Barclays Bank paid over $400 million in fines for manipulating the LIBOR lending rate which affects trillions of dollars of loans each day.  Sixteen other banks also engaged in this manipulation and are under investigation.  (Can you say conspiracy?)  New York bank regulators announced the British bank Standard Chartered PLC would pay $340 million to settle allegations they were laundering money for Iran in violation of American law.  Another American bank stands accused of laundering perhaps billions of drug cartel dollars.  Again, no criminal charges for anyone involved.

     If the Justice Department is telling the truth...if they really can't find a criminal statute to use against these thieves and bunko artists, then Congress should do what it always does in cases like this...pass new more restrictive criminal laws.  When the F.B.I. had trouble busting mobsters, Congress passed the R.I.C.O. Act.  This law is credited with breaking the mob's hold in this country.  In the drug wars, conspiracy laws are the prime weapons the feds use to convict.  They don't have to find you with drugs.  Even without evidence, a photograph, wiretap or actual drugs on your person, they can still get a conviction if someone else is willing to testify to dealing with you thus creating a conspiracy.  Easily half the federal drug convictions involve defendants accused of a conspiracy and in many cases there is no physical evidence of drug use or possession at any time (scary if you think about it).

     The government invented new criminal statutes to get the people they wanted to get.  I've told you about sole liability laws, thousands of them, where you don't even have to know you broke the law and yet can still be convicted.  The government, and Congress, pride themselves on being tough on crime, but it appears they are only tough in poor and urban areas and with people who don't have much power and clout.  Every year they pass more laws to lock up more folks, yet not a single official of any bank, brokerage, insurance company or securities firm has even been charged with a criminal offense, because the Justice Department can't find anything to charge them with.

     I wish my pen, or my vocabulary, were capable of writing or communicating the derision and contempt I have for this turn of events.  These institutions, and their executives, engaged in massive fraud, theft, destruction of wealth and endangered national security and they walk away scot free from it?  Not only do they skate, but you had to pay for their thieving ways.  If even you need proof the 1% operate in a different world, with different standards, different consequences and different results than you or I, this is proof.

     The definition of a fascist state is one in which everything is illegal and the government decides what to prosecute and what to let go.  The definition of a fascist/oligarch-state is one in which everything is illegal for most, but a small privileged class of people.  Our republic is in serious danger of collapsing from internal rot as we see our tax code, (returns Gov. Romney?) banking laws, drug laws etc written in such as to exempt the 1% from any reckoning.  Given the state of our civil liberties, it means no American is safe from those with the most money and power.

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