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  •  I'm arguing that the process no long works (0+ / 0-)

    anywhere near as well as it should for the people it's supposed to serve, the majority. Mine is not a binary argument, but that things have gone way too far in one direction. The process still does work, sometimes. I mean, the ACA is definitely an improvement on what preceded it. But it was nowhere near as much an improvement as it should and I believe could have been had the various players in and out of government been true to their implied roles as good citizens (or do you not believe in such a thing?).

    My point is and always has been that the game is rigged, not totally, but far more so than it used to and should or could be, so talk of how things are "supposed" to work is just plain silly, something to hide behind while denying how things actually are working. Or do you genuinely believe that the banks committed no provable crimes, as opposed to the DoJ deliberately taking it easy on them? Seriously? I'm asking the human, not lawyer part of you.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:07:02 AM PST

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    •  if it's not binary, (0+ / 0-)

      it contradicts your own argument.  The next step is conceding that the process can work without the outcome reflecting your particular preferred outcome.

      the human part of me says the DOJ shouldn't indict unless it believes it can convict., and that errors of judgment are not necessarily crimes.   Do i believe they could have been indicited? There's a good chance, but I don't know who knew what when, however, so i'm loath to make too many conclusions of a political nature from prosecutions that didn't happen and I don't know about (which of course ignores those that did).  What I don't know is why it's assumed a failure of will rather than a problem obtaining consensus among career and political reps in the face of complexity of the issues.  "provable" is an interesting word -- crimes perhaps could have been proven, but were they?  A provable crime is maybe one with a 10% chance of getting conviction -- it's possible, but nobody should be indicted on that basis.  The fact that people weren't indicted over cases that boiled down to inadequate disclosures or matters in which they themselves lost money, doesn't surprise me because there's not a lot of precedent for that.  I think there should be more action on the mortgage originator front, but the originate-to-distribute model had the big banks removed from originating and servicing.  It also turns out a lot of really shady practices had the blessing of bank regulators up front, whose job was to see to the health of the banks (really, their depositors) rather than borrowers.   I find it disappointing, but I don't find it inconceivable or evidence of bad faith.  And I care more about regulatory reforms to catch these sorts of problems sooner rather than expecting criminal law to clean up the messes afterwards.  

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:29:33 AM PST

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      •  These were crimes (0+ / 0-)

        The rest is just bullshit. These people knew that they were breaking the law and didn't give a shit. How is it not a crime to threaten a ratings agency with loss of business if they didn't rate the way you wanted them to rate? How is it not a crime to lie to a prospective borrower about the terms of a mortgage? How is it not a crime to sell shit debt as A+ debt?

        Stop being a lawyer and just be a person. That's "ad hom" I can live with.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 10:37:26 AM PST

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        •  i can't answer those questions (0+ / 0-)

          without wearing my lawyer hat, and if i do, they're not the answers you've already convinced yourself of.  But in discussing the application of criminal law, why should i take that off.  Just diagnose that patient as a person, not a doctor.  Come on.  "Crimes" as in "very bad things"," yes, they are.  "Crimes" as in violations of specific statutes beyond a reasonable doubt, it's a tougher call.  (Quickly: in each of these scenarios, there usually came along with disclaimers that would undercut the notion people were lied to, and many of these folks managed to convince themselves home prices were always going to go up, or would at least stay up longer than they did.  If they were really masterminds, we needn't have bailed them out.  Though as I said, example 2 is the closest, though also the most removed from the bulge brackets (and also the most prosecuted).)  

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 12:04:55 PM PST

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          •  I've worked for several financial firms (0+ / 0-)

            that committed major financial crimes when I worked for them (that I had nothing to do with, having worked in IT, not the front office). There was absolutely no question that crimes were committed in them.

            In one case no one went to jail but huge fines were imposed, the offending parties were fired in disgrace, and the firm effectively went under within a few years. In the other case people did go to jail.

            If similarly major crimes weren't committed in the 2008 collapse, with far more serious consequences, then I'm a monkey's uncle. Literally. While I realize that lawyers, being lawyers, like to argue a case because it's in their blood, and that they're very good at proving that a crime actually wasn't a crime when it was so obviously a crime (e.g. OJ), that doesn't make these non-crimes.

            You're just being a lawyer, not liking to lose an argument. In your heart you know that crimes were committed. Which of course means and should mean nothing in the legal system. But only the truly delusional believe that no serious crimes were committed, and I'm not going to engage in a point by point technical debate on this just because it's how you win arguments.

            This is part of why our country is in such trouble, people who should know better gaming the system, just because they can, and it's in their interest.

            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

            by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 12:18:37 PM PST

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            •  Great. (0+ / 0-)

              i don't see why what anyone believes but can't prove should be interesting to anyone else.  I would think in your position, you'd pick one -- just one -- and argue it all the way through.  Otherwise how am i supposed to believe how easy it is?  Of course, my position isn't that no crimes were committed -- clearly not, because the shibboleth that nobody was ever prosecuted is just not true -- but criminal intent for, say, bulge bracket CEOs doesn't automatically or necessarily follow from any of the things you mentioned without some additional facts also being true.  I've also seen real cases of financial crime, but it's rarely in over the counter sales of bespoke debt to other sophisticated parties.  I know bad and immoral and stupid acts were committed, I don't know they don't have adequate defenses or reasonable doubt.  Proving civil liability is hard enough, i'm not going to go ahead and presume criminal liability with such a high confidence interval i get to impugn the character and motives of people closer to the facts than I.  

              Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

              by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 12:33:14 PM PST

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              •  Yeah, Jamie Dimon's a really swell guy (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                k9disc

                Dick Fuld, Lloyd Blankfein, Ace Greenberg--all model citizens who while perhaps a tad too greedy, never did anything criminally wrong here.

                I respect the efforts of any lawyers involved in defending any of these and others in the actual legal system, as even the scum of the earth deserve proper legal representation. I do not respect the efforts of people defending them in the court of public opinion against accusations of criminality. Crimes were committed. I have absolutely zero doubt of that based on what I've read and heard because the things that happened that crashed the economy don't just happen on their own without active human agency committing criminal acts. That I can't "prove" it is irrelevant to what we know. You're just being a lawyer. As, I'm finding out, most lawyers are. It's in their DNA.

                "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 02:45:46 PM PST

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                •  i never made any claim (0+ / 0-)

                  about them as people - as i said it wouldn't be interesting to anyone.  I think Fuld's accounting case was pretty bad, but i'm not sure it was a slam dunk.  And for what it's worth, I don't think they are pure evil, I think they're schmucks who can't possibly understand the breadth of what their organizations are up to, which is not inconsistent with also being criminals, just not master criminals.  I've dealt with folks at the MD level, and they just seem strikingly dull.

                  Your second paragraph is fine as far as it goes, but it's kind of stifling argument.  Of course,if you read carefully, where I'm reluctant to pass judgment is on monday morning quarterbacking the attorneys responsible for enforcing the statutes at issue.  The banks are what they are, and should be regulated to protect everyone from their stupidity, overleverage, short-term thinking, and greed, as well as possible criminality, come to that.  That you have a hang-up about lawyers is fairly clear, and that you can convince yourself of the correctness of your own assumptions is also clear.  

                  Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                  by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 03:19:50 PM PST

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                  •  I have a problem with lawyers (0+ / 0-)

                    because I've worked with them and seen how they operate, overbilling and dragging things out to jack up their fees, and pretending to give a shit about your problems. And not just in everyday civil matters, but ones involving the welfare of children and families. Most IMO simply do not care, except for the billables. They profit off off human suffering, and don't seem to care.

                    Anyway, I don't think these bankers are Hitler. I do though think that they're human scum, devoting their considerable talents not to making the world a better place for all (while take a deservedly nice paycheck for it), but to profiting themselves and their buddies. That's a kind of lesser evil that deserves condemnation. Sure, most of these are probably not breaking the law, even if what they're doing is immoral and unethical IMO (e.g. what Romney did for a living, raiding solvent companies and destroying them). But some are, and I've worked for some myself, several levels down.

                    The first firm tried to corner the treasuries market through fake shell bidders, clearly a crime at the time, and the other manipulated the dotcom investment banking sector to churn maximal fees (do the initials FQ & CSFB ring a bell?). And I know enough about what happened leading to the crash of '08 to understand that there's no way that major crimes weren't committed, of the sort that I mentioned above. Not merely stupid acts of blind greed (although there was that too, e.g. placing crazy bets on MBO's of the sort that AIG did), but actual crimes, like deliberate misrepresentation of an underlying security's risk, or lying to borrowers about a loan's terms, which I believe are crimes.

                    Btw I've also worked for honest bankers, like one briefly who ended up writing Warren Buffet's biography a few years ago. She headed her bank's research division on certain kinds of insurance products, putting out analysis reports (which I helped put together) for the bank's clients' benefit so they could make informed decisions. I didn't detect any attempt at willful misrepresentation on her part. So I have nothing against bankers, per se, just the crooks and jerks.

                    I hope they have good lawyers. I hope the government has better ones.

                    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                    by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 03:49:35 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  fair enough (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Rashaverak

                      i'm sorry you had bad experiences with lawyers.  Mr. Quattrone aside, I think where it gets tricky is the characterization of the deals: i'm not so sure it's obvious  levels of risk were so readily ascertainable up front for such illiquid products and when home prices were rising (especially as banks so often kept the riskiest tiers for themselves), and we did discuss the borrower-facing ones above, which did get prosecuted and was at some remove from the largest banks.  More common I'm sure was misleading marketing, but it's surprising how little disclosure is required for such an important transaction.  I'd want just more information to see whose lawyers were in fact better, because the question isn't whether the actus reus existed for a crime or crimes, but the degree of confidence one has in proving which ones, if the purpose of the exercise is to support a political conclusion about the agency heads' willingness to serve the public interest.    

                      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                      by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 04:12:56 PM PST

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