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Given the multiple examples of outright government cover up of the crimes committed by Wall Street, when I heard the president announce the much touted Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities working group tasked with investigating and prosecuting fraud, led by New York's AG Eric Schneiderman,  during the State of The Union address a year ago, I found the timing suspect, given the then ongoing settlement talks over foreclosure talks with banks.

That episode kind of reminded me of how Banana Republics operate, when leaders make transparently self-serving and opportunistic pronouncements which are so ludicrous but frequent, that the population just gets used to them without raising a collective eyebrow.

In an article titled, "Wall Street wins again," Salon reports "The secret Truth: There never was a “task force” dedicated to ferreting out mortgage fraud."

Schneiderman’s “task force” (a generous appellation) was merely a politically motivated shell organization grafted onto that public relations strategy.  This was evident almost from the moment of the announcement, but the coalition of self-proclaimed bank accountability advocates, who had backed the administration into a corner over the lack of prosecutions, decided to align with Schneiderman and his kabuki task force, losing whatever leverage they may have had.  If those same groups who feel “betrayed” and “lied to” had stayed on the outside and shamed those in power into action, we would probably have more accountability today.
This is a perfect case study as to why progressive, social justice, and anti-corruption organizations need to be totally independent from political parties, if they truly believe in their mission.
The progressive groups who paid lip service to seeking bank accountability didn’t get what they claimed to want.  But they should have thought of that before jumping in with Schneiderman and offering unreserved praise for the un-task force before it even began to reveal itself as a fake.  The day of the announcement, the Campaign for America’s Future, MoveOn.org, the New Bottom Line, the AFL-CIO, the Campaign for a Fair Settlement and more all sent out glowing press releases touting the president’s leadership and the tremendous opportunity presented by the task force.  MoveOn called it “the biggest victory yet for the 99%.”  This was farcical...
I suggest progressive organizations hold their glowing press releases until scores of criminal Wall Street banksters are at least criminally indicted.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Deterrence (9+ / 0-)

    A concept foreign to this Justice Department.   Unless you are Aaron Schwartz that is.............

  •  The Only Reason to Have a Political Party is 'Caus (4+ / 0-)

    you are the people, and not the owners.

    They don't need a political party, as the Tea Party so dramatically illustrates.

    Every event, every measurement, every message from the Tea So-Called Party shows them in utter collapse, disrepute and irrelevance across the country. Support in the lowest double digits. Membership probably less.

    Yet 60 minutes from now Tea Party Sequestration falls onto our nation. Later in the month Tea Party Debt Limit crisis falls on our nation. The House of Representatives is indefinitely Tea Party because of gerrymandering. The WH may become indefinitely Tea Party by 2016 if enough Tea dominated states perform the Electoral College gerrymander based on their House gerrymander.

    This is because the tea party isn't voters, it's owners.

    If progressives shun parties, when they have no owners with them, how do they accomplish anything?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 08:00:15 PM PST

    •  You are looking at the whole thing through the (5+ / 0-)

      partisan lens, and that's where the argument collapses.

      The Tea Party thing is a distraction.  The real issue is that the entire political system in the U.S. is under the control and influence of corporatist and financial cartels.

      The main raison d'etre of any progressive movement is to stand against corruption and injustice.  Check out the WikiPedia definition.

      When citizens stand up against corruption and injustice, it then helps purify the entire political system.

      When progressive align themselves with corrupt political parties, then we end up being co-opted and ensnared in the corruption.

      •  Political compromise ends up with someone (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador

        being 3/5ths of a person, to paraphrase something I saw on the web recently.


        We live in a nation where doctors destroy health; lawyers, justice; universities, knowledge; governments, freedom; the press, information; religion, morals; and our banks destroy the economy. -- Chris Hedges

        by Jim P on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:02:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The nation and the states are all corporations -- (0+ / 0-)

        artificial bodies organized for the express purpose of distributing risk and holding the individual participants free from liability. Corporations are structured to avoid individual accountability. That's why their operations and functions have to be minutely specified ahead of time and, in the event of failure to comply, the corporation has to be dissolved. Michigan, with its takeover of municipalities, is actually providing a real-time example of how the process works. That the Michigan municipalities are "failing" because they have been starved for funds is another matter. That's an example of failure by design. Minority communities are not supposed to thrive. Using money to strangle them and cause their demise indirectly has generally been effective, except for the fact that the commitment to human rights cannot be wiped out. Property rights can trump human rights. Ownership can trump obligation, but the idea of equality can't be killed off. "Sam I Am."

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:41:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Important question: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo

    Is Schneiderman in on the con or is he just another mark?

    You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

    by Johnny Q on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:59:10 PM PST

    •  There was a lot of discussion of this at the time (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador, aliasalias

      There was a lot of discussion about various state attorney generals who were seeking to prosecute banksters at the time.  Among those proposing to prosecute financial industry criminals was Schneiderman, perhaps the most visible inasmuch as his beat actually included Wall Street.  The federal task force was the DOJ's way to co-opt those prosecutors.  If I remember correctly, it took a while to bring Schneiderman on board.  There was some hope at the time that he might have moved the DOJ towards actually doing its job, but there were a lot of skeptics.  In retrospect, we learned once again that a cynical interpretation of the events was the right one.  

      •  One of the main problems is that financial (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        salmo

        transactions that are voluntarily entered into by two parties with full knowledge that one or both might suffer an injury or loss are virtually impossible to describe as fraud. If a person agrees to abuse, it's no longer abuse, just as when a person pleads guilty, the conviction is almost impossible to reverse, even when there is evidence that the plea was coerced.
        In other words, it's hard to correct injustices after the fact. Never mind that financial injury is not really real. Money is a token and the transactions are abstractions. Which is why, if equity is desired, the relationships have to be structured fairly ahead of time. That's what the Consumer Protection Bureau is supposed to achieve. The word "consumer" isn't quite correct, but it is familiar to people who are the recipients in a transaction. "Receiver" may be more accurate, but probably wouldn't be appreciated. Being a recipient is laden with negative implications.
        The lenders in the collapse of 2008 knew what they were getting into and the borrowers should have known. After all, the borrowers were signing away their rights, as this "Waiver of Rights," which was appended to notes demonstrates:

        Waiver of Rights

        By execution of this Instrument Borrower expressly,

        (1) Acknowledges the Lender's Right to Accelerate the debt and the power of attorney given hereby to Lender to sell the premises by nonjudicial foreclosure upon default by borrower without any judicial hearing and without any notice other than such notice as is specifically required to be given under the provisions of said Deed to Secure Debt;

        (2)Waives all rights which Borrower may have under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, the various several states, the Constitution of the State of Georgia, or by reason of any other applicable law, to NOTICE AND TO JUDICIAL HEARING prior to the exercise by the lender of the right or remedy herein provided to Lender, except such notice as is specifically required to be provided in said Deed to Secure Debt;

        (3)Acknowledges that Borrower has read this deed and its provisions have been fully explained to Borrower and Borrower has been afforded the opportunity to consult with counsel of Borrower's choice prior to executing this deed;

        (4)Acknowledges that all Waives of the aforesaid rights of Borrower Have Been Made Knowingly, Intentionally and Willingly by Borrower as part of a bargain for loan transaction;

        (5)Agrees that Borrower's right to notice shall be limited to those rights to notice provided by this deed and no other; and

        (6)Agrees the provisions hereof are incorporated and made part of the Deed to Secure Debt.

        DO NOT SIGN THIS FORM UNTIL YOU HAVE READ OR HAD IT READ TO YOU; AND UNTIL YOU FULLY UNDERSTAND ITS MEANING AND AGREE TO ITS TERMS.

        This particular waiver was employed by the Oglethorpe Bank of Brunswick, Georgia, which is one of some 50+ Georgia banks that has gone bankrupt, but other financial institutions used similar forms. Note that the borrower is granting the lender a power of attorney. That's the same kind of authorization the unjust steward in the biblical parable had to write off his master's debtors' debts. That's the same kind of power we have given to the Congress to manage our currency. And, two thousand years later, the only viable response is the same -- fire their asses!

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 01:06:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, yes but ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aliasalias

          There were clearly fraudulent aspects to both the loans and foreclosure processes that give rise to the potential for civil and criminal prosecution.  That the borrowers "should have known" presupposes that the lenders disclosed what they knew, or should have known.  Then there are simple mechanics - take robosigning, for example.  It wasn't just me who thought there was criminality there.  My low opinion of state's attorney generals with whom I have had some dealings notwithstanding, the various attorney generals that were engaged in actively developing cases suggests that actual prosecutors thought that it was more likely than not that they could win at trial.  Furthermore, it appears that the DOJ thought so too, as evidenced by their formation of a "task force" to sidetrack the state prosecutions.  I stand by my conclusion that it's hard to keep up with the degree of cynicism needed to properly understand our DOJ's, and some state prosecutor's, handling of this.

        •  I totally disagree with that premise. The lenders (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dumas EagerSeton, aliasalias

          which I call Wall Street financial criminal cartels, purposely engage in a sophisticated ponzi scheme.  They knew what they were doing.  Their "financial products" infected the market, just like any pathogen does in biology.

          If you create a situation where you basically say "I'm going to spread 'free money' around" and make that a proposition for average citizens, people are going to start grabbing with both hands.

          The fraudulent financial products were created so there would be very high volumes of transactions, and the financial criminal cartels would make their money from fees on those transactions, and from speculating further on those transactions.

          They paid off the rating agencies and our worthless political establishment to accomplish this.

          The result: Tens of thousands of suicides, entire communities devastated, the defunding of essential services in community after community...

          This was the biggest and most heinous crime in modern history, and everybody knows who the culprits are.  The most offensive thing is that they are still walking around, with smugness on their faces, instead of doing hard time in prison.

          •  Well, the currency is the responsibility of (0+ / 0-)

            Congress. Money ought not to be used for gambling, just as hammers ought not to be used to hit people over the head.
            Using money as a tool of subordination is essentially abusive. But, it's been going on for so long that it's almost accepted.
            Imagine if we rationed inches. Congress rationing dollars is much the same.
            However, habits are hard to break. Islam preaches, as far as I know, that it is wrong to charge interest on money, over and above the cost of keeping accounts.
            Beppe Grillo refers to bankers as the priests of money. The Catholic church has a history of selling indulgences. Making an idol out of money is sort of the reverse.

            We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

            by hannah on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 08:38:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I don't believe any of these criminals will be (0+ / 0-)

    prosecuted.  There's no point in upsetting the apple cart or biting the hand that's feeding the pols that are blathering on about task forces, etc.  They ALL take bloody, corporate money into their campaign coffers and have long ago sold their souls to the underworld.  They, meaning the pols and the oligarchy are an incestuous lot, keeping the money and the power "in the family" as it were.  It's all theatre for the peasants.

    As far as Schneiderman goes and whether he's in on the scheme, I don't know.  But I'm mostly certain he's eyeing higher office like governor or Senate.  He has to keep shoving his name out there and is forging that "Hero to the Middle Class," brand.  What a crock of crap!  All of it!

    Ain't no one gonna be investigated, charged, tried, or convicted.

    Only karmic justice awaits these fokkers and boy oh boy there's a tsunami size wave that will overwhelm them someday.  Likely we won't get to witness that - but as surely as the sun rises, it'll get all of them.

    "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." Ted Kennedy 1980 DNC Keynote Speech

    by Dumas EagerSeton on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 09:00:59 AM PST

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