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Simple answers to simple questions

Yves asks:

Is corruption by the banking classes now such a normal state of affairs that no one bothers to take note unless the perps are called before Congress and made to squirm?

Simple answers to simple questions:

Yes.

NOTE Susie looks at the same story of corruption in municipal bond sales that Yves did, and connects it to the political culture of Philadelphia:

Yeah, this is where the kickbacks – so-called “pinstripe patronage” – have always been hidden. And this was why I was so wary of Mike Nutter, the guy who became Philadelphia’s mayor — he’s a former municipal bond dealer. It’s an industry so rife with corruption, you can’t imagine.

As Lincoln Steffens wrote over 100 years ago in The Shame of the Cities:

Philadelphia is, indeed, corrupt; but it is not without significance. Every city and town in the country can learn something from the typical political experience of this great representative city. ... It is "good," too, and intelligent. I don't know just how to measure the intelligence of a community, but a Pennsylvania college professor who declared to me his belief in education for the masses as a way out of political corruption, himself justified the "rake-off" of preferred contractors on public works on the ground of a "fair business profit." ... Philadelphia is one of the oldest of our cities and treasures for us scenes and relics of some of the noblest traditions of "our fair land." Yet I was told once, "for a joke," a party of boodlers [grafters] counted out the "divvy" [division] of their graft in unison with the ancient chime of Independence
Hall. . . . Philadelphia is proud; good people there defend corruption and boast of their machine. My college professor, with his philosophic view of "rake-offs," is one Philadelphia type. Another is the man who, driven to bay with his local pride, says: "At least you must admit that our machine is the best you have ever seen." . . .

Today, we have "machine trading." And the corruption in our bankster elite makes Philly look small. As Philadelphia went, so went the nation...

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Submitted by jawbone on

at least the entire finance sector and its tentacles. Confessions of a Wall St. Nihilist: Our Entire Economy Is Built on Fraud.

An excerpt:

...let’s throw the book at every firm and every executive that our people can make a case against. Because you know, gosh, it’s all about rule of law and blind justice, just like Che says.’ OK, so now this means indicting just about every serious player in finance, so they take down Goldman Sachs, they take down Citigroup, JP Morgan, BofA… and they also serve all the big funds who are at least as guilty, if not more. So they shut down Pimco, Blackrock, Citadel… maybe they indict Geithner and Summers, haul in some of Bush’s crooks… right?”

Snip

“OK, now guess what you’ve just done? You’ve just caused the markets to completely tank. Remember what happened after the Lehman collapse? Remember how popular that made every politician in Washington? Still wondering why they coughed up a trillion bucks? They were scared for their lives; that’s why they voted for that bailout. You’d have done the same goddamn thing. But if we go after everyone guilty of fraud and theft, the market crash this country would see would make 2008 look like Sesame Street. Open that can of worms labeled ‘Fraud’ and the whole fucking economy collapses. You may as well prosecute people for masturbating. No one will know where the fraud investigation stops and who will be charged next—everyone will try to cash out, and the markets will tank to zero. And guess what happens when the markets tank to zero? Every fucking American with a retirement plan, or an investment portfolio, or a 401k—every state pension plan in the country, every teacher’s pension fund, every fireman’s pension—every last one of them will be wiped out. That’s what the Lehman collapse taught us.”

Via Zozimuz as The Agonist.

Submitted by lambert on

Because government spending is not operationally constrained. So what if the bondholders get wiped out?

I agree that one way to kill a parasite is to starve the host, and that's bad for the host, but we the people, as the host, are sovereign and can actually make food that the parasite cannot eat.

If I have my metaphors right.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

I guess I don't get this narrative. Why don't we start with Goldman and see what happens? Then we can move to City and see what happens? Once those guys are in jail and the ill-gotten gains of the traders re-claimed, then we can whether we've ended fraud or not. If not, we go out and get more, and make it very, very clear that until the fraud stops we'll keep putting people in jail.

Submitted by jawbone on

form of corruption -- on the part of the individual arms selling nations and the EU itself?

This is almost completely amazing.

Via leaftree at The Agonist. From the Al Jazeera report:

Despite a deep budget deficit crisis, Greece is being encouraged by Paris and Berlin, from whom it buys many of its weapons, to continue spending billions of dollars on defence.

It spends just over three per cent of its gross domestic product on military hardware - more than any other nation in the EU - included those involved in international conflicts, such as Britain, France and Germany.

In the video, it is reported that Greece this year had no military tanks in its military parade: They couldn't afford the fuel.

But, hey, Greece, keep on buying those armaments!