Dylan Ratigan: Will Washington wake up to Wall Street greed?

It’s good to see more MSM outlets taking up the “why the lack of cases against the big Wall Street firms” theme. Perhaps my cynicism is showing, but Phil Angelides seems to be talking a tougher line than he did when the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report was released. Is this simply his response to the focus of this interview, or perhaps a sign that the zeitgeist is starting to move?

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  1. financial matters

    I would like to think he’s getting on board a zeitgeist. There does seem to be a paradigm shift going on that is getting hard to ignore with the Oscars and with many court cases showing the banks fraudulent leanings. Obama did make an important pocket veto in Oct…. Someone interested in a second term may want to heed the winds of popular support….


    Foreclosuregate and Obama’s “Pocket Veto”

    Thursday 07 October 2010

    by: Ellen Brown, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

    Amid a snowballing foreclosure fraud crisis, President Obama today blocked legislation that critics say could have made it more difficult for homeowners to challenge foreclosure proceedings against them.

    The bill passed the Senate with unanimous consent and with no scrutiny by the DC media

    Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism has uncovered a price list from a company called DocX that specializes in “document recovery solutions.” DocX is the technology platform used by Lender Processing Services to manage a national network of foreclosure mills. The price list includes such things as “Create Missing Intervening Assignment,” $35; “Cure Defective Assignment,” $12.95; “Recreate Entire Collateral File,” $95. Notes Smith:

    [C]reating … means fabricating documents out of whole cloth

    Denninger argues that it would not have been difficult to do it right from the beginning. His theory is that documents were “lost” to avoid an audit, which would have revealed to investors that they had been sold a bill of goods – a package of toxic subprime loans very prone to default.

    1. financial matters

      This report was prepared for the DOD Department of Irregular Warfare Support Progam for distribution to the FCIC. I think this is one of the more interesting sentences from this 111 page report… ((hat tip Buck350))

      “”Therefore, it is strongly recommended that this study and any task-force response be conducted outside of traditional Washington and Wall Street circles.””


      Immediate consideration of the issues outlined in this report is vital. Further study is essential and prospective responses must be crafted to address future risks. Finally, there are legitimate questions about the performance of the regulatory regime and Wall Street institutions. Implications that these parties have been complicit or otherwise co-opted cannot be ruled out. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that this study and any task-force response be conducted outside of traditional Washington and Wall Street circles.

  2. Edsel

    It’s a response to the focus of the interview. At the release, reporters wanted names of specific people. Here the host is allowing him to speak in more general terms.

    I’m not a lawyer, but I suspect that if he had named someone and the SEC/DOJ had subsequently decided not to prosecute, it could have led to suits for libel or defamation, not just for him, but for taxpayers as well (or for whoever would be the defendant if “the commission” were sued). Somebody probably warned him of that and caused him to be over-cautious.

    Watch his other interviews. I don’t think he’s soft on Wall Street.

  3. Jack Rip

    Sorry to rain on this optimistic parade, the zeitgeist of the political class doesn’t include any jail time unless you are middle class or poor. It is all for blaming teachers for bad education and robbing the country. The only questions relevant is who will be targeted by the politicos after we destroy education and teachers.

    1. nonclassical


      The move to “Charter Schools” is the beginning move to remove education from public auspices, and to PRIVATIZE
      ever more-(at taxpayer expense of course). Then, education will be moved to internet, which will effectively end fundamentalist problems with “historical revisionism” by liberal instructors..

    2. sgt_doom

      Agreed, I mean anybody with a couple of neurons realizes that Wall Streeters OWN the political process.

      We are so far beyond “call your congress critter” and only “JAIL YOUR CONGRESS CRITTER” will ever succeed.

    3. RedMadame

      Jack, they don’t want to destroy education and educators. They simply want to fire the vast majority of them, privatize education completely so it is a totally “market-driven” profession and do an excellent job of scamming the wannabe learners (or their parents) while providing something along the lines of CDOs that will blow up in the hands of the payers.

      The only “value” left in this country after manufacturing was hauled out to other climes was criminal frauds. Education is a tremendously maidenly avenue of fraud, prolly the largest left open to the criminal classes. They’ll need a few real educators to cover the scam for long enough to make big bucks in the charter school scam.

      1. seabos84

        I’m in the trenches in Seattle as a teacher.

        I’m 51 – I MISSED all the great accomplishments of the last 3 decades of Bubble-nomics … anyone have a map?

        GM – bust. Westinghouse … OOPS! that was back from the S&L era! Nevermind!

        50% higher spend on “health” than any of the other industrialized countries, and all we’re really getting is good times for AHIP execs and their hookers.

        And how is that black hole of national “security” spending doing for all of us?

        And what is all that finance stuff about?

        Yup … let’s blame teachers cuz … we sure as hell don’t want to blame the thieving from the raygun-cheney-istas, OR blame the enabling of raygun-cheney-istas by the sell outs by the old DLC (Kerry, O-bummer, Clinton …)

  4. Guy2K

    Yves, after reading all your reporting on the robosigning scandal I have a question. If the industry was failing to sign over the mortgage notes, and under New York law meant those trusts set up for the bonds didn’t actually own the notes and don’t have standing to foreclose, isn’t selling that as an “asset-backed” security plain and simple fraud?

    Now I’m not mystified as to why there are no criminal prosecutions (since the regulators are actively helping industry with the coverup) but why do you think none of the bondholders have sued the makers of the bonds for fraud in civil court?

  5. XRayD

    Devil’s Bargain:

    Money has become the economic and political wedge for profound changes in American society.

    Perhaps the most deceptive policy tool to lessen debt loads is the “negative” or exceedingly low real interest rate that central banks impose on savers and debt holders.

    “To rebalance debt loads and re-equitize financial institutions that should have known better, central banks and policymakers are taking money from one class of asset holders and giving it to another. A low or negative real interest rate for an “extended period of time” is the most devilish of all policy tools. And the asset class holder that it affects, or better yet, “infects,” is the small saver and institutions such as insurance companies and pension funds that hold long-term fixed income assets.

    … To put it bluntly, they are robbing savers and taking money surreptitiously from longer-term asset holders who are incorrectly measuring future inflation.


    We don’t have democracy … we have DEBTocracy, or debtocrazy!

  6. AndyC

    “but why do you think none of the bondholders have sued the makers of the bonds for fraud in civil court?”

    Good question, where are the pension fund managers, insurance companies, bond fund managers and the like and why aren’t they suing?

    The skim job during the good times obviously has benefited these managers and there may be a revolving door aspect between Wall Street and these financial advisers as well but if they wont sue they are surely violating their fiduciary responsibility and investors had better start filing class action law suits themselves before the statute of limitations runs out.

    1. Steve

      to me, I naturally thought that Wall Street would start losing customers once those customers realized that they were scammed.

      That doesn’t seem to be the case…

      1. Anonymous Comment

        Sadly, all most people can think about and hope for – is to have the good fortune of being on the side doing the scam, rather than the side getting scammed.

        Very few seem to want to shut down the scam. It’s the libertarian way – Let me get mine!

  7. MaryB

    As in all crime, whether you discussing murderous “hits” or contract for hire, or financial criimes and misdemeanors, there is often the “BAGMAN” or what is better known as the “FALL GUY”. In discussing the crimes that our government is singularly uninterested in (read Matt Tablisi’s excellent article in Rolling Stone: Why is Wall Street Not in Jail”) we are definitely aiming too low and too piecemeal in chasing the “bad guys”.

    We look at Wall Street, Deriviatives, this crime, that crime, High Frequency Trading, the SEC, Treasury, our politicians, our lobbyists, K Street, the Chamber of Commerce accepting “foreign” money for lobbying, Corporations having more rights than people…we all ask -HOW DO THEY GET AWAY WITH IT?

    Muster up the concentration and read TREASURE ISLANDS, by Nicholas Shaxon, due out in the US in April, 2011. Our friends and corporations strung around the world in the necklace of tax havens (including states within the US), have Zillions in untold, untaxed funds to manipulate everyone.

    And if you’re not being manipulated by contributions (the mother’s milk of democracy) pay offs and golden handcuffs, I would hazard a guess that you’re in on it.

    Will Washington wake up to Wall Street Greed? As has been suggested to Mr. Mubarek and Mr. Gaddafi (both with OUR BILLIONS stashed away) our politicos should really try to get out in front of this and handle it the right way. I think Obama got captured because he was in fear of his or his family’s lives.

    Form a GLOBAL consortium. Perhaps an equal minimum GLOBAL FLAT TAX no matter where you live, unless you are below the poverty line in your country. Then,, the money won’t be tempted to receive foreign money. Perhaps American Companies would then find it profitable to employ it’s own people.

    And Mr. Angelides has said nobody is looking for vigilante justice. I’d like to state for the record that I would like some CLAW BACKS, as they were made such a big show of.

  8. Hugh

    Will Washington wake up? Who said they were asleep? Ratigan may be a little better tuned in than most in the media but that is a really tuned out question. It’s a little like asking your head of security Mr. Fox why there continue to be so many dead chickens in the chicken coop.

  9. readerOfTeaLeaves

    At the time of the FCIC report, the mess in Wisconsin had not yet grown.
    In fairness to Angelides, I appreciate that he pointed out the real, underlying economic problems: economic inequality, which prompts elites to ‘change the subject’.

    The Egyptian uprising, which was quite clearly an economic revolt connected to a political movement, was only burgeoning as the FCIC report was being finished up. The Wisconsin movement only started to flare up after the Egyptian revolt had succeeded in dislodging Mubarak and his cronies.

    I suspect that Angelides is mostly reading the news, albeit with a tremendous amount of informed background information about the level of fraud that underlies The Meltdown. I take him as a sign of zeitgeist, based in part by observing that the WI protestors appear to be a lot of middle class folks who have probably never demonstrated before in their lives.

  10. Allen C

    We can hope that the politicians and banksters rat each other out. Hopefully, America will call BS and demand a RICO trial.

  11. Disgusted, depressed & discouraged

    Without 1930s PECCORA style commission investigation, nothing so far done is NOTHING (including FCIC!)but a white wash to put everything sweep under the carpet!

  12. herman sniffles

    Phil Angelides is a clown. I remember when he was running for something-or-other in California he had this ridiculous ad where he ran out of the bushes like Rambo as the narrator shouted words like “tough! strong! powerful! etc.” It was about the goofiest thing I’ve ever seen. I mean here’s this little pencil-neck guy in horn rim glasses with arms about as big around as a third grade girl acting like he’s Sylvester Stallone. At least it’s nice to know he’s left California. I knew when they put him in charge of the crook investigation it would be an utter joke, and it was. So he’s talking tought now? Give me a break…

  13. readerOfTeaLeaves

    Whoa, Ratigan’s after it again.
    Today’s show calling b.s. on the political (and media) failure that is revealing itself as putting mortgage-and-derivative-fraud on the backs of teachers, cops, firegighters, judges, and prison guards: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3096434/#41855890

    Clodene: great catch, good article. Mervyn King, at least, can state the obvious. Where is our American Mervyn King… for now, it seems to be Angelides.

  14. Random Blowhard

    Only when Total Economic Collapse forces Congress’s hand. If not there’s always the firing squad option.

  15. Nicole

    I worked at a TBTF bank for many years and after I told them I was going to report them to the government for their unethical business practices they fired me. I filed a SOX complaint with OSHA but nothing happened. They never did anything to protect me. I hope nobody else has to go through what I have. I believe the government is protecting them from being held accountable.

  16. Brant Williams

    This is entirely the wrong approach. The heart of the problem is a tax and business law system which encourages short term thinking, short term business goals, and short term management at all levels in our economy.

    No one wants to invest for the long term…the want to make a quick buck.

    This is an underlying driving engine behind the ‘financialization’ of our economy, which in turn leads to all these problems.

    If we would just re-write the tax laws to make a distinction between actual goods and services, vs. financially derived ‘profits’ (trading gains, short term investment, etc). Those trading gains represent no actual added value to the economy. The only way the financial sector can maintain its current size is in an environment of expanding credit/debt(ie a credit bubble).

    When are we going to realize that there IS a difference between actual value added…and financial / credit expansion derived gains. It is not just profit…it is the NATURE of the profit!

    Encourage true value added (make a product, build a building, make a better mousetrap, disseminate information more efficiently), and this debate will not exist…because finance will be a support function, not an industry in and of itself. That is the only long term viable structure!

    This is not hard people. Make things. Do things. Add value. It is what made America great, and the only way to stay there.

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