Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Cross posted from New Economic Perspectives
Sixty Minutes’ December 11, 2011 interview of President Obama included a claim by Obama that, unfortunately, did not lead the interviewer to ask the obvious, essential follow-up questions.
I can tell you, just from 40,000 feet, that some of the most damaging behavior on Wall Street, in some cases, some of the least ethical behavior on Wall Street, wasn’t illegal.
Obama did not explain what Wall Street behavior he found least ethical or what unethical Wall Street actions he believed was not illegal. It would have done the world (and Obama) a great service had he been asked these questions. He would not have given a coherent answer because his thinking on these issues has never been coherent. If he had to explain his position he, and the public, would recognize it was indefensible.
I offer the following scale of unethical banker behavior related to fraudulent mortgages and mortgage paper (principally collateralized debt obligations (CDOs)) that is illegal and deserved punishment. I write to prompt the rigorous analytical discussion that is essential to expose and end Obama and Bush’s “Presidential Amnesty for Contributors” (PAC) doctrine. The financial industry is the leading campaign contributor to both parties and those contributions come overwhelmingly from the wealthiest officers – the one-tenth of one percent that thrives by being parasites on the 99 percent.
I have explained at length in my blogs and articles why:
• Only fraudulent home lenders made liar’s loans
• Liar’s loans were endemically fraudulent
• Lenders and their agents put the lies in liar’s loans
• Appraisal fraud was endemic and led by lenders and their agents
• Liar’s loans could only be sold through fraudulent reps and warranties
• CDOs “backed” by liar’s loans were inherently fraudulent
• CDOs backed by liar’s loans could only be sold through fraudulent reps and warranties
• Liar’s loans hyper-inflated the bubble
• Liar’s loans became roughly one-third of mortgage originations by 2006
Each of these frauds is a conventional fraud that could be prosecuted under existing laws. Hundreds of lenders and over a hundred thousand loan brokers were “accounting control frauds” specializing largely in making fraudulent liar’s loans. My prior work explains control fraud, why accounting is the “weapon on choice” for fraudulent financial firms, and why liar’s loans were superior “ammunition” for committing massive accounting fraud. These accounting control frauds caused greater direct financial losses than any other crime epidemic in history. They also drove the financial crisis that produced the Great Recession and cost millions of Americans their jobs.
In considering my scale of unethical conduct it is important to keep in mind that it is highly likely that anyone that causes very large numbers of people to lose their homes will cause multiple suicides and indirect deaths that arise from the greater vulnerability of the homeless and the blue collar crime effects of destroying neighborhoods inherent to widespread foreclosures. I ignore for this purpose the fact that the fraudulent loans caused the bubble to hyper-inflate and drove the financial crisis that caused millions of people to lose their jobs. The financial accounting control frauds are the weapons of mass destruction of wealth, employment, and happiness. I also ignore the fact that the frauds described here made the perpetrators wealthy. My scale, therefore, systematically and dramatically understates the perpetrators’ moral turpitude. I have also excluded the massive foreclosure frauds from my scale because they did not cause the underlying crisis. When Obama reveals the bankers actions he claims to be legal but highly unethical readers should keep my conscious understatement of the moral depravity of the illegal acts by bankers that drove this crisis in mind when they compare the relative ethical failings.
As a criminologist, I do not favor sentencing criminals to the fates they richly deserve. I would never torture prisoners or place them at risk of assault, rape, or psychological trauma. I do not believe that extremely longer terms of imprisonment are desirable except in rare circumstances. As a lawyer and a criminologist I emphasize that any sentence should come only after a conviction in a trial providing due process protections or a guilty plea. My scale provides a label for the comparative moral depravity of the perpetrator, the deserved punishment (which when vicious is not the far more humane one I would actually impose), and a brief description of the specific frauds that are characteristic of this level of immorality and the number of perpetrators falling in each category. My inspiration was Dante’s circles of hell as described in his Divine Comedy.
The Scale of Ethical Depravity by the Frauds that Drove the Ongoing Crisis
Level 10: Septic tank scum
Eternal Hell: these banksters deserve a physical hell of infinite torment and duration
Officers that directed control frauds that involved making predatory loans to more than 10,000 homeowners who lost their homes as the result of the frauds. Predatory loans in this context mean deliberately seeking out the elderly or minorities for such loans because they were easier to con into taking loans they could not repay – at a premium yield (interest rate). Dozens of CEOs fall in this category.
Level 9: Pond scum
Time in Hell: These banksters deserve a term in hell
Officers that directed control frauds that led to more than 10,000 homeowners losing their homes. Hundreds of CEOs fall in this category.
Level 8: Generic scum
Gitmo: Hell’s starkest suburb
Officers that directed control frauds that led to more than 1,000 homeowners losing their homes. Thousands of CEOs fall in this category.
Level 7: Dante’s deserved denizens
Supermax: No view, and no way out
The professionals that aided and abetted the overall control frauds by inflating appraisals, giving “clean” audit opinions to fraudulent financial statements, “AAA” ratings to toxic waste, and accommodating legal opinions to the frauds. Thousands of professionals fall in this category.
Level 6: Aspiring to great wealth through fraud
Alcatraz: Great view, but no way out
The senior lieutenants of the control frauds who committed the frauds that caused more than 10,000 homeowners to lose their homes. Thousands of senior officers fall in this category.
Level 5: A large cog in a smaller fraud
Generic Hardcore Prison: A life of boredom and the almost total loss of freedom
The senior lieutenants of the control frauds who committed the frauds that caused more than 1,000 homeowners to lose their homes. Thousands of senior officers fall in this category.
Level 4: The banksters who cost us our money instead of our homes – Goldman Sachs & friends
Generic Prison: A life of boredom and a severe loss of freedom
The officers that led the control frauds who targeted their customers for the purchase of more than $10 million in fraudulent product. Dozens of officers fall in this category.
Level 3: The banksters’ senior lieutenants who cost us our money instead of our homes
Prisons designed for serious, but less physically dangerous felons
The senior officers of the control frauds who targeted their customers for the purchase of more than $10 million in fraudulent product. Scores of senior officers fall in this category.
Level 2: Banksters who defrauded other bankers (who were willing to be defrauded)
Privatized prisons: Let them enjoy the consequences of their odes to privatization
The largest control frauds sold tens of billions of dollars of fraudulent loans to each other through fraudulent “reps and warranties.” The kicker here, as Charles Calomiris has emphasized, is that the control frauds on both sides of the transactions knew that they were engaged in a mutual fraud. Hundreds of senior officers fall in this category.
Level 1: Small fraudulent fry
Catch and release: Convict them and put them on probation if they cooperate with the investigations
The small fry are the loan officers, loan broker employees, and borrowers who knowingly participated in making fraudulent mortgage loans. Over 100,000 individuals fall in this category.
We Need to End the PAC Doctrine
To date, Bush and Obama have prosecuted none of the mortgage frauds in the top nine levels. I urge reporters to ask him to explain three things about his statements to 60 Minutes.
• Why are there no prosecutions of the felons that drove the crisis and occupy the nine worst rungs of unethical and destructive acts?
• Explain the five unethical acts by elite financial institutions that you consider the most destructive and least ethical – but which you believe to be legal. How do you rank the degree of unethical conduct and destruction in those acts?
• What specific statutory provisions did you propose to make those five unethical acts illegal? As enacted, which provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act made those five unethical acts illegal? Who has been prosecuted for those formerly legal but seriously unethical and destructive acts that were made illegal by the Dodd-Frank Act?
Reporters will have to be persistent in coordinating their follow-up questions to get Obama to provide direct answers to these questions.
I request that private citizens write President Obama to ask him to provide specific, written answers to these three questions. I will be proposing a series of questions that I will urge citizens to demand answers to because it is clear that the regular media will rarely ask demanding questions of elite politicians or bankers. It is up to us to hold them accountable and end the doctrine of Presidential Amnesty for Contributors.
“transparency, oversight, accountability” for Wall $treet and Bush-Cheney crimes is what Americans thought they elected Obama to provide…
Obama has completely FAILED to do so…yet another bought and sold pol…the single largest political disappointment since RFK assassination led to Nixon………
of course Wikileaks shows Obama had deal with Bush-Cheney to NOT do oversight, accountability, transparency prior to taking office..
No accountability for election fraud, war fraud, or Wall $treet fraud…pathetic.
I agree, and I also lived through the assassinations: Obama has assassinated hope for change, disgraced his race, in exchange for money and power: which firm will his girls intern with? I am done listening to anything he says and never did believe it: many saw his positions as the same as Bush. Also agree you might as well ask the Pope to resign. We have 507,000 signatures to recall Walker, and that is where I think we all have to focus, the local level, states and civil rights/voters’ rights, “consumer protection,” is perhaps what we are reduced to in a larger sense. We do the credit union, local food, cheer for the public-owned Packers, take back the WI Idea, or we’ll freeze trying, but we have brandy. Badger vs. Weasel, People vs. Kochporations. We are awake. The state AJ need to do their jobs, since Holder is another Uncle Tom.
Good luck with the recall. A lot of us in the rest of the country are rooting for you.
If there is a website for the recall effort that either has a link for accepting donations or an address to mail checks to please post the link. I’d like to help.
There’s a link for contributions at the bottom of this story by Daily Kos editor Chris Bowers’ story “Scott Walker raises $5.1 million to defeat recall, considers cutting cancer screenings for women”
‘”transparency, oversight, accountability” for Wall $treet and Bush-Cheney crimes is what Americans thought they elected Obama to provide…’
“Some Americans” perhaps?
Granted, many thought this, but they were mistaken. I would suggest that astute political observers should have realized that this was never going to happen. Sure it’s disappointing but should this have been unexpected?
While Obama is a great orator, he would not be able to pull the wool over so many’s eyes if not for a pliant media. Dr. Black is obtusely pointing this out. These questions will NOT be asked. They are quite aggressive. They go directly at administration policies and actions, not something he could lay-off on others. I cannot offer an answer, other than to make one clear statement. Given the domination of media by a handful of self-interested (as opposed to public interested) corporations, it is imperative that the internet remain free and open. Answer me this: Bill Black is an experienced white collar crime investigator. He understand forensic accounting. Why hasn’t 60 Minutes interviewed him on prime time? Yes, Obama is not blame free, but the larger failure lies with the media which long ago gave up any semblance of serving the public interest. Today, the major media are the Ministry of Propaganda.
I miss Bill Moyers.
I miss him too. Where have all the good muckrakers gone?
Please, stop with this “Obama is a great orator” nonsense. The man is a walking cliche and sounds like the hack-he-is every time he opens his mouth.
Not great at anything, other than stoogery, of course.
A couple of Hell jokes:
#1. A banker dies and goes to Hell. Satan meets him and gives him a tour of the place. They come across a bunch of people standing knee-deep in manure. Says the banker to Satan: “This is Hell? This doesn’t seem so bad.” Says Satan, to the others: “Okay everybody, coffee-break’s over. Stand on your heads.”
#2. A banker dies and goes to Hell. Satan meets him and gives him a tour of the place. They come across a 90-year-old man making love to a 20-year-old woman. Says the banker to Satan: “Wow, THIS is Hell? Looks great to me.”. Says Satan to the banker: “This is the women’s section.”
#3 A banker dies and goes to Hell. Satan meets him and gives him the grand tour. On the way down Good Intentions Way they pass a Damned Salesman with a sign offering “Own Your Own Piece of Heaven!” “What?” remarks the banker to his host, “Down here in Hell?” “I tell you, good guest,” the Infernal Prince replies, “he is one of our best aquisitions. Don’t you agree?”
What is left but soul-wrenching social polarization between the creditors and debtors? Nothing (no pol, nobody) fills in the gap. Riots await.
Nothing (no pol, nobody) fills in the gap. Bernard Hankypank
Steve Keen has advocated a universal bailout that would fix everyone from the bottom up with an equal amount going to savers.
It’s only money folks. And money is mostly bookkeeping entries. Let’s not imagine this problem requires much else.
Last time we were stupid enough to require a World War to get the economy going again.
Exactly right! Authorities should distribute buttons bearing the message It’s Only F**king Money. My character Warren Wisebird (guess who he is modeled after) offered these buttons in his capacity as Assistant Secretary of The Treasury For One Day in my book on the crash, finished on election day 2008 (before the final swoon actually happened but remarkably prescient about the political and economic consequences, since these were obvious even then)
IOFMpublishing is not titled accidentally.
F. Beard, can you recommend a concise paper on the competing currency ideas you’ve been mentioning on this blog (for awhile)? I assume from your posts that it will not necessarily be the libertarian “competition is always the best” argument, but something else. Thanks in advance.
can you recommend a concise paper on the competing currency ideas you’ve been mentioning on this blog (for awhile)? Dirk77
I did a quick Google and unfortunately most of the hits were for PM based currencies. But here’s F. A. Hayek’s idea of private fiat: http://mises.org/daily/1854. Mansoor H. Khan or EconCXX may have other suggestions.
My own approach to private currencies is not to attempt to define what they (BitCoins, PMs, common stock, store coupons, etc.) but to advocate the abolition of any privileges for government fiat that gives it an advantage for the payment of private debts. For example, capital gains in the US are measured relative to Federal Reserve Notes. So any reduction in the purchasing power of FRNs would register as a phony capital gain in private currencies.
“Mansoor H. Khan or EconCXX may have other suggestions.”
My knowledge of competing currencies is from mises.org and F. Beard’s comments on NC.
I also frequent http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/ and find very high quality forum discussions on the monetary system.
Also, in my experience mainstream economics discussion web sites are useless. I always come away with the notion that:
“if these guys ever had to get a real job they would starve”
Mansoor H. Khan
Thanks both of you.
>Mansoor H. Khan or EconCXX may have other suggestions.
Thanks for the name check. I’d start with Thomas H. Greco’s site, the Library page:
FB, you’ll want to read the first part of Greco’s “Money and Debt” on that page to see how far along he was in 1990.
(My own proposal-in-the-making is at ServiceBackedMoney.com .)
Thanks for the Greco link. It looks interesting.
What is Needed to Solve the Problem?
The denationalization of money, the separation of money and state is urgently needed. Thomas H. Greco, jr.
Oops! Mr Greco has this wrong. Government is the ONLY ethical source for government money and it should be inexpensive fiat. However, government money should only be legal tender for government debts, not private ones. And this is not my idea; it comes from Matthew 22:16-22 (“Render to Caesar …”).
Haven’t people read the Bible?
F.Beard: It would serve the overall persuasiveness of your arguments were you not to assume that everyone shares your beliefs about the relevance or authoritativeness of the Bible.
There are no arrests or convictions because our “democratic” system is a farce. These people run the country; they are above the law. You might as well ask the Pope to resign because you don’t believe in god.
Do not discount the “race to the bottom” – if liar loans are prevalent, then the only way a would-be homedebtor can qualify for a loan is to take out a liar loan.
The same can be said for other “exotic loan products.” If every other homedebtor is financing using an interest-only option ARM, the only way to compete with that kind of leverage is to do the same. Either that or keep renting and hear your spouse complain.
I guess the other option is to be a hedge-fund manager or infestment banker.
Why am I feeling like we have entered some alternate universe? I just read that Japan is saying that Fukushima is in cold shutdown and all the MSM’s have simultaneously stopped reporting on it.
And here we have Professor Black reporting the clear abrogation of rule of law by thousands that will never be prosecuted.
I think now all it takes is for “them” to shut down the internet, all counter reality will stop and the world will continue to spin ONLY according to the puppet masters, by the puppet masters and for the puppet masters.
Totally surreal. It would be hard to believe that they can make shit like this up if we were not watching it happen with our own eyes.
What does come next?
Can we start laughing at this all now? What a farce this world has become.
MSM should be asking the hard questions. As the free and independent 4th estate these guys ought to be asking the hard questions and the hard follow up questions – they never do.
If there is a circle of hell for crooked bankers there ought to be a special place for lazy, incompetent, captured media.
Yes, the sixth level will do nicely. It would be an appropriate inverse to their current existence; seeing wrong, but not engaging it for the good of society.
Addition to Level 7 “Supermax”:
The Judge who ruled “Freedom of Speech” for the rating agencies Triple AAA on toxic waste. The Judge belongs on Level 7 also.
I didn’t see or hear this interview so I don’t know the context for the quote in the post, but taken by itself, it strikes me as both weak and damning. The relationship between law and ethics has always been complex. Your average four-year old can see that very clearly. It takes an adult to willingly blind him or herself to that truth in order to make a self-exonerating statement implying his or her hands are tied because what that bad person or persons did wasn’t actually illegal, even though it was really really bad. So bad that he feels your pain, but not bad enough to stop the cause of it, it seems.
It’s the fecklessness of this kind of statement that makes me cringe at the thought of another four years of Obama.
Pursuant to this, I was actually amazed that the residents of NYC did not approach Mr. Madoff’s building (where he had a penthouse apt) with pitchforks and torches (or some rough equivalent). I realize that Madoff did not ’cause’ the meltdown, but he certainly made a good poster boy for it. Why were the residents of NYC, which was severely hurt given all the lay-offs and tax revenue losses, willing to let such creeps continue to live in luxury? What happened to the American spirit? In bygone years, Madoff would have been tarred and feathered–if he was lucky.
Madoff only stole from obnoxious magical-thinking rich people for the most part although some smaller nonprofits also lost their endowments with him. But you forget that most New Yorkers feed from this trough (Wall St.)
Evidently, those populating Black’s pseudo hells (or awaiting actual ones) enjoy only escalating (material) “heavenly” rewards on our earth.
That leaves the truly suffering victims in an actual hell here on earth, with the stable passive observers all around in a demi-hell of sorts.
It is a truly diabolical scene because of the inversion of the logic of normative ethics: reaping reward for harming others!
Those refusing to look at this dynamic, distract themselves into believing that these monstrous, vicious “virtuous” will somehow care to save them! Is Obama looking yet?
Thanks, Professor Black!
Bill Black is an Man of Honor. Yves Smith is a Woman of Honor. They are both on my list of the humans we can trust; humans that have retained their HONOR.
I like it. I’ve been using the words sane and insane to describe the American divide, but that’s not right, because to call someone insane is to give them an excuse.
No, it’s not about sanity, it’s about honor. It’s not about the sane vs the insane, it’s the about the Honorable vs the Debased — or, the good people of this country vs the Beltway/Wall Street Fascists and Whores.*
*Plus their confederates, minions, and collaborators.
Rather than insane, wouldn’t devious be a better adjective. I happen to believe that the banksters are doing precisely what they have always wanted to do. Why else would they be the major contributors to both parties and to both candidates for each presidential election?
Yes. The mentally ill must work relentlessly to keep their brains from going awry. That is a completely different proposition than the job all humans have, to work for the good of all. As with all humans, among those who are “insane”, some have good hearts and some have rotten hearts.
The people about whom Black talks have no battle keeping their brains functional, and they have long ago given themselves over to various forms of corruption. The only respect they maintain is self-respect and you are right that it contains no honor. As old-fashioned as it sounds.
Below comment meant for Max424
Bankster Hell Circle 105, the Liquid Lunch bowahahahahaha
We crossed the circle to the other bank,
Near a fountain that boils and pours itself
into a gully that runs away from it.
The water there seemed more like flowing steel;
And we, in company with the doleful flow,
Made our way downward by its crooked path.
It made a marsh which took the name of Stynx,
and gave a smell that made my stomach wrench
as if an unflushed toilet were a meal
And I stood there stunned upon beholding,
People wrestling mud-caked in that lagoon,
All naked and with angry looks and screams.
They beat each other not alone with hands,
But with their heads and chests and arms and feet,
Tearing each other piecemeal with their teeth.
As I watched horrified, my Guide said “Son
These souls made false liqudity of cash
caring not how it flowed or who it drowned.
Under the surface there are more who cry
And make the bubbles boiling everywhere,
As you can see whichever way you look.”
Fixed forever in that stagnant stench they cried,
“Above we held ourselves blameless and fair
but bore within our souls this pungent reek;
And now we live the truth that lit our way.”
These words did they keep gurgling in their throats,
For with unbroken voice they could not speak.
Then we went circling round that filthy swamp
A great arc between dry bank and mire,
With eyes turned ‘way from that revolting scene;
Brilliant. John Ciardi could do no better.
I admire Mr. Black’s analysis of the various kinds of fraud, but by his use of eternal punishment for these people he has become as crazy as the religionists. Excuse my literalism in this case and I suspect that he is indulging in hyperbole and is engaging in a bit of a rant, but nonetheless no one deserves eternal damnation for anything done on earth in our unquantifiably tiny span of years compared to an eternity of pain.
McT, I think you forgive too easily.
Real justice is experiencing the pain inflicted by oneself on others and suffering for an equivalent timeframe. Isn’t going to happen on this earth. If you see any sort of justice on this earth, count yourself lucky.
Over 3 years have passed since the world economy came crashing down. Millions upon millions of lives have been changed forever as a result of this event. The social chaos and deprivation wrought upon the many, by the few (the 99% by the 1%) is immeasurable, as Dr. Black points out. We may never know exactly how many lives have been touched by the catastrophe, but as a ballpark figure – I would say the repercussions have affected just about everyone on the planet, and the lives of future generations as yet unborn.
For many years Dr. Black has been a consistent voice of reason, attempting to educate the public about the transgressions of the banksters and their cohorts. As yet no one has been held accountable for these crimes against humanity.
For those of us that have followed the fallout, it has been frustrating, infuriating and entirely exasperating.
In the words of the inimitable Howard Beale, “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY LONGER”.
The way I see it, this was Dr. Black’s ‘Howard Beale’ moment, and I support him 100%.
Hyperbole? Personally, I thought the sentences were a little light.
I appreciate your humanity, McT, but I think what you mayhap miss is that the perps themselves are also thorough-going materialists.
They’ve given over any chances they’ve had in their lives of being able to empathize and will see such behavior as weakness only. This they have all proven again and again in the past forty years.
Redemption may have been possible, once. But they have driven so hard the materialist concept into the brains and hearts of those they rule that the vast majority no longer hold any value in compassion or empathy.
Why should the criminal minds expect any for themselves.
And I believe Mr. Black suggested that some of his more exotic punishments should not be taken literally.
“But they have driven so hard the materialist concept into the brains and hearts of those they rule that the vast majority no longer hold any value in compassion or empathy.”
So again I ask: Is it possible for the masses to pierce the matrix?
All major religions of the world say, yes, not only it is possible but inevitable.
Now all we need is our Neo’s and Trinity’s to go into action.
mansoor h. khan
Neat idea, Mansoor.
But this girl is way too old to be trying to find a Neo at this point. Just call me “the oracle.” LOL
I believe America is the Neo and will end up ultimately fixing this thousand of year of “banking problem” and will be honored for a long time for doing so (inshallah).
mansoor h. khan
One can be a materialist and a hedonist and an atheist and still cultivate the ethic and indeed a rationality of self-interest around the practice of avoiding harm to others.
This behavior is pure (ignorant) selfishness taken to a pathological state akin to the self-pleasuring sadism of pedophiles and rapists.
“Of every mailce that gains hatred in Heaven the end is injustice; and every such end, either by force or by fraud, afflicts another. But because fraud is an evil peculiar to man, it more displeases God, and therefore the fradulent are lower, and more pain assails them.” Dante Alighieri, The Inferno, Canto XI.
Obama is a fraud.
The National Democratic Party is a fraud.
De-elect the president and his Congressional concubines.
Vote for JUSTICE – vote for Rocky Anderson.
A.B.O. – anyone but Obama.
I really hate to say it, because I’ve been pissed at Obama since the day he appointed Geithner and Summers.
But what happens if Newt (Mr. “courts have gotten too powerful and need to be reigned in” – of course this means liberal judges, not those that declare corporations to be persons or appoint presidents; and while we’re at it let’s lower tax on the 1% and reduce or eliminate capital gains tax to nothing) Gingrich, or Mitt (today’s opinion is that yes, corporations are people. Except the unneeded ones who work for them who we can lay off) Romney becomes President?
Vote for a third party, and whomever they draw most votes from loses by default.
Sophie’s choice indeed.
The only chance I see is to keep the pressure on such state attorney generals as CA, MA, and NV who are actually doing something (funny that these three with the most courage are all women, not to mention Elizabeth Warren and her role) to follow through, and shine the light while they bust some perps. Maybe they can teach Obama the difference between unethical and illegal.
Even Occupy seems to be losing steam, closing ports instead of figuring out how to effect change (ok, I don’t have that figured out either).
Will it, as usual, take another actual crisis of highly destructive magnitude for any real populist revolt to occur, that’s not bloody and vicious?
Please keep the information out there, Bill Black, the public must not forget or be distracted until finally some breakthrough occurs.
No! Vote now, forever, and always for exactly whomever you would like to see as President. That will make YOUR vote, YOUR wishes known. Doing so perhaps will end up getting Gingrich/Romney elected, but will also deny them a mandate. IOW, there will be a large percentage who, it is KNOWN, do not want them as President, and do not agree with their platform. And the damage will not be that great because, as we all seem to agree here, there is no particular difference between the Powers-vetted candidates of either of the parties.
Then we all have to stay informed AND active between-times.
There’s a reason there is a “two party system.” That’s because people only ever take the time to build two and are just too damned lazy to do the heavy lifting required to make another two or three viable political parties in USA.
“too damned lazy to do the heavy lifting”
In one of NC posts about a week ago someone stated something like “research shows all our thought processes are binary”.
This makes so much sense to me. We do think in terms of dualities and dichotomies so much.
Maybe because it is just easier for our brains to handle.
I suspected the reason we that is so is because:
Reality has two parts:
mansoor h. khan
Having more than 2 parties, like Italy has 20 something parties, would certainly cost the banksters big bucks in contributions ( bribes) and dilute their power.
“De-elect the president…”
It will be interesting to hear what the “O” will say on his “trust me again” campaign trail this up coming season. Considering his last performance, it’s going to be hard to top.
I’m done with Democrats. I’m voting for Ron Paul.
December 16, 2011 at 8:44 am
I’m done with Democrats. I’m voting for Ron Paul.”
That’s like saying, “I’m done with depending on dirty coal-powered energy; it’s clean nuclear energy for me from now on!” or, even better, “This Russian Roulette stuff is dangerous! From now on, I’m using two revolvers instead of just one. That way my odds are one in twelve, not one in six.”
Ridiculous. Ron Paul is no less a dangerous idiot than are the majority of the DLC Democrats.
Voting for Ron Paul is not an improvement over not voting at all. Besides, if you want a protest vote, there are bound to be others, better than Paul. Why not write in a alternative instead of Paul?
Can this nation be saved from itself? It seems that it cannot.
I’ll vote for Ron Paul! He’s the only one not bought and paid for. Simple as that. Go look at the Reuters page. http://www.reuters.com/people/ron-paul
His top Contributor industry is “Other” meaning people like you and I, followed by misc. business, then single issue contributors. A distant forth is the FIRE industry.
I know everybody here hates libertarianism (I certainly hate the extreme version), but he does at least still believe in having a government based on our current constitution.
America’s first priority at this time should be to eliminate the fraud our country has become known for. That is going to take at least 4 years right? Vote in a socialist later once order is restored. For now Ron Paul is the correct option, since the establishment won’t/can’t buy him off.
As they say in Texas: “all hat, no cattle”
I doubt I would want him in lieu of Obama, but I would love to see him win the GOP ticket. I don’t see it happening however.
In my fantasy world Paul + Bernie Sanders would run jointly and let a referendum/run-off vote choose who gets top dog spot and #2.
But we know OBama is a pinocchio dancing to whomever commandeers the control strings (we know who that is). Thus I agree with the earlier statement that we need to rebuild from the ground up locally, state, congress & senate. It allows people to hope for the best and plan for the worst (rather than doping up on more hopium)
I will vote for Paul if he is on the ballot, simply because he is the least distasteful candidate.
He of course will not be able to implement his most radical ideas, and the Congress will be locked up for 4 years with Paul and Congress fighting with each other (so how is that different from today?).
Think systems theory: When one element in the system changes, the whole system if forced to change.
We haven’t had a President in the past 40 years or so not beholden to big corporate interests (~since Carter).
It’s time for another experiment. What can we lose ?
The traditional parties have gone to such an extreme anti-Constitutionally, we need an extremist on the other side to make corrections.
BTW, I am a lifelong Dem, who voted for and financially supported Obama, with monthly contributions during the whole year of ’08 (even on my very modest retiree pension), and am having the worst buyer’s remorse ever.
I had a younger brother who loved to parse words when he was in hot water with Mom. After I watched Obama’s response (some of the least ethical behavior on Wall Street, wasn’t illegal) I was yelling at the teevee machine, “if SOME were NOT illegal, then SOME were. Has your Justice Department taken a look at the “other” SOME?”
Spot on Melody!!
EXACTLY, Melody. A good interviewer would have followed up with that exact question.
The overqualifications in Obama’s statement are really striking. I mean sure, there is always *some* bad behavior which is not illegal. That means we’re not going to prosecute anything?
Some of the “least ethical” behavior on Wall Street wasn’t “illegal.”
Well, of course not! When the craziest inmates are furiously shoveling money at our illustrious “lawmakers”, guess who gets to decide what is ‘illegal?”
Rob a 7/11 and you get sent to a private prison. Strip thousands of gullible citizens of their assets and you get a million dollar bonus.
William K. Black is my hero. There is no more informed or accurate voice. He is changing the conversation and elevating the level of understanding of those who listen. That number continues to rise.
I’m trying to do that on a micro scale, and in the spirit of his comments relating to fraud – If you look for fraud you find it everywhere.
I took my own foreclosure case involving Deutsche Bank to the court of appeals and WON. I am very familiar with the numerous types of fraud involved (fraud in origination, servicing related fraud, manufactured foreclosures, fraud on the courts, document fraud, perjury, securitization failure and fraud, etc.), as well the inaccuracies and untruths foreclosing Plaintiff’s present in courts across the country.
After four (4) years of deep research, and self represented litigation, I am now associated with a licensed Investigative Agency specializing in mortgage fraud (the MANY different types). We “drill baby drill” deep into numerous proprietary data bases and find the facts!! Facts that Plaintiff is often trying to conceal. Knowing the facts in your case, AND being able to prove them, is a very powerful position to be in. I can help you uncover and identify these facts. If you, or someone you know, has been victimized by mortgage fraud of any type I implore you to contact me, Glenn Augenstein, at Glenn.firstname.lastname@example.org. Initial consultations are free.
Sir, what I want to know, and what never is made clear to me in these rants by Bill Black and others, because they’re so fevered and colorful, is do people know of actual legal fraud committed, that is actual violations of actual statutes against fraud. They always rant about the people hurt and the levels of hell they would put the perpetrators at if they could, but never speak dispassionately of actual, specific laws that were broken. I never can glean clearly if they distinguish between pointing out bad people and actual law breaking. I assume from how you describe yourself that you know what there is, so I’m asking you.
At the beginning of this post Bill points you to his blog for more details on just what you are asking for. Go read his blog and then come back if you still have questions. However, wanting to know the particular statutes is probably useful if you are going to sue, but I assume you’re not trying to claim that fraud is sometimes legal. Fraud is illegal. If I sell you something I don’t own and you pay me for it, that is fraud. If I sell you something that I promise is working and in good condition and its a hunk of broken junk that is also fraud. If I sell you something that is rated AAA when I know its honest rating would be junk that is also fraud. Knowing the numbers and sections of the fraud statutes is really secondary to the knowledge that fraud was clearly committed.
Thanks, man. I’ll go look at his blog. I need to find out what some of the actual PROVABLE fraud was that was committed that the JD needs to be going after. Really I just need to know that we’re not mixing up fraud with stuff that should be or used to be legally defined as fraud, but isn’t now, which I think is what Obama’s trying to suggest. I need to look a little at more details, IOW.
Not that I condone prison rape, but:
“You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street,” says a former congressional aide. “That’s all it would take. Just once.”
Former Congressional aide to Matt Taibbi
Link to the Taibbi story:
Breaking News, Some Execs being charged:
The Securities & Exchange Commission charged six former executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with securities fraud Friday, in civil charges filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
According to the SEC, Fannie and Freddie’s executives “knew and approved of misleading statements claiming the companies had minimal holdings of higher-risk mortgage loans, including subprime loans.”
Thanks for the link. It looks encouraging, but alas, the toothless SEC is long infamous for its token, cost-of-business, wrist-slap fines. Though here the SEC trumpets disgorgement with interest and banning from public-company leadership, there are no criminal charges or prison risk and the disgorgement itself will surely be only for specific, limited events, not a stripping of all assets as it should be. This is almost certainly eye-wash for public consumption prompted by OWS and election-eve politics.
Conversely the burden of proof is a lot less (preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt) Given that we have dedicated Justice to the war on terror there is little time for anything else there (The SEC can’t bring criminal cases also). So unless (good luck) you can manage to get financial crimes included in the war on terror you won’t see the top guys brought in because the effort required is not included in the budgets of the DOJ.
Agreed, the SEC does not have the authority to bring criminal charges. The DOJ would have to file a parallel suit. Good luck with that, given Holder’s historical stance on prosecutions of financial crimes. One can only hope that any fines are levied against the execs themselves and not the GSE’s, as the taxpayers now own the GSE’s.
What is a point of interest, and perhaps coincidental, perhaps not, is the announcement of the suit after the last GOP debate, given the focus of Gingrich’s acceptance of $1.6M in fees from Fannie and Freddie. The suits, one would think, couldn’t help but add additional ammunition for attacks on Gingrich being a Washington lobbyist.
they’ve already said…..no jail time, only fines.
Why not write up a short petition and post it here:
Surely we could get an embarrassingly large number of signatures on that as a way to raise visibility.
do it! do it! do it!!
The White House petition site is fascinating. Far to the “left” of the legacy parties!
and both petitions i signed (for bradley manning & for leonard peltier) garnered responses to the effect they had no control over those situations.
I created at petition on the White House site when it first started. Unfortunately I failed to keep an exact copy of it on my computer, but it went something like:
“Immediately appoint Dr. William K Black, UofMo economics professor as a Special Prosecuter to investigate and prosecute the instances of control fraud responsible for the current economic crisis.”
The first thing that happened (after only 7 signatures) is that the petition failed it appear in the normal listing of existing petitions, meaning only I could access it. Consequently, it never received more than 7 signatures, and now has been removed because it did not get enough signatures !
I gave up hope on the site after that.
Hello Yves. (i posted this in response to the Hyp/re-hyp article you posted yesterday…)
I used to write for the RGE, and I believe we have conversed on a few occasions back then??? (I’m pretty confident that London Banker, whom I’m pretty sure you converse with, can vouch for me.)
Anyhow, with regards to this article, there are some things I’d like to point out. (as a 15year banking operations person)
This based on the Richard Smith stuff (so if you are using him as your reference…. ugh)
When the client brings $200 million to the bank, you take it to a custodial bank. (not the Lehman-ish side) The repo is done between the custodian and the prime broker. (in most cases, it’s your MF, PF, 401k, whom are the actual client, thus the most common repo’s are “Tri-party Repos” = Client/custodian/broker)
The Lehman-ish side is always working short cash, which is why they always need funding for their days trading.
So with the massive pools of money that the custodians are sitting with (because these client side operations need to have XXXX amount liquid due to fund requirements, and the net subs/redm which has been for sooooooo long been typically a huge daily inflow (subs) due to the ponzinomics of perma-growth / 401k/MF/PF inflow) that money needs a home for the nightly basis.
So this repo is an “OVERNIGHT” cash loan.
Here’s is where there is a HUUUUUUUGE divergence on understanding. Where a cash “deposit” in the fractional reserve world of banking has a multiplier effect, (10% fraxRes of typical US bank, where $1 = $10 as the article mentions) this overnight loan does not have the same ability to go back and forth to create the multiplier. Instead it’s just covering the short cash position that the broker has from the day’s trading.
On the collateral side, The same is 100% true.
The multiplier doesn’t have the time to multiply due to the duration of the trade. The collateral (which is tracked by the custodians through products like Repoedge) are very specifically assigned. (the banks, BNY, JPM, State Street whom are probably about +90% of this track this since it’s their livelihood)
***term repo’s could give the “time” needed for multipliers to take effect, but it’s just not the case.***
OK, so that collateral, (which I want to say is “valued that night” @ 102-105% of the loan, so no one is holding crashing assets) gets hyp/re-hyped on the “off the books” side, since it’s not being used back and forth to create a fraxRes multiplier.
Typically, the collat is being used to back the CDS side of the days “net” moves. (now Bear Stearns whom was a “bad boy” I suspect was doing this up to 130-150% of the CDS net… which is an enormously SMALL multiplier.)
So, as I see it, this isn’t a big banking issue.
What it comes down to is this… Any broker, whom is always working with a negative figure, whom gets their daily funding pulled, will come instantly crashing down. That repo cash (nightly investment funding) can sometimes “freeze” because the collateral side has a scare. (The scare could be a: whole market scare, or the Broker doesn’t have good collateral which was the case in Lehman.)
Simply put, this will force the broker to sell as many assets as needed to then cover their cash needs. (…and the cannibals in this industry INSTANTLY figure out whom is going to get eaten, so the entire market swirls in those moments as the forced liquidation has to sell into the falling knife market)
…and on the collateral side, the custodians grab hold of all those pieces of collateral, and sell them off (in that same falling knife market) to get as much of their cash back for the redemption of the repo funding they lent out.
Thus, when the liquidation hits, (lehman/MFGlobal) the cash that goes out to cover that days operations, the lost assets sold in the falling market, the lost collateral sold in the falling market, leads to an evaporated bank account.
The issue here with MFG is about commingling, not the banking process.
Too many people hera this “new term” hyp/re-hyp, and are afraid of it (so it has to be “bad”) …but it’s just a working mechanism of the market that needs to be better regulated. (and I hate being such a “regulation” nut)
All the best, Rich H / Miss America
Obama’s is a concerted pre-meditated effort to foster the dark age of humanity so many of the elite are pushing for.
Just as when he stated, publically, vociferously, and in timely fashion, that WE CAN’T PREDICT EARTHQUAKEs [so we’ll just have to live with the dire consequences of destruction], and that a publically-funded space program is without public benefit, and so on and on and on.
Pretty sick all around. The purpose of these statements is not to placate, or corner/expose the right – these are the policies and beliefs of his benefactors and of the Queen’s-ass-kising narcissist-in-chief himself.
Obama speaks of the middle class as some nuissance that he must address but only to further his aims; his target audiences are the un-informed and the informed-elite.
“I can tell you, just from 40,000 feet, that some of the most damaging behavior on Wall Street, in some cases, some of the least ethical behavior on Wall Street, wasn’t illegal.” –Obama
It’s actually more like 224,395 feet that felt the most damaging behavior from Wall Street during the month of November alone. Millions upon millions asset stripped, jobless, and tossed to the curb in what can only be described as a reign of terror.
Be forewarned that these acts won’t go unpunished. Sooner than later, the gated communities will prove just as impossible to defend as the fraudulent lawsuits these banksters have been filing and winning across the land. It won’t be pretty, just necessary.
Yves, no doubt you have many attorneys who contribute to your site. Maybe you could get one of them (Anonymous Jones, perhaps) to actually provide a little depth to this issue. [The Bill Black content is typically shallow.]
Take his assertion that “Appraisal fraud was endemic and led by lenders and their agents”….
OK. This is an obvious, thought-terminating statement that stands on it’s own…
But is it really that simple?
Think about the underlying purpose of The Appraisal.
The Appraisal, as commissioned throughout the Crisis, was for the lender (only) to ensure that the value of the property (ie collateral) is legit.
Appraisal fraud also typically occurs in collusion with the Borrower…and it typically occurs when the appraiser defrauds the lender by overstating the property’s value, so that a larger loan might be obtained.
Also, it’s important to note that during the crisis, appraisers typically did not have a fiduciary duty to the homeowner. [The appraisal laws may have changed since then.]
Finally, appraisers typically justified the appraised value by the Sales Comparison Approach, rather than the Cost Approach. [Thus, appraised values were obtained by comparing the subject property to the Sales of other properties, rather than tallying up the cost for bricks, plumbing, electrical, etc.]
So…with these facts in mind, who got defrauded by the appraiser?
Not the homeowner. The appraiser’s duty was to the Lender.
So, did the Lender get defrauded? Obviously not. As Black stated: “The Lender led the appraisal fraud”…so the lender cannot defraud itself.
And what of the Sorites-like situation with appraisal valuation?
Every appraiser has some acceptable range to state value. How do you prosecute a situation where, prior to our appraisal, every previous appraiser valuing the comparable properties went to the highest possible value that was still within the acceptable range?
After several appraisals in the neighborhood, values will be inflated. But just as it’s difficult to state when a heap becomes a mound (as in the Sorites Paradox), it’s also difficult to say when, exactly, fraud occurred for the purposes of prosecution.
Additionally, how do you address the multitude of situations where a particular appraiser simply relied on other comparable properties–as he was commissioned to do(!)–and it’s the other properties that were fraudulently inflated?
Those other inflated appraisals jacked up his particular appraisal. There was fraud. But not against our particular appraiser that Black says is so obviously worthy of prosecution.
I’m not saying fraud didn’t occur. And yes, there are obviously examples of egregious behavior and premeditated collusion. But that’s not what Black is referring to here. He’s talking about endemic fraud.
These issues just don’t seem that simple. But they are important. Unfortunately, Bill Black is not up to the task. Sorry, but he isn’t. Black simply panders.
Please, get Anonymous Jones, or some other “real-world” attorney to address these issue in a more thoughtful manner.
Oh, good – I’m not the only one who thought it strange to include appraisers. Did their role exceed answering the question “What is the market price of this property?” I think they try to be conservative about the value when appraising for financing (versus appraising for the purpose of an offering price or insurance value).
Yes, the process could not proceed without appraisers. Also needed are the escrow companies, real estate attorneys, title insurers, deed registrars and others who may not have been involved in (nor privy to) any fraudulent actions.
Giving Black the benefit of the doubt, I can see a situation where an appraiser could be part of a fraud, but only in a “recourse state” – where the lender can go after the homebuyer for any remaining debt, even after foreclosure. Such recourse laws seem to be an invitation to lenders to commit fraud.
Very nice synopsis of the taxonomy of guilt. A few months back with regard to another Dante allusion I posted this:
Right, because the .1% pay FICA too. Or something.
This one points more to the components of a working solution, (if one is indeed possible) since it discloses the complicity and codependency of everyone keeping the ‘auto-immune-disease’ systems alive (and standing in the way of opposing forces that would take them down/reform them.
Not that ALL complicit parties need synchronize to halt the lifeblood, but a certain critical mass of them.
“The one-tenth of one percent that thrives by being parasites on the 99 percent. ”
Social security 612$billions
others “social” programs(public school etc) 120$ billions
bailouts,subsidies etc less than 100$ billions
so Leftards,Who are the parasites????
Bank bailouts: $29 trillion (and counting)
Who are the parasites? Black identifies them in his post. Nice deflection, though.
Social security is paid for by the so-called parasites wage deduction and is not an entitlement.
right-wing economics= LOGIC&FACTS
Hayek,Mises,Rothbard,Bryan Caplan,Milton Friedman etc
left-wing economics(LOL OXYMORON)= EMOTIONS&FEELING “oooooooooooooh think about the poor”
You are a parody, right?
you are a idiot,leftard?LOL
He misspelled his screen name! LOL.
Whoever wrote the AynMisesLibertaran bot needs to work on the punctuation function.
“He misspelled his screen name! LOL.”
That was the best part!! Hahahahahahahahaha.
A very poor trolling effort. 0/10
You’ll have to do better than that if you want to earn cyberbucks from the Koch brothers.
Right wing economics = allow the rich who already own most, giving them a terrible advantage over the rest of us, to gain control over everything, making the rest of us, the huge bulk of the population, their slaves.
That “60 Minutes” charade was indeed conducted at 40,000 feet — just glittering generalities and nothing specific. I was starting to get taken in again by that smiling bastard, so I flipped the channel back to “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” on the old ’70s B-movie channel. It was actually more believable to watch a bunch of guys hijack the 6 train and notice the transit cops fail to seal off all the subway exits.
“disgraced his race”
that is a racist comment. blacks are not a monolith; neither are whites.
obama has been a trojan horse for the banks and more – the question now is will he throw the election to the republicans and that is part of his deal to go and become a chairman of a hedge fund and collect his deferred compensation of $50 million
did he get an agreement from the republicans to have a marginal republican candidate – like McCain last time – to appose him?
and will he use the next term to completely destroy SS?
he is a major liability
Either way they are going after Social Security and Medicare.
Next and in the pipeline already is women’s rights to prepare the home care staff for changing grandpa’s diapers. Which will work out since the unemployed kids will have no other means for housing, and, unable to pay their student loans, will have no social security of their own.
Buy that farmland now (far from fracked and tarred water supplies)!
This is Randy Wray’s argument why there is only one type of money not two, private and public:-
Any proposals for changing money issuage need to understand and answer his arguments first.
>>Any proposals for changing money issuage need to understand and answer his arguments first.<<
They need to? Better to say they'd hold greater sway with MMT fans if they would.
Schofield, would you say Wray is arguing for changes in the rules under which financial institutions create money? Or saying they don't create it? Or is he saying that, when enough of the loans through which they create it go bad, the Treasury or Fed, as monopoly issuer of the currency, can or should simply credit their accounts (or those of a receiver)?
I believe financial institutions in the aggregate create money more or less autonomously these days, "balancing" their creation on the books with the debt-signature of any plausible entity, then immediately putting the new money to work for their own account. Can't tell from the PDF whether Wray would disagree.
It's a good link to an interesting piece; but too nebulous a challenge to money reform.
What to me he seems to be pointing out is that if we started to regard money as being one single continuum we’d be able to tackle a thing like economic dysfunction better. So when you ask for example “is he saying that, when enough of the loans through which they create it go bad, the Treasury or Fed, as monopoly issuer of the currency, can or should simply credit their accounts (or those of a receiver)?” he’s pointing out that having a state owned monopoly of money is extremely useful in that money can be created and issued without liability (inflation monitoring assumed) to correct dysfunction in the economy such as widespread private banking fraud. Obviously he’s pointing out lots of other things not least the advantage of having coercive power lying behind your money creation abilities. Taxation or ability to reflux or drain money out of an economy being one. These arguments are, of course, making a mockery of the endless Libertarian and Neo-Liberal campaign to portray our economic problems as public money bad/private money good. He does though for me raise the question that there is a control issue as currently constituted with politicians and bankers (including shadow bankers) that needs resolving.
if we started to regard money as being one single continuum we’d be able to tackle a thing like economic dysfunction better. Schofield
Money creation is an art which is precisely why we need maximum liberty wrt to it.
Wray is beginning to sound like a fascist.
“if we started to regard money as being one single continuum we’d be able to tackle a thing like economic dysfunction better. Schofield
Money creation is an art which is precisely why we need maximum liberty wrt to it.
Wray is beginning to sound like a fascist.”
The issue is one of how you control discrimination in the use of money and this can only be achieved through democratic accountability. The last time I raised this issue of how you determine rights of discrimination with you I got no response. As to Wray being a Facist I think you’re Libertarian or “Sovereignatarian” arguments are more likely to lead to Fascism than Wrays as the recent series in NC highlighted. Indeed I think Wray would be most likely to ask you “What is this maximum liberty of yours you talk so glibly about? Would that be to blow toxic asset bubbles?
The last time I raised this issue of how you determine rights of discrimination with you I got no response. Schofield
I tried but my comments getting thru is hit and miss with both Firefox and Chrome.
As to Wray being a Facist I think you’re Libertarian or “Sovereignatarian” arguments are more likely to lead to Fascism than Wrays as the recent series in NC highlighted. Schofield
I fully support the right (and the necessity) for government to spend into existence its own inexpensive fiat. However, I see no need for the “stealth inflation tax” which drives many people crazy enough to long for a stupid gold standard.
Indeed I think Wray would be most likely to ask you “What is this maximum liberty. Schofield
Government fiat should not and need not be legal tender (in fact as well as law) for private debts.
Would that be to blow toxic asset bubbles? Schofield
It is a single, government enforced monopoly money supply for private debts that allows the bankers to do so much harm. Otherwise, banks would not be able to leverage (counterfeit) so much.