Bill Black: Now the Justice Department Admits They Got it Wrong

By 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. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives

By issuing its new memorandum the Justice Department is tacitly admitting that its experiment in refusing to prosecute the senior bankers that led the fraud epidemics that caused our economic crisis failed. The result was the death of accountability, of justice, and of deterrence. The result was a wave of recidivism in which elite bankers continued to defraud the public after promising to cease their crimes. The new Justice Department policy, correctly, restores the Department’s publicly stated policy in Spring 2009. Attorney General Holder and then U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch ignored that policy emphasizing the need to prosecute elite white-collar criminals and refused to prosecute the senior bankers who led the fraud epidemics.

It is now seven years after Lehman’s senior officers’ frauds destroyed it and triggered the financial crisis. The Bush and Obama administrations have not convicted a single senior bank officer for leading the fraud epidemics that triggered the crisis. The Department’s announced restoration of the rule of law for elite white-collar criminals, even if it becomes real, will come too late to prosecute the senior bankers for leading the fraud epidemics. The Justice Department has, effectively, let the statute of limitations run and allowed the most destructive white-collar criminal bankers in history to become wealthy through fraud with absolute impunity. This will go down as the Justice Department’s greatest strategic failure against elite white-collar crime.

The Obama administration and the Department have failed to take the most basic steps essential to prosecute elite bankers. They have not restored the “criminal referral coordinators” at the banking regulatory agencies and they have virtually ignored the whistleblowers who gave them cases against the top bankers on a platinum platter. The Department has not even trained its attorneys and the FBI to understand, detect, investigate, and prosecute the “accounting control frauds” that caused the financial crisis. The restoration of the rule of law that the new policy promises will not happen in more than a token number of cases against senior bankers until these basic steps are taken.

The Justice Department, through Chris Swecker, the FBI official in charge of the response to mortgage fraud, issued two public warnings in September 2004 — eleven years ago. First, there was an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud. Second it would cause a financial “crisis” if it were not stopped. The Department’s public position, for decades, was that the only way to stop serious white-collar crime was by prosecuting the elite officials who led those crimes. For eleven years, however, the Department failed to prosecute the senior bankers who led the fraud epidemic. The Department’s stated “new” position is its historic position that it has refused to implement. Words are cheap. The Department is 4,000 days late and $24.3 trillion short. Economists’ best estimate is that the financial crisis will cause that massive a loss in U.S. GDP — plus roughly 15 million jobs lost or not created.

Americans need to come together to demand that the Department act, not just talk, to restore the rule of law and prosecute the bankers that led the fraud epidemics that drove the financial crisis. There is very little time left to prosecute, so the effort must be vigorous and urgent and a top priority.

Here is an example, in the cartel context, of the Department’s long-standing position that deterrence of elite white-collar crimes requires the prosecution and incarceration of the businessmen that lead the crimes. It contains the classic quotation that the Department has long used to explain its position. Note that the public statement of this position was early in the Obama administration (April 3, 2009), but plainly was already long-standing. The Department’s official made these passages her first two paragraphs in order to emphasize the points – and the fact that deterrence through the criminal prosecution of elite white-collar criminals works.

It is well known that the Antitrust Division has long ranked anti-cartel enforcement as its top priority. It is also well known that the Division has long advocated that the most effective deterrent for hard core cartel activity, such as price fixing, bid rigging, and allocation agreements, is stiff prison sentences. It is obvious why prison sentences are important in anti-cartel enforcement. Companies only commit cartel offenses through individual employees, and prison is a penalty that cannot be reimbursed by the corporate employer. As a corporate executive once told a former Assistant Attorney General of ours: “[A]s long as you are only talking about money, the company can at the end of the day take care of me . . . but once you begin talking about taking away my liberty, there is nothing that the company can do for me.”(1) Executives often offer to pay higher fines to get a break on their jail time, but they never offer to spend more time in prison in order to get a discount on their fine.

We know that prison sentences are a deterrent to executives who would otherwise extend their cartel activity to the United States. In many cases, the Division has discovered cartelists who were colluding on products sold in other parts of the world and who sold product in the United States, but who did not extend their cartel activity to U.S. sales. In some of these cases, although the U.S. market was the cartelists’ largest market and potentially the most profitable, the collusion stopped at the border because of the risk of going to prison in the United States.

As prosecutors, (real) financial regulators, and criminologists, we have known for decades that the only effective means to deter elite white-collar crimes is to imprison the elite officers that grew wealthy by leading those crimes (which include the largest “hard core cartels” in history – by three orders of magnitude). In the words of a Deutsche Bank senior officer, the bank’s participation in the Libor cartel produced a “mountain of money” for the bank (and the officers). Holder’s bank fines were useless – and the Department’s real prosecutors told him why they were useless from the beginning. No one, of course, thinks Holder went rogue in refusing to prosecute fraudulent bank officers. President Obama would have requested his resignation six years ago if he were upset at Holder’s grant of de facto immunity to our most destructive elite white-collar criminals.

Our saying during the savings and loan debacle was that in our response we must not be the ones “chasing mice while lions roam the campsite.” Holder, and his predecessors under President Bush, chased mice – and fed them to the lions. They overwhelmingly prosecuted working class homeowners who had supposedly deceived the most fraudulent bankers in world history – acting like a collection agency for the worst bank frauds.

As a U.S. attorney, Loretta. Lynch failed to prosecute any of the officers of HSBC that laundered a billion dollars for Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel and violated international and U.S. anti-terrorism sanctions. The HSBC officers committed tens of thousands of felonies and were caught red-handed, but now Attorney General Lynch refused to prosecute any of them – even the low-level fraud “mice.” Dishonest corporate leaders are delighted to trade off larger fines – which are paid for by the shareholders – to prevent the prosecution of even low-level officers who might “flip” and blow the whistle on the senior banksters that led the fraud schemes. To its shame, the Department’s senior leadership, including Holder and Lynch, have pretended for at least 11 years that the useless bank fines were a brilliant success. Those bank fines are paid by the shareholders. The Department’s cynical sweetheart deals with the elite criminals allowed them to keep their jobs and massive bonuses that they received because of the frauds they led. The Department compounded its shame by bragging that it was working with Obama’s (non) regulators to create guilty plea “lite” in which banks that admitted they committed tens of thousands of felonies involving hundreds of trillions of dollars of fraud were relieved of the normal restrictions that a fraud “mouse” is invariably subjected to for committing a single act of fraud involving $100.

The Department’s top criminal prosecutor, Lanny Breuer, publicly stated his paramount concern about the fraud epidemics that devastated our nation – he was “losing sleep at night over worrying about what a lawsuit might result in at a large financial institution.” That’s right – he was petrified of even bringing a civil “lawsuit” – much less a criminal prosecution – against “too big to prosecute” banks and banksters. I lose sleep over what fraud epidemics the banksters will lead against our Nation. The banksters have learned to optimize “accounting control fraud” schemes and learned that they can grow immensely wealthy by leading those fraud epidemics with complete impunity. None of them has a criminal record and even those that lost their jobs are overwhelmingly back in financial leadership positions. In the aftermath of the savings and loan debacle, because of the prosecutions and criminal records of the elites that led those frauds, no senior S&L fraudster who was prosecuted was able to become a leader of the fraud epidemics that caused our most recent financial crisis.

We have known for decades that repealing the rule of law for elite white-collar criminals and relying on corporate fines always produces abject failure and massive corporate fraud. We have known for millennia that allowing elites to commit crimes with impunity leads to endemic fraud and corruption. If the Department wants to restore the rule of law I am happy to help it do so. We have known for over 30 years the steps we need to take to succeed against elite white-collar criminals through vigorous regulators and prosecutors. We must not simply prosecute the current banksters, but also prevent and limit future fraud epidemics through regulatory and supervisory changes. I renew my long-standing offers to the administration to, pro bono, (1) provide the anti-fraud training and regulatory policies, (2) help restore the agency criminal referral process, and (3) embrace the whistleblowers and the scores of superb criminal cases against elite bankers that they have handed the Department on a platinum platter. We can make the “new” Justice Department policy a reality within months if that is truly Obama and Lynch’s goal.

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  1. two beers

    So the statute of limitations has passed for the banksters. However, towards the ends of deterrence and mitigating future moral hazard in the public sector, can we frogmarch Banana Holder for his fraudulent dereliction of duty and multiple conflicts of interest?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The statue of limitations for mail fraud and wire fraud is ten years. But the best theories for crisis-related misconduct were securities law theories, and yes, the statue of limitations for them has indeed passed.

      1. Jim A

        Of course so many of those settlements included “go forth and sin no more” clauses that were immediately ignored, there still should be plenty of banksters looking at jail time for post crisis fraud. But we’ll see just how interested in following through on this the justice department ACTUALLY is. I remain skeptical.

      2. JustAnObserver


        In the past you have written several articles detailing SarBox violations so blatant as to be a slam-dunk case for the prosecution. Is there a statute of limitations in the SarBox legislation ?

  2. TG

    Obama is a monster and a traitor to the republic – as are all his wealthy patrons.


    You say the statute of limitations has run out. But. There is no statute of limitations for treason.

    Just saying.

    1. steelhead23

      First, it would be nice to have a link to the memo Dr. Black is referencing here. Second, Obama, like many, many others was both frightened of the economic dislocation aggressive prosecution might cause – beholden to his Wall Street benefactors, and in the thrall of the Democratic economic leadership team (Rubin, Summers, et al.) (my surmise). That does not mean he is not responsible for perpetuating the current criminogenic environment – he is. But unless we are to consider virtually all politicians as criminals, he is not a traitor, just a poor president.

      1. Ian

        Maybe if this was a singular context of corruption and capture in his presidency, that would justify your assertion. But in context of the whole, the level of corruption and capture that Obama participated in and perpetuated through out many (in the very least a substantial portion, I’m inclined to see very little that isn’t) elements of his presidency speaks to a justifiable cause to call him a traitor, not just a poor president. If you want examples that would build upon this assertion, there is a very long laundry list that this site has explored in depth.

        1. Mountain Moderate

          Bush was 10 times worse, and all he has to worry about is his painting. I’m not seeing how this amounts to treason without using Fox Logic.

          1. Ian

            Do some reading and educate yourself then. People are not going to hold your hand on this site as they tend towards a high level of discussion and critical analysis and that level of depth requires a lot of time and effort on both parts. Perhaps a little later I’ll spend a bit of time and drag up a dozen or so articles for you. Judging from the context with which your starting point is in your statement, you’re going to need many hours of reading though. Anyone know some good starting points for this chap feel free to step in as I’ll be a bit busy for a while.

            1. Vatch

              I’m not going to provide any articles right now (and maybe not later, either). Just a couple of questions:

              1. Yes, Bush and many people in his administration were terrible. If the Bush administration was so bad, why has Obama refused to prosecute any of them for the terrible things that they did?

              2. Why hasn’t the Obama administration prosecuted any of the people who caused the Great Financial Collapse?

              Obama, like Bush, is a terrible president, and both caused severe harm to the country. U.S. Presidents don’t get prosecuted for treason, but they can be impeached. It’s too late to impeach Bush, but it’s not too late to impeach Obama, and not for any reasons that Fox News might come up with.

            2. Vatch

              I forgot to mention a very revealing indicator of just how bad Obama is: his enthusiastic support for harmful “free” trade agreements such as TPP, TTIP, and TiSA. Definitely treasonous, but he’ll never be prosecuted for it.

            3. Knute Rife

              Fascinating ad hominem response. Whether Mountain Moderate has read the articles you’re referring to I have no idea, but I know I’ve read a number of articles, and I don’t see treason either, unless you want to stretch the definition so it includes every White House from Ike on.

              1. Vatch

                The Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) portions of the “free” trade agreements supported by Obama abandon U.S. judicial sovereignty to private tribunals. I think a very strong case can be made that this is treasonous. Of course, Obama’s not the only one who supports ISDS: just about every Republican in Congress, plus some Democrats are equally treasonous. For more on ISDS, see:

                ISDS: A corporate cluster bomb to obliterate our people’s sovereignty, by Jim Hightower

                Trading Away Our Sovereignty, by John Fullerton

                The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose, by Elizabeth Warren

                1. Knute Rife

                  I’ve been following these rolling disasters as well. I’m dead set against them and consider them to be unconstitutional. That doesn’t mean they in any way satisfy the “aid and comfort” element of a treason charge, though.

                  1. Vatch

                    I guess it’s a gray area. If a nation abandons part of its sovereignty to outside agents such as multinational corporations, it will be weaker in its relations with its enemies. So I really do think that supporting ISDS is treasonous, but I can understand that another reasonable person might not accept that idea.

      2. trinity river

        Here is the link you want. Just reading each topic sentence is enough to understand Yates new position. Question remains as to whether her supers will allow her to do her job.

        Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates Delivers Remarks at New York University School of Law Announcing New Policy on Individual Liability in Matters of Corporate Wrongdoing

        Also . . .
        4 articles about Yates in National Law Journal Sept 10th & 11th

        Judges Critical of DOJ Praise New White-Collar Guidelines
        Read more:

        Morning Wrap: The Yates Memo | Securities Whistleblowers
        Read more:

        In ‘All or Nothing’ Approach, Justice Dept. Puts White-Collar Bar on Edge
        Read more:

        Blumenthal: New DOJ White-Collar Guidelines are ‘Important Step’
        Read more:

      3. JerryDenim


        Obama was handed a once in multiple-generation opportunity for reform, the timing of his election relative to the crisis and the powerful mandate for systematic change he brought to office. Instead of living up to his campaign rhetoric Obama and Obama alone filled out his entire cabinet with establishment crooks. Multiple failure, Bush and Clinton retreads who played a direct role in the crisis who had every motivation to paper-over their sins and the sins of their revolving-door banker buddies. Obama could have easily appointed Bill Black as Attorney General but he chose Eric Holder because Obama knew he was a pro-establishment insider who would protect his powerful campaign benefactors. Given the severity and magnitude of both the crisis and the criminality that precipated it I think treason is right on the mark. Obama picked the exact cabinet he wanted so claiming he was some helpless babe in the woods who was duped by Larry Summers just doesn’t cut it. Obama’s advisors were his advisors because he hand picked them. Not a single progessive voice among them. Hardly an accident, and Obama is no victim.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      There is also no statute of limitations on “terrorism.” No “evidence” is required, and the penalties are hard and long.

      If bringing down three buildings in New York City is considered an act of “terrorism” so heinous that the entire constitution can be sacrificed, why wouldn’t the destruction of the entire economy be considered just as heinous and the punishment every bit as severe?

    1. bh2

      Durban was guilty of excessive truthiness. The recently reversed DoJ policy to let banksters go without punishment until the statutes of limitation passed wasn’t a pathetic failure owing to confused reasoning. It was a raging success owing to canny design.

  3. Malcolm MacLeod

    This article brings to mind the criminality of repressive dictators who did less financial
    damage over a period of years than our home-grown good guys doing god’s work by
    looting the finances of a nation and collecting criminal gains that would make the
    dictators go pale. All of this ignored by our so-called elected authorities, sworn to do
    their duty, not their desire. It’s enough to make a dog sick. Heads should roll.

    1. GuyFawkesLives

      I have been calling for bringing back the guillotine for some time now.
      Erecting it on the square in the middle of Wall Street and in front of the Whitehouse might suffice.

  4. Dugh

    How about prosecuting “revolving door” Holder for corruption and fraud? Watching this unfold over the years, with all the calculated and patronizing BS, has been maddening. Me thinks history will not be kind to the big “0” as this tangled web is unraveled.

    1. different clue

      What will he care? At worst, he will be crying all the way to the bank, as Liberace once said in a very different context.

    2. James Levy

      You forget that the people who wrote these laws did so in the spirit of exempting themselves in the way the laws are structured. How in hell are you going to prove “corruption and fraud” on Holder’s part?

      It appears that although on the surface selling someone a financial product with the assurance that it is sound while at the same time “shorting” it to drive down its price must be illegal because of the fiduciary responsibility of the broker (think Goldman Sachs), it would seem that it is not. It’s blatantly unethical, immoral even, but not illegal. Ditto mixing junk derivatives with sound ones. And you will probably find that if you rounded up all the chiselers from 2006-8 that the vast majority of them did nothing that was technically illegal. And I’m sure that was by design; a feature, as they say around here, not a glitch. Everything was and is set up so that the financial sector has guaranteed profits and can batten on every possible opportunity to make money. The fact that this set-up leads to fraud and crises is understood as an acceptable price to pay for maintaining the hegemony of the dollar and US financial control of the world. That the owners of these financial institutions also buy off Congress and the Executive is only part of the story. Interests of State, as defined by elites, also play an important role here. And American political and military elites want to have power and keep power as much as the crooks on Wall Street want to make money.

      1. Steven

        That the owners of these financial institutions also buy off Congress and the Executive is only part of the story. Interests of State, as defined by elites, also play an important role here. And American political and military elites want to have power and keep power as much as the crooks on Wall Street want to make money.

        I think you have pretty much nailed it. When national insolvency under the rules laid down by the 1944 Bretton Woods international monetary system threatened to reign in US foreign military adventurism Nixon voiced his fear the US might become a “pitiful, helpless giant”. Fortunately (sic) the rest of the world’s love of money allowed ‘the world’s policeman’ to continue supplying ‘order’ so financial elites in the US and elsewhere throughout the West could continue to make money. It didn’t matter that money was based on “debt that can’t be repaid (and) won’t be”. As Treasury Secretary Connolly put it “It’s our currency but your problem.”

        I am all for giving the likes of Bill Black the power to prosecute (and claw back) the stolen trillions of odious illegitimate debt the world’s financial elite has accumulated – not just since 2008, 1999 or even 1971 but back to the beginning of the 20th century. But until a new international financial and monetary system is put in place, one based on genuine wealth creation not just the perceived ability of the wealth in question to generate an income stream based upon the monopoly or political power of its holders, that kind of prosecution will be the equivalent of dousing embers at the edge of a raging wildfire.

        Impossible? Illegal? Maybe. But until I see a candidate (Kucinich?) or party that promises to move the University of Missouri-Kansas City team (the MMT faction possibly excepted) to the Treasury and Justice Departments in Washington I think I’ll just sit back and watch the whole ‘system’ self-destruct.

          1. Steven

            This may be the place to introduce my questions to “the MMT faction” about their proposals that could be addressed in a future posting.
            1- It would seem that clawing back that $24.3 and who knows how many trillions more shelled out to crony capitalists in the Defense Department and elsewhere could go a long way towards paying for the reconstruction of an economy decimated by a century of finance capitalism – without creating a single new dollar.
            2- Just creating ex nihilo money and giving it to people in exchange for employment in make-work programs as opposed to employment in genuine wealth creation so they can use it to purchase wealth created for them half a world away would seem to be doing little more than giving them a stake in the Empire of Debt.
            3- It would furthermore sustain the myth that everyone’s labor is required to sustain the standard of living in an advanced industrial economy – for that matter that everyone, even those who can no longer afford the education to compete for non-existent or off-shored jobs has something to contribute to the community. Almost a century ago FDR got in trouble for employing people to rake rocks. Imagine the political vulnerabilities of such a program today after all the mechanization and automation that have occurred since FDR!
            4- If Michael Hudson’s to reincorporate into the public infrastructure essential services like health care, transportation, education, public housing, etc, (and people could be employed in genuine wealth-creating employment to build and provide it) the amount of money people needed would be greatly diminished.

            It is way past time for the ‘leisure economy’, for letting people assume the direction and control of their own lives and rewarding them – but not their posterity to the nth generation – for any genuine contributions to the community’s welfare result from their life choices. But it is also way past time to recognize that everyone has a right to a tolerable existence – not including the right to ‘the American Dream (sic) or to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ if they can’t pay for it by genuine wealth-creating employment.

            (For what it is worth, IMHO if creating trillions of new dollars is what it takes to insure the right to a tolerable existence is what it takes, if we really need to continue ‘extend and pretend’, go to it!)

            1. lambert strether

              “2- Just creating ex nihilo money….” That’s called fiat money. That’s how the system already works. MMT simply points this out. Please do some reading.

              1. Steven

                I am quite aware “That’s how the system already works.” My point is that this ex nihilo money creation has been used as a substitute for long-overdue systemic change. As Black’s UMKC colleague Michael Hudson has often stated, you can’t just keep piling more debt on top of already unsustainable debt (and that’s what money is – debt). To me it looks like the effect, if not the intent, of MMT would be to ‘paper over’ these fundamental structural problems rather than face them head on.

                I believe I have raised (albeit with error-filled text written in too much haste) some serious questions for MMT supporters, monetary reformers and generally anyone who believes we can just ‘throw money’ at some of the most serious problems we face as a civilization.

                1. Skippy

                  “anyone who believes we can just ‘throw money’ at some of the most serious problems we face as a civilization.”

                  Are you talking about Bond holders or maybe Derivatives – ?????

                  1. Lambert Strether

                    Of course, nobody believes that “throwing money” at a problem is a solution, not even if they are throwing it.

                    The “throw money” locution is an automatic disqualifier for useful commentary, so far as I’m concerned.

      2. TheCatSaid

        There have been plenty of posts here at NC that showed blatant criminality and fraud, with documentation in abundance. Prior posts by Bill Black come to mind; successfully investigating and prosecuting these kinds of crime was his specialty.

  5. David

    Getting tough on banker crime at this moment will generate a lot of business for Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer.

  6. allan

    Yates’ memo is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. The Administration’s end-of-second-term desperation to burnish its reputation for history is as meaningless as it is pathetic. Save it for the temple to revisionist history soon to be built in Hyde Park.

    1. diptherio

      Taibbi’s quip on twitter summed it up: “DOJ announces it will start fighting crime.” One has to wonder if they understand how dumb this makes them look. They would have been better to just stick to their guns on too big to jail, rather than admitting now that their critics have been right all this time.

  7. blurtman

    President Obama on the Leno show, a few months after being elected to his first term, claimed that the banks committed no crimes. He repeated the false assertion in several public speeches afterwards. He had conducted absolutely no investigations to reach that conclusion.

  8. Eric Patton

    Don’t worry. The DOJ is about to get new opportunities.

    And there’s no statute of limitations on tax fraud.

    1. Vatch

      I think you’re wrong, but I’m willing to reconsider if you provide a source. See the link that I posted with the limitations listed. Bank fraud and wire fraud have a limit of 10 years. Major fraud against the United States (whatever that means) has a limit of 8 years, and tax crimes have a limit of 6 years.

  9. gil gamesh

    It isn’t (their goal). Would that the SoL were tolled by prosecutor negligence, malfeasance, or capture.

    I hear Obama is a bball fan. It seems he mastered the 4 corners defense. Give that man a library.

  10. rodger malcolm mitchell

    Definition of “Obamacrime”: A crime the government intentionally ignores, until the statute of limitations has run out.

    Obamacrime will be our President’s legacy.

  11. crittermom

    Great article that confirms the announcement by “our” govt is nothing more than a bit of fluff, in an attempt to appease us ten million or so victims, with an election year coming up.
    Pitiful try. I’m already too jaded following years of fighting Chase Bank & losing, with “my” govt refusing to back me up.

    Yes, I agree that heads should roll.
    In the article he says we citizens must come together & do something while there’s still time.
    What is it we can do?
    I remember hearing that it only takes 100,000 signatures to bring something forth before the govt.
    Is that true? Can we get something before the govt demanding prosecutions & jail time, by doing that?

    While the banksters weren’t forced to admit to wrongdoing, it’s already been proven, which was the reason for the massive fines (otherwise, why would they have paid them?) So can we as citizens (& victims), force prosecution & jail sentences with our signatures?
    I’m game, if there’s a chance.

    Question: My home of 20 yrs was taken over 4 yrs ago by Chase Bank, yet I still hear from them (even tho’ I’d filed BK afterward). It’s been ongoing.
    I referred the letters to a FDCPA atty, who said they weren’t doing anything illegal, because they weren’t actually trying to collect a debt.
    So for the rest of my life they can continue to remind me of what they did? (Yet I could NEVER get a mortgage statement from them in the 5 yrs of the refinanced loan! Even my AG’s ofc couldn’t!)

    Just wondering if any other victims are still receiving correspondence from their former “lenders”?
    I consider it harassment, as emotionally, it’s further destroying me. I still have NOTHING to show for my life now (& turning 64).
    Any others still getting correspondence? (My latest was to tell me that in 2012 they’d dropped the forced place insurance they’d put on the property in my name that year–the year after they’d taken it & I’d declared BK)
    They’re continuing to destroy me emotionally…

      1. 2brknto2b

        Again, farting in a whirlwind. Obama never had any intention of doing anything about what the people wanted. His sole goal was to protect the welathy who prop him up. Watch h9m take out Hillary, then claim there must be someone to run against the Republicans, and so be nominated for a third term. “Fundamental transformation” no longer needs amending of the Constitution, merely the writing, or re-writing of law. SCOTUS falls right in line with Barry Soetoro, aka “0”.

    1. Knute Rife

      What are they sending you if they aren’t collection letters? It isn’t like they need to send you notice of anything.

  12. Kris Alman

    Too big to jail, let alone prosecute, is the glaring sign of wealth/power consolidation.

    Last year, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sued Oracle for “racketeering activity” after Oracle had sued Cover Oregon (Oregon’s doomed ACA exchange) for failure to pay $23,000,000 for services, blaming then-Governor John Kitzhaber of a “smear campaign.” (Kitzhaber resigned amid his own scandals earlier this year. Sigh…) The complaint alleged Oracle’s false claims cost the state $240,280,008. The AG sought over $5.5 billion in damages from Oracle, plus legal fees.

    There’s also a copyright infringement lawsuit, where Oracle claims the state of Oregon has simply appropriated Oracle’s code. (Oracle must be able to enforce its intellectual property rights, after all!)

    Most recently, Oracle asked the Oregon Supreme Court to exclude 5 executives saying people can’t be sued solely for their actions on behalf of their employer. An excerpt of the filing: “The state’s decision to also go after individual employees in their personal capacities is akin to hostage-taking.”

    If you ask me, that’s twisted logic coming from corporations that are people, my friends.

    The X-men of the market (the Chamber of Commerce, two IT groups and lobbyist TechNet) came to Oracle’s defense. AP reporter Jonathan Cooper quoted John Doherty, general counsel for TechNet: “If that’s the rule in Oregon — that your employees, by acting on your behalf could be subject to hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars’ worth of liability — it’s a tough thing to put your employees in that line of fire.”

    Silicon Valley pulls the purse strings and puppet strings of the Knowledge Economy. This tension is reaching breaking points with data-driven mandates and madness.

    1. Joe

      “If you ask me, that’s twisted logic coming from corporations that are people, my friends.”

      They only want to be “people” when discussing regulation and tax exemptions, but not when they defraud an entire nation, and should be, by moral right, imprisoned for it.

      Welcome to the double-standard narcissistic Western 1st world mentality.

      I’ve honestly almost given up hope, money buys power, and with so much money, how do you stop it?

      I don’t mean to be a pessimist and am not usually, but this particular problem feels like it won’t be solved, most Americans are too fat, happy, and scared to take action, research, or logically question anything.

      As the great George Carlin once comically said “Everyone has a cell phone that can make pancakes and rub their balls now. We’re way too prosperous for our own good.” No public outcry means no action.

      I hope there will be, though.

  13. nat scientist

    The playbook of Empire Capitalism illustrated once again on the anniversary of the first 9-11, the first in 1973 to continue the resource domination of the Latin Americas without socialist democrats mucking up the works, Henry A. Kissinger absolves himself in three books which absolutely prove his innocence. The absolute proofs of innocence have all been collected in a sealed box to be opened 5 years AFTER his passing. Nice touch, remember, correlation is not causation. The Washington Post ran the story on Sept 11, 2001 of Rene Schneider, Jr’s suit, but the papers were busy with another story that day. It was a beautiful strangely clear bright morning that day….

    60 Minutes has learned that the family of a murdered Chilean general plans to file a lawsuit seeking damages against Henry Kissinger for his alleged role in the death of Gen. Rene Schneider, the commander of the Chilean Army who was killed by kidnappers in 1970.

  14. JTMcPhee

    Tired. So tired.

    I lived through an earlier round of “can’t touch the C-Suite-ers,” as an enforcement attorney with the US EPA whose tenure bridged Carter to Reagan, ’78 to ’90. I had a hand in starting up the EPA “environmental crimes” enforcement program, in the early 80s. So many issues and futilities in trying to establish and activate the tools that provided what then EPA and DOJ employees, even the higher-ups with their aspirations for post-gov opportunities, conceded were the only effective incentives that would reach and might deter the “antisocial” behaviors by the C-Suite and operational f__kers. The ones who chatted each other up, “profits first, screw the planet, what can they possibly do to detect our crap let alone defend themselves, loyalty to the corporate god of advancement,” into spewing externalities of the physical kind into the faces of the mopes (as against the “financialized” kind that were also being generated on a smaller scale in the “savings and loan debacle,” same time frame, So much effort spent on being sure the “rights of the accused” would be protected, that no one would step over any Bill of Rights lines, such infinite pains to keep the “justice” in the Department of. A place where corruption already existed,, but which ramped right up when the Reaganauts sent out their memos telling us not to be doing any more “enforcement,” don’t be generating any more criminal or civil “litigation referrals” for the “Justice lawyers” to quash or eviscerate. Because all us “regulators” were now in the “customer service business,” and Business was our Customer. The task was now to advise the Oppressed Chemical, Petroleum, Steel, Feedlot, etc. Corporate Creatures on “how to come into (minimal) compliance with regulations and statutes that already were being shriveled by regulatory capture, in the salient texts and in all the “hidden law” of prosecution manuals, regulatory interpretive memos, guidance documents, opinions of counsel, all that sh_t.

    Books have been written about that period, uncovering some bits of the corruption and non-mis-mal-feasance, some discussion even of the framing and the debasement of the “immune system,” the regulatory functions of “government.” I ended up for several years working in a large amoeba-like firm with its own growing lobbying practice over on K Street, a firm that itself was eventually ingested by a bigger silk-stocking protozoan, saw some of how the corporate side played the game. It’s too big, too seductive, too what I at least would call evil, in the sense of a demonic inflammation. Became a nurse to do my penance with bedpans and hands-on care.

    I and my fellow tree-hugging wild-eyed-hippie overmuscled government-has-huge-resources-to-crush-the-poor-Galts “enforcement types,” just loved the Big Effing Press Conferences by Justice (sic) players and US Attorneys to announce “the largest fine/penalty/corporateimprovementprogram/whatever ever,” conducted so the rubes would think someone was protecting their arses. The sidebars between Justice (sic) types and their corporate opposites, working their little deals. All the jostling to see who can be closest to the podium when the great announcement is made. And don’t be thinking that STATE attorneys general were anything other than complicit in the scams.

    But hey, it’s called a “Political” economy for a reason. And as I incessantly remind everyone, you get the outcomes in your political economy that the voting process that counts (control of raw power and other resources, including that money thing, whatever it is) results in.

    Blow it all up? No need — that is being taken care of by “the process” itself, if you look around. And maybe some small parts will survive — hopefully not the ones that carry the plague-species genes and associated chimp behaviors…

    1. rod

      JT–I usually turn to NC for enlightenment and not to comment, as I definitely feel out of my league trying to bring any content to this site. But something in your post has compelled me to convey that my mouth is also full of that bitterness. I bet you worked with many who also tasted it at the EPA. I bet there are thousands of similar citizens who worked at SEC, DoJ, etc.–but don’t anymore because of career arcs like yours. I bet many visit here regularly because Yves really got it right with the Title.
      Your commonality is that you know only too intimately how right intentions become detoured into wrong outcomes by bureaucratic design. Not just the histories and generalities like me, but the details and nuances like those peers of yours. Y’all know which doors hold the skeletons, which corners never get swept because nobody looks there, and what pages get skipped over the most.
      This makes you invaluable to our future. The most effective fixes to things come from those who know how things get broken.Things will change. Your insight will be needed and utilized. Because you close with: ” Blow it all up? No need — that is being taken care of by “the process” itself, if you look around.”
      Nature has equipped most of us humans with the Gag Reflex. It’s a self defense thing. Very powerful for a good reason–survival.
      The first thought this Carpenter had when the DoJ made this announcement was that of expired Statutes of Limitations almost 7 years past 2008. Then my diaphragm started convulsing.
      Enough is Enough.

  15. Oldeguy

    Those who follow the depredations of the Oligarchy are in constant danger of Outrage Burnout- the Bad Guys always seem to win, so whats’s the use ?
    I therefore refuse to join in the cynical, morale lowering chorus that this “can’t really mean anything”. Maybe so, but we shall see.
    Those engaging in ( well merited ) jeering at DOJ might do well to remember that the first requirement for the resolution of any defect is the admission that you have it.

  16. Skippy

    So… the next question – is – which policy advocacy group informed both public and private sector high level agents, whom write laws, deliberate on the meaning and use of laws, which enabled this orgy of “self interest” and host it up as the apogee of successes….

    Skippy…. The Malodorous Profit Society…. aka MPS – ????

  17. HarveyCORO

    He then noted that the Justice Department has weighed in, and said Hillary Clinton broke no laws in deleting any e-mails, and yet the media seemed to ignore that story almost completely. For some reason.

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