No One Is Above The Law

By Simon Johnson

The American ideal of “equal and impartial justice under law” has repeatedly been undermined by attempts to concentrate power.  Our political system has many advantages, but it also provides motive and opportunity for resourceful people to become so strong they can elude the legal constraints that bind others.  The most obvious example is the oil and railroad trusts at the end of the nineteenth century.  A version of the same process is happening again today but what has become concentrated is not a vital energy source or the nation’s transport arteries but rather something much more abstract: financial sector risk.

In early 2009, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner reportedly said to President Obama and senior members of the new administration, with regard to the financial system:

“The confidence in the system is so fragile still. The trust is gone. One poor earnings report, a disclosure of a fraud, or a loss of faith in the dealings between one large bank and another—a withdrawal of funds or refusal to clear trades—and it could result in a run, just like Lehman.” (from Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men, p.202)

Now three years later, the megabanks are even bigger, as is the risk they concentrate (see my recent testimony to the Financial Institutions subcommittee of the Senate Banking Committee for details.)  Curiously, their precariousness, as much as their power, is shielding these behemoths from the enforcement of financial fraud laws.

Thankfully, this lawlessness – and it is that – nettles some regulators and prosecutors.  New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is mobilizing the resources for a long-overdue investigation of Wall Street practices and hopefully gathering momentum.  But the Obama administration continues to dither – arguing behind the scenes that the financial system is still too weak. This inertia – a government at rest tends to stay at rest – has led to public protest and deeply shaken trust in the financial system.

In an important article in the Huffington Post this week, Jeff Connaughton (former chief of staff to Senator Ted Kaufman) argues that the Department of Justice failed to concentrate the resources that might have built successful cases:

“As the New York Times and New Yorker have reported, the Department’s leadership never organized or supported strike-force teams of bank regulators, F.B.I. agents, and federal prosecutors for each of the potential primary defendants and ignored past lessons about how to crack financial fraud.”

We may never know exactly why the administration failed to organize effectively along these lines, but Mr. Geithner’s influence likely played a role.  For his part, President Obama, the few times he’s been asked, explains that past unethical Wall Street actions are “not illegal.”

Mr. Geithner may dispute details in Confidence Men (which was also quoted by Mr. Connaughton in his piece), but worry about system stability is part of the treasury secretary’s job.  Despite a lack of any supporting evidence, Mr. Geithner sees megabanks as essential to the functioning of the economy – and gambled on bailing them out as a way to restart the economy.  So it would have been entirely logical for him to fear disclosures that would damage their business models and legal viability.

Whenever someone or a group of people is above the law, equality before the law is ended.  And this is exactly why the megabanks threaten to undermine democracy.

For your holiday reading, pick an example of power and accomplishment gone awry in American history.  I suggest the bizarre tale in the new book American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America; or the classic account of the confrontation between President Andrew Jackson and the Second Bank of the United States, in The Age of Jackson by Arthur Schlesinger; or Teddy Roosevelt’s confrontation with the railroad trusts in Edmund Morris’s Theodore Rex.  Or, if you prefer something more modern, try Richard Reeves’s ultimately sad President Nixon: Alone in the White House.

The lesson of these books is throughout American history, the ultimate constraint is not so much the courtroom but rather the polling place.  And here the classic American feedback mechanism appears to be damaged.

President Obama’s campaigns have taken a great deal of money from Wall Street and, as Mr. Suskind’s book vividly illustrates, has proved consistently reluctant to take on this powerful vested interest.  This is why Mr. Geithner is still treasury secretary.

In The Rise and Decline of Nations: Economic Growth, Stagflation, and Social Rigidities, Mancur Olson identified the rise of special interests as a problem for all societies – a form of sclerosis sets in.  This is a perfect idea for the political right; they can cite Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, no less, on the idea that powerful people seize the state and its ideology to insulate themselves from competition.

Unfortunately, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich – the current front-runners for the Republican nomination – are also presumed to have taken or to be seeking a great deal of funding from Wall Street.  (See this coverage on Obama and Romney, and on Gingrich.)

Ron Paul has expressed concern about big banks (see this link; there are no more specifics on his campaign website, e.g., here).  But his only policy recommendation is not to bail them out in the future – i.e., just let them fail.  Unfortunately, this philosophy fails to appreciate the true nature of the big banks’ power and the damage they can cause.

Too Big To Fail banks benefit from an unfair, nontransparent, and dangerous subsidy scheme.  This isn’t a market.  It’s a government-backed distortion of historic proportions.  And it should be eliminated.

Jon Huntsman, the only candidate with a credible plan to break up big banks, is currently polling 13 percent in New Hampshire (although Nate Silver sees hope).

Presidential elections matter, because the winner appoints those who protect – or claim to protect – the public interest.  As Jeff Connaughton reminds us:

“Repeat financial fraudsters don’t pay relatively paltry — and therefore painless — penalties because of statutory caps on such penalties. Rather, regulatory officials, appointed by Obama, negotiated these comparatively trifling fines”

We could replace these officials with people who are less sympathetic to the banks.  But this sympathy comes from fear – the fear of what could happen if a big bank fails.  New officials would soon share the old fears.

Our biggest banks pose a real threat; if you hold them accountable for their past actions, they will collapse.  The only credible way to counter to this threat – and the only reasonable way to protect our democracy – is to break them up.

An edited version of this post appeared this morning on the’s Economix blog; it is used here with permission.  If you would like to reproduce the entire post, please contact the New York Times.

127 thoughts on “No One Is Above The Law

  1. I take exception to the title, there is a law for unin’s, and a law for wein’s, and they AINT the same law. As a wein i disdain what the has become, and continues to be.

    If there is a law that needs to be changed, and you can not change it, you must brake it. Especially when it has been proved that the majority is not correct in their thinking.……..I remember takin gold away and writing the furtile will.

  2. It’s amusing how the same fingers who wove the *abstract* web of deceit being identified as “financial sector risk” are pointing those fingers at Russia this past week – from a New Yorker article comes this clarity about them, but not *us* – the GLOBAL money lenders:

    “…As a state, modern Russia began with no commonly held values; it was founded in a charged atmosphere of collapse, rebellion, and almost unimaginable improvisation and contingency….”

    As if people are not being censored and wiped out financially at will in USA – what hypocrisy!

    TBTF *banking* is rabies, not cancer. And law was the only vaccine. But the predators were not quarantined and instead made stronger and let loose.

  3. Some animals are more equal than others, and so the fraud goes unprosecuted, for fear that admission of how gamed the system is will unleash a wave of panic selling. So goes Timmy’s logic dispensed from on high. Losing faith in a faith-based monetary system will be a dark day, indeed, and so us sheep should be protected from our own fears by those that know better.

    Watching all my retirement savings go into funds that are sucked dry by commissions, fees, and poorly timed trades makes me think I would have done better if I had paid taxes on the money I instead put into retirement funds (including foregoing the employer match), if only to buy artwork, silver, gold, heck…anything besides a quarterly statement to show how much money I ‘have’ waiting for me when I retire. I expect none of it to be there at the end of this debacle, or, if it is, the dollars in which it is denominated will be worth next to nothing.

    If we were to all stop withholding for retirement, would the beast begin to starve?

  4. President Obama’s adminstration will go down as the most corrupt administration in the modern presidency history. Even surpassing Nixon. Didn’t prosecute wall street because they are his campaign contributors and Democratic machine on Wall Street. Holder is a joke as the AG. Along with The Treasury the Fed has kept interest rates low stealing from the savors of the economy. Simon if you are not willing to let the TBTF fail, then this corruption will continue.

  5. At some point, the treasury secretary and the president surely realize that the spin they keep putting out is less and less believable. Most people I know believe the TBTF banks have a solvency problem not a liquidity problem and that they are above the law. (I was alone amongst my friends in this view less than a year ago) People are waiting for the president, the regulators or the treasury to do something meaningful.
    From my perspective, the lack of any meaningful effort to hold the financial sector accountable for past actions decreases confidence and at the same time makes the financial system less stable. Exactly the opposite of what the president and the treasury secretary say they want.

    The lawsuits against Fannie and Freddie make perfect sense to me for this administration. The administration probably realizes that their story is wearing thin and is no longer believed by most. They need to show that the big financial institutions are not above the law to get some credibility back. Ideally, they would go after some institution that was part of the problem, is well known, is not currently a major political donor and is not liked by the donors they are courting. Fannie and Freddie are perfect.

    The optimistic side of me thinks this is very good. Once the lawsuits start flying and people have to defend themselves others will be drawn in over time. Effectively they are bringing back the rule of law but in a controlled manner. (At least as controlled as a bunch of lawsuits with multiple lawyers, multiple defendants and multiple discovery processes can be) Some will get away, but many will not. Confidence and stability will both improve.

    The cynical side of me has alarm bells going off. Sounds like yet another big program/project to gain some political points and get yet another great sounding but ineffective settlement. (i.e. typical settlement formula seems to be: allow party agreeing to the settlement to avoid further prosecution but not admit or deny guilt, promise to obey EXISTING laws, and pay a financial fine that sounds large to the general population but is immaterial to the party settling.) Confidence will not be restored, credibility will fall yet again and stability will not improve.

    Hopefully, my optimistic side is right this time. Unfortunately, my cynical side has a much better track record . . .

  6. Hey, I just don’t want to piss off any rich people. So put on your madison blues shoes, and walk wit me.

  7. well i can see breaking them up. but then how do you keep them from being recreated again? the free market doesn’t care if they get recreated. or about monopolies either

  8. We all need to familiarize ourselves with the history of banking, of the country, and of the growth of both over time. Crises such as this one are not new, and they take time – lots of it. The depression was easily a 10+ year phenomenon. The late 1800s and early 1900s were the same. So it goes back to the founding of the republic. The same sort of arguments we hear back and forth played out then. It’s a struggle and it has to be. All of us need to steel ourselves to that struggle. None of it will come easy.

    Geithner is classic in that his self-delusion is rooted in his vision of “the good”. In this case, keeping people in the dark about what really happened and how bad it got. In his view, we can’t take the truth. That stance reveals all too clearly the anti-democratic sentiments that have burrowed into his psyche. In turn, those are rooted in a self-aggrandizing form of elitism. “We can understand and deal with this, but we’re probably the only ones who can”. The implicit assumption is characteristic of those who become overwhelmed at the power they imagine themselves wielding.

    Since that’s his bias, let me give you mine. I’ve never met anyone who couldn’t give me insights into the world around all of us. Properly informed that range of opinions is not only valuable, it’s essential. Nothing is more overrated than the history of the individual. Nothing is more underrated than the messy democracy that has gotten us this far.

    It would be wonderful, though expecting too much, for Geithner and his ilk to drink that in till it inebriates them with the power of community.

  9. Simon, c’mon, you know that the answer is that we live in a plutonomy, that is a plutocratically controlled economy where just is only for those who can buy it, regardless as to whether what they are actually buying is gross injustice. Every once in a while, we get thown a bone of minor justice to make it seem like the system is actually working, like yesterday’s announcement of BOA paying a $332 million dollar fine for actions taken by Countrywide and proven to be racially and ethnically biased. With such prima facie evidence, our Justice Department could hardly look the other way. Look, the FBI hasn’t really, much like the SEC, devoted the kinds of money and effort (concentration) in taking down bad actors on Wall Street, and we all know that the measures prescribed in Dodd-Frank, are both tepid and questionable regarding both reduction in size or increase in capital requirements for the massive bankemoths, and are actually, in their total failure to regulate derivatives, the most risky of all of the Wall Street financial tropes, not even providing for future stability. It’s one thing to turn your head and go forward believing that the coast is clear. It’s entirely another to actually reinforce the big banks positions vis-a-vis the national and global economies.

    I think that maybe too much has been made in the way of lurid sensationalism regarding the predictions of the Mayan calendar regarding the end of the world in about a year. But, if we keep going the way we are going, at some point (a year seems reasonable) something will have to give. It’s time for a social seismic event, a watershed for humanity, between the vast global injustice happening at the hands of wealth and power, and the adverse nature of climate change sponsored ecocide. I have no prediction except that there will be some kind of major shift happening which won’t be pretty.

  10. @waterbury – the GLOBAL “wealth and power” you speak of was gained through a RELIGIOUS persecution of everything that was good and fair in humanity. The *money lenders* infected everyone with the greed virus until humanity is indeed stark raving mad. How is incurable ethical rabies a *prophecy*??!!

    This “wealth and power” is WAR BOOTY – stolen through an irrational and completely predatory and savage shedding of blood throughout the entire 20th century.

    Look at it. Really look at it.

    Where did that *wealth* come from?! There is no PHYSICAL evidence of it other than ruin. What kind of *wealth* is THAT?! And power? PURE NIHILISM!

    I’ll believe in *education* being reformed from the DELUSIONAL retard science curriculum on the day it’s taught in schools how much natural gas was *burned off* into the atmosphere when they went digging for the oil instead of capturing the gas as fuel, also – and to keep the #s comprehensible for a 5th grader, just the amount WASTED in the time span from when Nixon put out a edict to the American people to NOT put up Christmas lights.

    How do you explain to a NORMAL minded 5th grader when they look at the map of that XL pipeline from Canada running through the USA HEARTLAND (basically a bound-to-leak hydrocarbon IV into our food and water) and they ask the OBVIOUS question – “….why is the pipeline not going to the water in the west when it is so much closer….?”

    And then call the kids STUPID after you gave them the *politically correct* stupid answer and then threaten them – if they give another answer, they will get PUNISHED financially – homeless and hungry and sick because they have a different *religion* – a NORMAL search for the best way to solve the problems of living through HONEST WORK which is always creative and fun WORK when someone did not calculated getting 100 $$$ an hour for themselves by NOT doing work.

    You can’t cut and paste the New Yorker cartoons, but back in the 1980s when the *evangelical* movement was launched by CIA psyche ops in Dallas, TX with the help of a Navy licensed chemical compound that might still be called *extasy*, there was a cartoon poking fun at the *idea* and dismissing it’s validity neatly and permanently. A neatly dressed person who commissioned the work or art was asking the sculptor, “Why does the calendar end in 2012?”. The sculptor replied, “I ran out of rock.”

    THIS money-lenders-above-the-law nihilistic lawlessness is NOT *prophecy* coming to pass….it was and IS crusade-horror, inquisition torture (who is making $$$ off of THAT medical technology???) RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION on the propaganda level.

    There is NO WAY that law is going to make a comeback with the use of physical force – and I am talking containment. We cannot let the politicians go back to Delusional City in the New Year to HURT us anymore.

    They brought this on themselves by worshiping their own disgusting GREED. That IS madness. Worshiping the GREED in you…

    We NEED a Nuremberg Trial – this is war/drug/slave lord *economics* in the final analysis….700 trillion – all MINE MINE MINE!

  11. I want to say first, that I think this is a really well written post by Professor Simon, and I appreciate the super awesome book recommendations. Not only do I appreciate the book recommendations (which are usually good outside of your past egregious error on Andrew Ross Sorkin) but I appreciate it that you don’t insult us with the direct links to Amazon. Those “little things” get you great respect as an academic.

    Nothing wrong with Amazon, but let the readers find it on their own and not turn a blog into a billboard, or a retail outlet. So I applaud you for that.

    Why I love this blog BaselineScenario so much, is Professor Johnson and Mr. Kwak say things that sometimes are relatively “simple” or “obvious” but in fact rarely are commented on. And these things so badly need to be highlighted and stressed. This is the true beauty of this blog. And I’m not being facetious or sarcastic, I truly mean that. With the garbage in the media today, I feel some jaded type of ecstasy to read jewels such as this:

    “the ultimate constraint is not so much the courtroom but rather the polling place. And here the classic American feedback mechanism appears to be damaged.

    Americans are very busy. How much time do they have to filter out their news??? Many will watch FOX, as they are Republican and associate that network as the “conservative choice”. But how many viewers of FOX stop to think that the man who controls FOX network’s editorial policy is in fact a billionaire who is not a citizen of America, and has been involved in (commanded and overseen??) illegal phone-tapping of hundreds of individuals in Britain???

    How many times do you think FOX has poked fun of the state-controlled media of North Korea??—and yet FOX participates in the exact same “scribe of my masters’ words” paradigm:

  12. Broken Promises: Rep. Jerrold Nadler decries Obama for not vetoing National Defense Authorization Act
    December 14, 2011

    Published on Thursday, December 22, 2011 by Countdown with Keith Olbermann
    ‘Extraordinary Rendition’: Scott Horton on What You Need to Know about the NDAA

  13. There is nothing more preposterous than the statement that “No One Is Above the Law” in America circa 2011.

    The detonation will be astonishing.

  14. In this country, nearly all of the time, there is an effort by some to “buy” justice, to purchase appropriate friendly outcomes, to cover one’s tracks with money, to “cheat” the hangman, as it were. This has been going on in America and elsewhere since, as they say, time immemorial. Nothing new under the sun. Except that what is happening in America at the moment is working wonderfully for the top tenth of one percent, and miserably for everyone else. The banksters are just a part of that. All of the oligarchs engage in this “rigging” of laws and regulation to suit their business plans. Of course, this is where that human activity has reached a massive creshendo, and, at that point, where the view from the top is so remote that there is no longer a relationship to daily reality on the streets. The isolation of the cheaters is so severe that they have absolutely no comprehension of the massive injustices being enforced against serfdom. And, furthermore, they don’t care to know. It’s that magic Marie Antoinette, let-them-eat-cake moment. Zbigniew Breszinski has written on this disconnect and just how dangerous it is. We say that Occupy Wall Street is an echo in this country of the Arab Spring. I don’t think so. The suffering is not that acute at the moment. When it becomes unbearable, then we’ll see the real Arab Spring become Americanized. The intensity will rise by an order of magnitude, and our government, as it presently exists may fall, but will certainly change dramatically, and probably even before next November.

  15. What law? There isn’t any.

    For our friends we intrepret the law. For our enemies we prosecute the law. That is the law.

    To paraphrase T. Jefferson: There are two ways to conquer a country by force of arms or by debt.

    Allow us to fraudently cheat you utilisng debt without violence or else we will kill you. That is the law.

    The IMF prosecutes the first function and NATO prosecutes the second function.

    A man is judged by his deeds, not by his words.

    Everybody remembers the man in Tianamen Square, China, standing in front of the tank.

    In the last ten years two gentelmen stand out in public for their deeds to public service.

    1. The Iraqi journalist who threw the shoe.

    2. The man who stated to the Fed spokesman.. I can’t eat an Ipod.

    Talks cheap!

  16. “No one is above the law”…. except the predatorclass. While we can admire Mr Johnson intrepid pursuit of justice and sound business practices and imagine we live in a democracy constructed with the mortar of the ruleoflaw – alas this is not the world or nation we inhabit. Old America may have aspired to the lofty standards – but newworldorder Amerika is a nation of the predatorclass, for the predatorclass, by the predatorclass – a kleptocracy ruled by and benefiting the predatorclass and predatorclass oligarchs exclusively. Quaint notions of justice and the ruleoflaw do not apply to the current panjandrum. Justice is “just us”. The people are ruthlessly oppressed, deprived, policed, and punished while the predatorclass is given free reign by purchased politicians to abuse, misuse, and profit wantonly from a rigged system. Amerika has shapeshifted into nation that robs and pillages the poor and middleclass to feed the superrich – the predatorclass.

    Effectively – there are no laws – and in a world where there are no laws – there are no laws for anyone predatorclass biiiiaaatches!

  17. It feels strange to hear and read so much talk about economic corruption without one word spoken to address the natural rules that govern the double-entry proof that ought to exist in every business entity’s journal-of-accounts. The bookkeeper’s traditional proof validates a business entity’s Statement of Profit [loss] and its Balance Sheet, as complete and audit-able facts

    How did we go so far astray?

    Since the 1979 proliferation of microprocessor driven computers, I have yet to see a single piece of evidence of bookkeeping-software using the 670 year-old method, where a journal-of accounts generates an audit-able ledger, in a journal-ledger pattern, complete with an easy to use audit trail. In both industry and banking, 50 years ago, that bookkeeping standard was commonplace.

    I created a compute-driven Book-of-Accounts to prove that bookkeeping correctly computerized. My words to date have fallen on deaf ears, simply because the listener firmly believes that bookkeeping is bean-counting In fact, the bookkeeper, for seven centuries has used the same method of proof used by the math community, relative to its axioms and theorems.

    Mathematics goes to great pains to construct theorems that prove the axioms upon which its mathematical truths are based. Bookkeeping transaction follows the mathematician’s pattern of axiomatic truths where each transaction havs a built-in theoretical proof if its validity. When each and every bookkeeping transaction has that proof, only then is the accountant’s conclusions trustworthy. I have found no evidence of transactional proofs being carried out in today’s microprocessor-driven bookkeeping systems.

    Computers should have made the audit-trail easier to use; and its precision flawless. But in fact the bookkeeper’s audit trail has disappeared. The reason for this is simple. The microprocessor driven computer enabled millions of users to run one same software application. Venture capitalists saw the potential in this punctuated equilibrium, and hired mercenary programmers to create the gatekeeper-monopoly. Such software, therein, not our government, has legislated the rules of commerce, trade, and banking for the past thirty-plus years, by writing venture-capitalist rules into the software.

    Half-baked microprocessor software turned to using add-hoc relational data base systems in place of the time-tested journal-ledger pattern that had served accountants for six centuries. A proper journal-ledger pattern proves each of its transactions as that transaction is recorded. That cannot be done using a relational database, as bookkeeping’s data store. When the rules of double-entry are followed, The Ponzi scheme is immediately revealed. Even when Ponzi’s Scheme collapses, as in WorldCom, Enron, Lehman, and now MF-Global, the full truth beneath the failure is not revealed even by the postmortem evidence.

    The computer offers a potential for a massive advance in society’s productivity. Instead the reverse has happened. Poverty has increased, and an immanent collapse of our entire society of cultures threatens.

  18. Of course Big Business is above the law. Dunno what parallel universe you’re in but clearly you’re not is the same reality as 21st century America under corrupted, dysfunctional rule.

  19. @Bruces video: Today’s hypothecation is simply your signature, or one of a person who has good credit. Even worse, during the sub-prime bubble, banks took the customers word that they could come up with the monthly payment, and then when the law came to the door and wanted his cut, the sub primers no longer had extra monthly fundage and mortgages went unpaid. This is why their are current bank runs in Europe forcing banks to need assistance and Greece will leave and default the eurozone in March. Perhaps followed by others who don’t want to fall into the big money trap that London has become financially, and Germany has become mechanically. There are better products around, you just have to be the one to find them.

  20. @Dan P – the question is, why are you and other people like you who are CAPABLE of fixing the *math* problems not in any position to do so? RELIGIOUS and POLITICAL persecution – that’s why.

    The *political* persecution is clear. Don’t make me trot out the evidence of the DARK AGES *RELIGIOUS* persecution – everyone will just embarrass themselves when they launch their big mouth counter-attack of *ideas* akin to believing in a tooth fairy…

    Caesar, so to speak, (that godless EGO who worships the greed in her/himself) doesn’t want to *manage* what *belongs* to him – instead he’s in a rip laying hands on what does NOT belong to him and must be stopped through the use of all the same *forces* he is using to commit his acts. Sane people have a DUTY to stop this kind of crap. HISTORY shows we ALWAYS do – that’s what everyone *believes* that they have contained – the *risk* that the pitchforks will come out. WRONG. WRONG about it ALL…

    If there is a vaccine – WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO USE IT. The vaccine against GREED AND LUST FOR POWER is *LAW* – get it?

    And don’t get me started on retard science – Monkey Brain 101….OIL OIL OIL

    It’s a JUST WAR – and let’s get that out of the way right now – all these comments on this blog are an admission to the CHOICE to indulge in lawlessness.

    I don’t think that there is even a question whether a JUST WAR has been launched against Delusion City (D.C.). It’s happening. And based on the dismal performance of *money lenders* conducting an UNJUST WAR (the STUPID WASTE of someone else’s blood and treasure), it’s a *slam-dunk* how easy it will be to win the JUST WAR:

    from wiki – the 4 points:

    “….four strict conditions for “legitimate defense by military force”:

    1. The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
    2. All other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
    3. There must be serious prospects of success;
    4. The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power as well as the precision of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition….”

    All conditions have been met, and all conditions must be addressed simultaneously.

    We the People in USA have MORE power – as the LABOR who actually know what the hell we are doing when managing the material world – than the 24/7 e-WORDS (truly just pure NOISE now) of the psychos and sociopaths and flying monkey mercenaries brought together by *money lenders* to construct the hell that is Global Crime Inc.

  21. Military to Designate Americans as Enemy During Collapse: DOD Contact Joe Joseph Reports 2/3

    FEMA Continuity of Government Plans Prep Total Takeover of Society, Dispatching Military Domestically Under Economic Collapse Emergency


    Joe Joseph: And if there is anything this elitists are, they are patient. But now they are not because they see their plan. The problem with all this is the internet was their worst enemy. It was, it was something they developed and all of a sudden, oh oh, you know, now this information is coming out and people are starting to get…

    Alex Jones: And now they are admit tingly saying that they want to censor the internet for our own safety.
    Joe Joseph: Yes, yes, SOPA Act. Absolutely right. In the name of online piracy. And what’s scary about the SOPA Act is the fact that, eh, anybody can go and put a copyright infringement, say you do a video on YouTube, you don’t even have to be the person that made the video…

    Alex Jones: …and your banned from the internet forever and guess what now Microsoft comes out with we’re goanna thumbprint and face scan you to go online, it’s an internet I.D. and these global corporations can selectively enforce. The AD (?) inventors of the internet have gone public in saying this, even Google says this. This is not your opinion and again don’t you think they are bum rushing, their panicking is only waking up folks faster?

    Joe Joseph: Well, this, this is, …I want everybody to understand this. You are seeing this because they fear you. You are seeing this because they know, that if the American people or the WORLD(!!!) in general get hip to their game, in mass, that they are finished. There is nothing that they can do about this. Once the gig is up, the game is done. The goose is cooked.

  22. @Dan Palanza:
    Your comments pop up here from time to time, provocatively. Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to glean the context of the comments you make within the time and space limits of this forum, though your claims are interesting. One can do a web search on your publications on this subject, and what one finds is even less understandable in ordinary language. It is very reminiscent of Buckminster Fuller’s techo-sociological treatises, in which Bucky used not only innovative concepts but unique and difficult language to attempt to capture complexities not easily reducible to readily grasped phrases and simple examples.
    From what I can grasp you are saying that we have corrupted through insufficient accounting coding the data source that would force proper behavior in matters economic (and by extension all conservative physical systems). However, this presumes that we apply the scientist’s rigor to this, does it not? Even scientists have been known to fudge – or ignore – or interpret incorrectly. It would seem that having an accurate journal and record is not enough when those books are so massive as to be beyond even the most diligent detective’s reach.

  23. The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil Lyrics
    (M. Jagger/K. Richards)

    Please allow me to introduce myself
    I’m a man of wealth and taste
    I’ve been around for a long, long years
    Stole many a man’s soul and faith

    And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
    Had his moment of doubt and pain
    Made damn sure that Pilate
    Washed his hands and sealed his fate

    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guess my name
    But what’s puzzling you
    Is the nature of my game

    I stuck around St. Petersburg
    When I saw it was a time for a change
    Killed the czar and his ministers
    Anastasia screamed in vain

    I rode a tank
    Held a general’s rank
    When the blitzkrieg raged
    And the bodies stank

    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
    Ah, what’s puzzling you
    Is the nature of my game, oh yeah
    (woo woo, woo woo)

    I watched with glee
    While your kings and queens
    Fought for ten decades
    For the gods they made
    (woo woo, woo woo)

    I shouted out,
    “Who killed the Kennedys?”
    When after all
    It was you and me
    (who who, who who)

    Let me please introduce myself
    I’m a man of wealth and taste
    And I laid traps for troubadours
    Who get killed before they reached Bombay
    (woo woo, who who)

    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
    (who who)
    But what’s puzzling you
    Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby
    (who who, who who)

    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
    But what’s confusing you
    Is just the nature of my game
    (woo woo, who who)

    Just as every cop is a criminal
    And all the sinners saints
    As heads is tails
    Just call me Lucifer
    ‘Cause I’m in need of some restraint
    (who who, who who)

    So if you meet me
    Have some courtesy
    Have some sympathy, and some taste
    (woo woo)
    Use all your well-learned politesse
    Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, um yeah
    (woo woo, woo woo)

    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guessed my name, um yeah
    (who who)
    But what’s puzzling you
    Is the nature of my game, um mean it, get down
    (woo woo, woo woo)

    Woo, who
    Oh yeah, get on down
    Oh yeah
    Oh yeah!
    (woo woo)

    Tell me baby, what’s my name
    Tell me honey, can ya guess my name
    Tell me baby, what’s my name
    I tell you one time, you’re to blame

    Oh, who
    woo, woo
    Woo, who
    Woo, woo
    Woo, who, who
    Woo, who, who
    Oh, yeah

    What’s my name
    Tell me, baby, what’s my name
    Tell me, sweetie, what’s my name

    Woo, who, who
    Woo, who, who
    Woo, who, who
    Woo, who, who
    Woo, who, who
    Woo, who, who
    Oh, yeah
    Woo woo
    Woo woo

  24. In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and convinced him to do an interview. 38 years later, Levitan, director Josh Raskin and illustrators James Braithwaite and Alex Kurina have collaborated to create an animated short film using the original interview recording as the soundtrack. A spellbinding vessel for Lennon’s boundless wit and timeless message, I Met the Walrus was nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Animated Short and won the 2009 Emmy for ‘New Approaches’ (making it the first film to win an Emmy on behalf of the internet).

  25. @oregano – allow me to give an example of keeping track of $$$ the correct way that algorithms juggling 700 trillion in *dark* derivatives are not programmed to do – keep it flowing through the main arteries….

    Some real, major news BRIEFLY escaped out into the web today – even though it was presented in the classic manner of “….there is nothing you can do to stop us….” that Huff and Post exists to generate (hmmm, no category for *Justice*, go figure)

    there was a tiny peep of incredulity regarding the proportionately small fine levied against a TBTF bankster…

    What could be EASILY done, is get the Infrastructure Investment Bank organized (only way to run that bank is what Dan P is talking about)

    and fund it with all the fines collected – mob style if need be – from the law-evaders…

    Need a picture diagram?

    It’s over, no one is sending Congress back to D.C. to continue to rob and ruin – those are the FACTS. They broke the BASIC contract with their own CITIZENS.

    Depending on what is going on at the local level across this HUGE tapestry of peoples called USA democracy – all with *modern* selfish *interests* of stealing MORE unearned wealth from LABOR – we’ll see whether someone like Dan gets sent in as a replacement from his home town. At least he is a dude who GETS IT that it is even in HIS selfish interests to turn off the suck-up machine with the correct math. I have to get around Jabba the Hut’s containment field- a major material problem altogether :-))

    I am personally insulted by your breezily cynical generalization when you wrote, “However, this presumes that we apply the scientist’s rigor to this, does it not? Even scientists have been known to fudge – or ignore – or interpret incorrectly.”

    Scientists that LIED were IMMEDIATELY discredited by their peers in the past. If peer review justice hadn’t worked that way – swiftly – you would have NOTHING that works as it should surrounding you from wherever you are blogging with us today – let me know what you see when you look around your location – are you saying LYING scientists made all that possible…? Even Caesar was not so stupid as to hire LYING SCIENTISTS to make all his *stuff*…

    The world-wide battle for environmental protection begins and ends with keeping it zipped up – don’t overpopulate….but then I guess you have to be smart enough to make that SCIENTIFIC connection…so LYING teachers (shamans and politicians) seem to be the problem – not LYING SCIENTISTS.

  26. @Grotius – every time I hear that tune – “Sympathy for the Devil”, I am reminded of how much FUN it is to fight with the *devil*…his name is Caligastia and his side-kick is Daligastia…you can read all about those two *cosmically insane* personalities in The Urantia Book…

    Serendipitously accessing the POWER of truth beauty and goodness through the ACT of a free will choice is such a *natural high* – it’s the *freedom* everyone is looking for…

    So back at you – enjoy the *high* :-))

  27. @Annie: Whoa there! All that I am saying is that devising a rigorous accounting system alone – that is, creating the data trail that humans can use to properly manage their affairs – does not mean that humans will follow it. Perversely, the more comprehensive the system, the less inclined – indeed, less able – we are as humans to comprehend it totally. The scientific method has been created by humans and as a human institution is never completely perfectly impelemented. Science and scientists are not completely free of prejudice and hubris. The history of science is littered with concepts that in retrospect should never have been other than stillborn – but did not change until the greater society in which they arose changed. Everything that we as humans create is merely a tool, that can be used rightly or wrongly. It takes the human quality of humility and compassion to create the common good with those tools.
    I’m deeply familiar with the ideal of the scientific method. I’ve used it all my career. I’m also deeply aware of how vulnerable it is to human failings. I imply no malevolence in the comments that you feel so insulted by; only that ALL of us – scientists, shamans, politicians – with the highest of motives, are imperfect. All of us must struggle against the expedient and parochial.

  28. @Oregano

    1. “Whoa there! All that I am saying is that devising a rigorous accounting system alone – that is, creating the data trail that humans can use to properly manage their affairs – does not mean that humans will follow it.”

    That is pure Nihilistic thinking and it is not what Dan P and other people are trying to do.

    2. “Perversely, the more comprehensive the system, the less inclined – indeed, less able – we are as humans to comprehend it totally.”

    Okay, time for this FACT to organize your interpretation of *perversely* – the atmosphere of Earth was PERFECTLY constructed to allow the exact amount of sunlight to filter in to support life. Stay there for a moment – it was PERFECTLY constructed. That is an example of a *comprehensive system* that humans are able to comprehend because our existence is tied to MAINTAINING PERFECTION of key life support systems. THAT is science.

    3. “The scientific method has been created by humans and as a human institution is never completely perfectly impelemented.”

    The *scientific method” is not the same thing as *science*. There are three ways that everything in the material world into which we are born become understood by *animals* like us – by observation, experience, and experimentation. We’re not making up stuff :-)

    4. “Science and scientists are not completely free of prejudice and hubris.”

    *SCIENCE* – real science – is not affected by the individual’s flaws. Copernicus prevailed, over time, because he discovered what *IS*. Even if Copernicus’s work ended up being destroyed before it could be writ into history by the power of ORGANIZED *prejudice and hubris*, someone else would have come along to discover the TRUTH of what *IS*. What *IS* is meant to be discovered :-))

    5. “The history of science is littered with concepts that in retrospect should never have been other than stillborn – but did not change until the greater society in which they arose changed.”

    I think we are saying the same thing – a *concept* that is not what actually *IS* is revealed to be crap :-) Like 700 trillion in derivatives, for example. Tada! Changed the cha-ching right here right now because the *greater society* of USA knows crap when they see it. Don’t you LOVE freedom…?

    6. “Everything that we as humans create is merely a tool, that can be used rightly or wrongly.”

    We are really not *creating* anything as scientists – we are just accessing what *IS* in different ways. We should be supporting our MATERIAL *lives* with science – science as the ever advancing body of knowledge of what *IS* – like understanding the PERFECTION of the earth’s atmosphere.

    What we are up against is the possibility that, if left unchecked, generations of people being born now and in the future could be subjected to being LIED to the first half of their lives by *teachers* who will be telling them that Goldman Sachs constructed the earth’s atmosphere and made it so perfect because they are doing *god’s work* with their *money* tool…

    “…In the beginning there was MONEY, and then came life….”

    And since the atmosphere is no longer *perfect* because of what is being done in the name of *MONEY* – it’ll take the second half of a person’s life to figure out the LIE – and then you die. :-))

    THAT is what the super-duper secret self-proclaimed chosen ones keep doing to humanity in the name of their *lord*…and THAT schtick is not science or *imperfection*. It’s a deliberate free will ACT that is the very definition of moral and ethical INIQUITY.

    Science exposes iniquitous behaviour way better than anything else in today’s world. That’s why the kids are being LIED to and drugged if they are bright enough to see it and want out of the classroom of the liar…

    You may have been *using* the scientific method your whole life, Oregano. But you are talking to a *scientist*…and everyone has noticed your complete lack of discussion of FACTS with me because you have NONE to stand on to disprove what I *teach* – like the waste of using the natural gas for fuel that lies in the way during the *process* of collecting that %$#!*> OIL…

    The decade long war was a FIASCO – a RELIGIOUS persecution of USA citizens and it is OVER.

    The JUST WAR has begun.

  29. Oh for heavens sake. All I was asking was for Dan Palanza to expand on his thoughts in a more accessible way. And acknowledging my own imperfect humanity. If you want to interpret this as my being a dissembling toady, go right ahead. You completely misunderstand my messages.

    Happy Holidays to all. And goodwill to all.

  30. Thanks Annie,

    I am not high, I smell liberation. I want truth and I want freedom, no more nonsense.

    Just think about Noam Chomsky and what he said about 9/11, what is the man thinking?

    Its all really simple, don’t make it to complicated!

    What Noam Chomsky should have done is go to the engineering department of M.I.T. and ask if its possible that a building like WTC 7 can collapse into its own footprint within 10 seconds. WTC 7 was not hit by an airplane and only sustained minor fire damage.

    When are all the engineers of America going to wake up ?

    I wish you and everybody out there the best for 2012. We are all going to need it.

    All the best.

  31. Now kids, let me remind you that for the first part of your childhood, your parents LIED to you, and it took the second part of your childhood to figure it out. Lie to me once, shame on you, lie to me twice, shame on me. Anyone out of childhood can figure out that people, including parents, lie. The question is why? Now I’m leaving to test drive the slay before my journey, so be good, and happy holidays to one and all.

  32. @Oregano – you need to catch up to Dan P by your own individual study of FACTS – he’s talking about what worked for generations for wha’? – 670 years! Look it up. The man has no responsibility to make it more *accessible* to you – scheesh – the argument for BILLIONS of investment in internet communications technology means you should – theoretically – be able to *google* it…

    I know what he is talking about and I’m not a PhD in *theoretical crap*. I have never heard the FACTS presented in a more lucid way than he just did. He speaks the truth of the ORIGINS of the suck-up machine and 700 trillion in superdupersecret *derivatives*…

    Your imperfect humanity slip was showing – mental laziness – and you were preaching to me about *tolerance* as if I am intolerant of LEARNING….and both *social* distractions are IRRELEVANT *details* when an individual with a normal working mind makes up that mind to learn something new about what *IS* in order to make the right decisions for their own selfish needs AND for for the *collective* needs of LIFE.

    May you have fresh air, clean water, beautiful shelter, and a cornucopia of diverse nutritious foods to SHARE with loved ones as you celebrate *Saturnalia* – which is what we are all really doing – the origins of all this December winter solstice hooha was a *concept* that if we all partied with joy and great fanfare, the Sun would get jealous and come back to shine on us :-)) Hey, at least it was a *plan*…

    We know better now – the Sun is coming back anyway – it’s perfectly dependable on that score…

    but, hey, still a good monkey brain imagination reason to *party*….lol

    And this year, let’s be the adults we are and *ground* the Congresspeople in their districts for *partying* too hard and not let them go back to D.C. to do more STUPID stuff. They obviously need to learn what *IS* first…Dan P et al can go in their place…we CAN draft people into public service, you know…

  33. Ah, but you see, I already had looked it up. Here, and on other websites and postings. The basic point was understood. The extensions and extrapolations, not so much. Sometimes one must ask the source to clarify themselves.

    I wish you all enjoyment and fufillment in the New Year. May your work bring you satisfaction and the world greater peace.

  34. I’ve mentioned this in other contexts a few times now. The advent of a globally connected network, across which any conceivable sort of communication or transaction can take place, completely subverts the idea of borders. All and any borders. Cultural, financial, economic, social, any you care to name. They’re gone. Properly framed in that context, then, the question becomes what laws and for whom?

    These financial flows in all of their convoluted variations, and with all the bubbles they entail, are absolutely boundary-less. Moreover, these flows have jumped so far ahead of regulatory control it’s laughable. How do you even know who or what you should be regulating? The transactions are near-instantaneous, largely invisible, and global?

    The latency built into such a convoluted and hair-trigger system is absolutely deadly. The response of the market to the piles of trash that were shoved into these “investments” was months behind – more than enough time to blow the whole thing up when the markdowns finally came due.

    I believe the macro-economic models used in much of academia are near useless at this point. There is all sorts of negative feedback built-in, in the form of sales triggers that generate more sales triggers and so on – right on to collapse. None of that seems to be taken into account in the ballet-like setting for so much of economic research. Time to get serious about regulating the wild gyrations that are built into this dynamical system, real time.

  35. @Oregano: “From what I can grasp you are saying that we have corrupted through insufficient accounting coding the data source that would force proper behavior in matters economic (and by extension all conservative physical systems). However, this presumes that we apply the scientist’s rigor to this, does it not? Even scientists have been known to fudge – or ignore – or interpret incorrectly. It would seem that having an accurate journal and record is not enough when those books are so massive as to be beyond even the most diligent detective’s reach.”

    Let me make two points: Number one is the word ‘bubble’ that is so much in vogue today. In a proper Book-of-Accounts ‘bubble’ would mean ‘Ponzi-Scheme’. A Book-of-Accounts will demonstrate the proof of a Ponzi-Scheme almost immediately because the value created in not in balance with the rights to value’s ownership in exchange. And so the Ponzi Scheme is revealed. The role played by bookkeeping, for the 640 years prior to the past 30 years, when microprocessor software wiped out the proper double-entry process as a method of proof, whose claimed value in trade is balanced by the claimed rights to value’s ownership in exchange. In a ‘bubble’, as ‘ponzi scheme’, the missing value shows up immediately

    Annie has it correct in that there is a discipline to be mastered, complete with a system|language rationale to be distinguished. Trading goods and services is primarily a system. Exchanging rights to ownership is primarily a language. How production’s system-model is integrated into a record of ownership’s language-control has been the bookkeepers tradition since the middle ages. When our society of cultures became computer driven, a potential existed to keep a better set of books than ever existed, but it has not been taken up simply because bookkeeping, by tradition, has always been a folk-science that is generally believed to be ‘bean-counting’. Today’s state of economic affairs are telling a different story.

    I work hard, locally, to demonstrate to ‘science-oriented’ persons that in a computer-driven culture, we can no longer afford a bookkeeping discipline that ‘The-Science-Community’ believes is ‘bean-counting’. Norm Cimon makes the point of boundaries wiped out by a globally connected network. Bookkeeping is in fact a ‘boundary-science’, what’s yours from what’s mine. The boundaries that have been wiped out is proof positive that our present society of cultures is not only not doing bookkeeping, it doesn’t even know what bookkeeping is. I send occasional messages to this list in order to sample whether the tide is changing. I sense now that it is.

  36. One missing element in your double -entry bookkeeping method is the underground economy and its effects on businesses that used to borrow from it to facilitate transactions, and then need to add the fundage back at a later date to keep the money straight. This itself can throw a bookkeeper off balance, and make managing a business a nightmare should just one of a host of bad situations crop up. Having credit available can reduce this calamity, but in a credit crunch you can only juggle real money so far down the road before negative impacts are felt. Right now we are one step away from falling off the cliff.

  37. Hi Owen, I’m cognizant of the underground economy. It will throw an economy off balance, for sure, but its books are either not keep at all, or keep in two separate accountings. Surely the ‘bubble’ economies of the past 30 years are examples of FED supported, underground economies. There are today, likely, more records kept off the books as there are kept on the books. The greatest offenders, dollar-wise, are today’s derivative cultures. MF-Global is also clearly off-the-books bookkeeping. There is plenty that needs to be repaired by applying bookkeeping’s legitimate framework of rules.

  38. I concur, my angle is how best is a flat tax integrated with today’s tax raising system, and without with proper laws to prevent such economy’s from thriving, there is little benefit for humanity, even if the flat tax snowball gains momentum.



  40. @Dan Palanza, thanks for responding. You’ve addressed my concern in your statement:

    “…there is a discipline to be mastered, complete with a system|language rationale to be distinguished. Trading goods and services is primarily a system. Exchanging rights to ownership is primarily a language. How production’s system-model is integrated into a record of ownership’s language-control has been the bookkeepers tradition since the middle ages.”

    This is exactly my point; the discipline to not only apply but to abide by the guidance offered by rigorous principles of proper bookkeeping is not certain, even though the mere existence of such books in a form visible by third parties would be a powerful disincentive to cheat. As owen owens implies, the books have to be quite comprehensive to capture and control all flows, but the biggest problems are at higher levels. This incomplete accounting of the inflows and outflows involved in the products and services we invent has been a huge problem of our entire system for generations; consider the price of the air and water we use and the waste we generate. It’s long been considered free, but only recently, now that we are jepoardizing so many natural systems, are we attempting to assign a realistic value to them.

    Finally, your observations on derivative financial instruments, which have no intrinsic relationship to tangible objects (and with which I agree), begs the question of your opinions on the structure of our monetary system.
    It would seem that a full implementation of proper double entry bookkeeping would not only eliminate, rightly, any derivative financial instrument as a legitimate product, but would doom debt-based monetary systems as well since the value of exchange is not intrinsically related to tangible objects and relies upon projections of economic fitness rather than direct expressions. In other words, debt-based monetary systems are inherently derivative.

  41. @Oregano : It is extremely encouraging to see such intelligent discussion and dialogue appearing here. I would hyper-extend your handle to a gracious “original” as well. Merry Christmas and all that to you!

    I would like to ask you if you would agree with the consideration that ” In other words, debt-based monetary systems are inherently derivative.” is not actually an inversion.

    It seems to me that the opposite is actually true. Derivatives are the absolute absurd dimension of a fiat fractional system itself; taken far out of proportion by finance as a fiat system of “economy” itself.

    I hope I expressed that correctly; and I wonder if it sparks any insight or thoughts from you.

    Incidently, it is refreshing to hear from Oregano and if you have been following this stream for any lenght of time you would know that we have been inundated with excessive complaints of over-seasoned Basil.

  42. @Bruce: perhaps the spice of the season is overseasoned “Basel”… ;-)

    I’m little bit unsure about how to express the inversion of my statement. I think I was trying
    to say the same thing as you have. Let me try again: once you change the definition of money from an equivalence between objects to a measure of confidence in the system expressed through the creation of debt, you open the doors to emphemeral ideas like derivatives. And once you allow private parties to create money, it seems, you accelerate the creation of those ephemera.
    Like Per Kerkowski has said, what’s the purpose of banks?

    It’s Xmas Eve, and I think I will muddle my thinking some more with some hot spiced wine. Peace, everyone.

  43. Oregano: and to all, TOAST!
    No one is above the law: but apparently ….many are muddled… indeed!

    “From Larry Lessig via TechDirt, a stunning set of Venn diagrams laying out the extent of corporate capture of American government via that good old revolving door.”

    Charts of the day: Diagramming corruption
    Posted on 2011 December 24 |

    Happy New Year!

  44. Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
    And never brought to mind?,… ………. lest we forget….this is what is above the law!

    “Mapping Out The Revolving Door Between Gov’t And Big Business In Venn Diagrams
    from the crony-capitalism-is-corruption dept

    Via Larry Lessig we get series of Venn diagrams showing the revolving door between big business and government. When people talk about regulatory capture, this is what they mean. When people talk about corruption and crony capitalism, this is what they mean. If you want a quick visual idea of why so few people trust this government to do the right thing for the people, rather than the big companies, this is why:

    (look who landed on “99”)…..

    Top 100 Corporate Crime Stories of 2011

    100. SEC Delivers First Non Pros Baby
    99. Simon Johnson: Break Up the Big Banks
    98. Grassley Asks: Why are Health Care Fraud Cases Stagnating?
    97. Guidant to Pay $296 Million for FDA Crimes
    96. Former Chase Bank Official Convicted of Taking Bribes
    95. Oregon Sues Johnson & Johnson for Phatom Recall of Motrin
    94. Grain Elevator Deaths Due to Lax OSHA Enforcement
    93. Insider Trading Defendants Avoid Jail in 44 Percent of Cases
    92. Lockheed to Pay $2 Million to Resolve False Claims Charge
    91. Grossman Drafts Legislation to Criminalize the Corporate Form
    90. Pentagon Spent Billions on Companies that Committed Fraud
    89. Legal Challenge to Blanket Immunity in BAE Settlement
    88. Maxwell Gets FCPA Prosecution Deferred, Pays $8 Million Criminal Fine
    87. Nader Calls Jeep Grand Cherokee Modern Day Pinto for Soccer Moms
    86. Oracle to Pay $46 Million To Settle False Claims Charge
    85. Coalition: Negligent Doctors and Big Pharma Should Not Be Shielded
    84. Chevron Found Guilty in Ecuador, Fined $9 Billion
    83. Tyson Foods Gets Prosecution Deferred, Pays $4 Million FCPA Fine
    82. Rolling Stone: Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?
    81. Criminal Investigation Against Mozilo Closed
    80. Horizon Lines to Plead Guilty, Pay $45 Million Criminal Fine
    79. Walmart State and Local Tax Avoidance Exceeds $400 Million Annually
    78. Wheelchair Fraud Results in $6 Million Fine
    77. Feds Intervene in False Claims Case against KBR
    76. Jack Abramoff, Whipping Boy
    75. HHS Fines Cignet Health $4.3 Million
    74. Arch Coal to Pay $4 Million
    73. Forest Pharma Hit with $145 in Criminal Penalties
    72. Goldman Sachs Board Member Charged with Insider Trading
    71. CSPI Urges Feds to Ban Caramel Color from Sodas
    70. Avaya and CIT Group Pay over $16.5 Million To Settle False Claims Case
    69. Two NY York Lawmakers, Albany Lobbyist, Hospital CEOs Busted in Corruption Probe
    68. USA Today: Fines Not Being Collected
    67. The Dark Side of the Cruise Ship Industry and the Silence of The Nation Magazine
    66. Audit Firms: Too Few to Fail?
    65. Astrazeneca to Pay $68.5 to Settle Anti-Psychotic Drug Case
    64. Japan Nuclear Reactor Design Caused GE Scientist to Quit in Protest
    63. Chamber Hires Mukasey to Weaken FCPA
    62. Consol to Pay $5.5 Pollution Fine
    61. French Judge Charges Airbus with Manslaughter
    60. Heart Association Endorses Stomach Surgery after $100K Gift from Lap-Band Maker
    59. IBM to Pay $10 Million to Settle FCPA Action
    58. Samsung SDI to Pay $32 Million Criminal Fine
    57. PG&E to Pay $6 Million Criminal Fine
    56. Occidental Oil to Pay $2 Million in False Claims Case
    55. HHS Launches Health Care Fraud Fugitive List
    54. How Milton Friedman and Chicago Economics Undermined America
    53. Rakoff Rips Neither Admit Nor Deny SEC Settlements
    52. Insider Trading Scandal Hits Congress
    51. Antitrust Institute: T Mobile/AT&T Merger Anti-Competitive
    50. Cell Phones, Brain Cancer and Devra Davis
    49. JGC Gets FCPA Prosecution Deferred, Will Pay $218.8 Million Criminal Penalty
    48. Verizon Pays $93.5 Million To Resolve False Claim Charge
    47. Comverse Technology Gets Non Prosecution FCPA Agreement
    46. Johnson & Johnson Gets FCPA Prosecution Deferred, to Pay $21.4 Million Criminal Penalty
    45. Spitzer Calls on Holder to Prosecute Goldman Sachs or Resign
    44. Stokes Sours on Obama’s Antitrust Effort
    43. Honeywell Pleads Guilty, to Pay $11.8 Million
    42. NPR, Electric Trolleys and Corporate Crime
    41. Warren: Banks Want to Knife Consumer Bureau in the Ribs

    40. DynCorp to Pay $8.7 Million to Settle False Claims Charge
    39. Serono Pays $44 Million to Settle False Claims Charge
    38. UBS Gets Non Pros Agreement, to Pay $160 Million
    37. 29 Coal Miners Dead and Alpha Gets Non Prosecution Agreement
    36. FedEx to Pay $8 Million to Settle False Claims Probe
    35. Andy Cochran and the Coming War Between Constitutionalists and Corporatists
    34. Quest Diagnostics in $241 Settlement
    33. Wall Street Analyst: Goldman Too Big to Prosecute
    32. Fresenius Ordered To Pay $82.6 Million
    31. Friedrichs Baffled by NYT’s Claim That Major Crimes are in Decline (Answer: NYT Didn’t Look at Corporate Crime)
    30. Novo Nordisk to Pay $25 Million to Settle False Claims Charge
    29. Still No Criminal Charge in 2007 Utah Mine Disaster
    28. Whistleblowers Call on Public Interest Groups to Rescind Obama Transparency Award
    29. Fluor Corporation to Pay $4 Million to Settle False Claims Charge
    28. Anadarko, Kerr-McGee To Pay $17 Million to Settle False Claims Charge
    27. JP Morgan to Pay $153.6 Million To Settle SEC Probe
    26. 60 Minutes: Why No Wall Street Prosecutions?
    25. Boeing Overcharged Army Millions for Spare Helicopter Parts
    24. MHSA: Massey Kept Two Sets of Books
    23. State AGs Settle with Glaxo for $40 Million
    22. Antitrust Activists Feel Sucker Punched as Varney Leaves to Cravath
    21. JP Morgan Chase to Pay $92 Million in Bid Rigging Case
    20. Armor Holdings Gets Non Pros FCPA Agreement, to Pay $10 Million Criminal Penalty
    19. Kentucky Nursing Home Accused in Deaths of Five Residents
    18. Richard Grossman 1943-2011
    17. Dickie Scruggs, Huey Long and the Politics of Crime in Mississippi
    16. SEC Charges Liquor Giant Diego with FCPA Violations
    15. Pew Report Hits Water Pollution from Chicken Plants
    14. Wachovia Gets Non Pros Agreement, to Pay $148 Million
    13. Taibbi: Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes?
    12. Jane Barrett on the Need for a Federal Workplace Homicide Statute
    11. Gary Aguirre Says Shut Down the SEC, Start Over
    10. Chevron to Pay $24 Million to Settle SEC Lawsuit
    9. Maxim Healthcare Gets Prosecution Deferred, to Pay $150 Million
    8. Accenture to Pay $68 Million to Settle False Claims Charge
    7. Amoco to Pay $20 Million to Settle False Claims Charge
    6. Oracle to Pay $199 Million to Resolve False Claims Charge
    5. Activists Draft Law to Criminalize Fracking
    4. Judge Rakoff Throws Out SEC/Citigroup Settlement
    3. Pfizer to Pay $14 Million to Settle False Claims Charge
    2. UMW Says UBB Mine Disaster Was Industrial Homicide
    1. Glaxo to Pay $3 Billion to Settle False Claims Charge

    Published on Saturday, December 17, 2011 by Corporate Crime Reporter
    Top 100 Corporate Crime Stories of 2011
    by Russell Mokhiber

  46. This is big gvt and big business at its best, if you think our gvt is working in the interests of its people, its not, its more the destroyer, and will certainly be notorious for that in the future. That’s quite the list you have goin there Bruce, it deserves a breakdown dance.

    On Monday 14th February, after 17 years of legal battle, Chevron, the second largest oil company in the U.S., was ”>found guilty by Ecuadorian courts for massive environmental contamination of the Amazon. Chevron was ordered to pay a fine of $9 billion in damages. This is the largest judgement ever made against a US company for environmental contamination and is the first time that indigenous and farming communities have won judgement in foreign courts against a US Company for environmental crimes abroad.
    “In the wake of the court ruling on Monday, the Goldman Environmental prize winning attorney Pablo Fajardo, who represents the indigenous and farmer communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon, released a statement highlighting Chevron’s “intentional and unlawful contamination of Ecuador’s rainforest”. Here is a brief excerpt:
    “Rather than accept responsibility, Chevron has launched a campaign of warfare against the Ecuadorian courts and the impoverished victims of its unfortunate practices. We call on the company to end its polemical attacks and search jointly with the plaintiffs for common solutions. We believe the evidence before the court deserves international respect and the plaintiffs will take whatever actions are appropriate consistent with the law to press the claims to a final conclusion.”From 1964 to 1990, Chevron made billions of USD in profits through oil extraction in the Ecuadorian Amazon. In the long-running trial in US and Ecuadorian courts, Chevron admitted to deliberately discharging around 18 billion gallons of toxic waste-water into the water systems of the Amazon. The company committed a series of serious environmental crimes, such as spilling 17 million of gallons of pure crude oil from ruptured pipelines and abandoning more than 900 unlined waster pits which leeched toxins, contaminating the air, soil and water. Chevron ordered workers to destroy records of these crimes and never carried out any environmental impact studies.
    Indigenous groups (the six indigenous tribes, the: Cofan, Siona, Secoya, Quichua, Huaorani, and Tetete) living in the Ecuadorian Amazon continue to suffer from the pollution today, with children born with tumours, people dying of cancer and other diseases and more than 9,000 people now at a significant risk of getting cancer in the coming decades. In the courts is was proven that all 378 of Chevron’s well and production sites, which were mostly built in the 1970s, are extensively contaminated.
    Chevron has vowed to appeal the precedent-setting verdict and continues its scorched-earth legal and public relations strategy, which is designed to exhaust all the plaintiffs’ resources and ultimately evade the enforcement of the verdict. In 2010, Chevron spent the most lobbying dollars of any oil company. Oil analysts have said the ruling shows that times are changing: companies have to take environmental concerns seriously.
    However, Chevron’s PR strategy is designed to establish methods for evading the enforcement of legal judgements and to ensure a secure future for the global extractives industry. Examples of tactics Chevron has used include: fake remediation of its waste pits, testing methods designed to deliberately undercount toxins, and its latest tactic – it went back to the court it successfully removed the original lawsuit from almost ten years ago and filed a lawsuit against the victims of its contamination in Ecuador.
    Not only has Chevron destroyed peoples’ lives, it is now accusing them of extortion. Chevron is desperately trying to demonstrate to communities around the world that the pursuit of justice against multinational corporations is futile, but communities continue to resist the devastation of the extractives industry globally.

  47. I couldn’t find the other one #10, but they are on the hook to Brazil for some $8 Billion for bringing crude to shores of Rio. It will come back to bite them in the end.

  48. Nice Job Owen Owens !

    Maybe a slight shift in emphasis would be appropriate at this time?
    New Hampshire voters should draft Hillary

    We argued in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece that President Barack Obama should stand down and let Secretary of State Hillary Clinton run as the Democratic presidential nominee in 2012.

    We are now calling on Democratic voters nationally — particularly in New Hampshire — to organize a write-in campaign for Clinton

    Read more:

  49. These banks have become TBTA i.e Too Big To Anything. For them its a beautiful position to be in. They can just maintain the status quo. You can’t break them up because its too complex and will lead to fall out, you can’t prosecute anything they do because it will impair their balance sheets and cause them to fail. So what do you do? Just let them be, protect them and keep feeding the machine. So any industry that wants to be suckled and protected by the governments of the developed world just needs to get deeply intertwined with people’s lives and get really really big.

  50. I don’t buy Too Big to Breakup. And even if it was a big stinky mess, it’d still be better than letting these bankrupt, wealth-destroying institutions continue on. And if they’re too big to break up, what happens at the inevitable collapse when they’re Too Big to Save?

    Ideally, I’d want to see Glass-Steagal reimposed and a s***load of prosecutions against the executives responsible. And when all the invest arms tank, let them.

  51. @oregano: “Finally, your observations on derivative financial instruments, which have no intrinsic relationship to tangible objects (and with which I agree), begs the question of your opinions on the structure of our monetary system.
    “It would seem that a full implementation of proper double entry bookkeeping would not only eliminate, rightly, any derivative financial instrument as a legitimate product, but would doom debt-based monetary systems as well since the value of exchange is not intrinsically related to tangible objects and relies upon projections of economic fitness rather than direct expressions. In other words, debt-based monetary systems are inherently derivative.”

    The derivative problem, for the bookkeeper, is that gambling-bets are being backed by other people’s money. Gambling is legal when a business entity–a casino–issues chips to its gamblers, and either keeps the price of the chips, or pays the bettor using the dollars that the gamblers paid to the casino. The Casino buys back its own for chips with the bettor’s money. The problem is limited to the relationship between the Casino and its customer. This is fine because the citizenry is not picking up the tab for the losses. Equally important, the national money supply is not adding currency that is not backed by value.

    The example is AIG taking bets to the tune of 1.5 trillion, for which the banks made no meaningful advance payment in order to make their lofty bets. The only possible loser, in the event of a catastrophe here, is the citizens who back the money supply that gets tapped in order to prevent a bank-run caused by excessive losses for which there is no collateral.

    This is different from debt-based monetary systems where customers mortgage a house, or a car, where the value of the house or car is attached and can be resold to pay the debt.

    Bruce E. Woych: “I would like to ask you if you would agree with the consideration that ‘In other words, debt-based monetary systems are inherently derivative.’ is not actually an inversion. It seems to me that the opposite is actually true. Derivatives are the absolute absurd dimension of a fiat fractional system itself; taken far out of proportion by finance as a fiat system of “economy” itself.”

    Oregano: “I’m little bit unsure about how to express the inversion of my statement. I think I was trying
    to say the same thing as you have. Let me try again: once you change the definition of money from an equivalence between objects to a measure of confidence in the system expressed through the creation of debt, you open the doors to ephemeral ideas like derivatives. And once you allow private parties to create money, it seems, you accelerate the creation of those ephemera. Like Per Kerkowski has said, what’s the purpose of banks?”

    The pattern used in bookkeeping for 670 years is two-fold. ‘Cash’ is the measure of value in trade. ‘Capital’ is the expression of rights to ownership in exchange. For every marketplace trade of ‘value’ in ‘cash’, there is a corresponding entry for the exchange of ‘rights’ to the artifact’s ownership. Generally speaking, if what is being trading does not have an immediate cash-value, then the trade|exchange is a gamble by one party to the trade or the other.

    The Ponzi Scheme is its classic example. The promise of an unreliable future payment is exchanged for a promissory note. The note is backed by the potential that enough buyers want to make the same gamble that previous bettors made. Everybody knows the outcome of such a scheme. For the past 30 years the government has been picking up the tab for Ponzi Schemes. What’s worse, it shows no signs of giving up on the process, leaving the one final catastrophic outcome of a global failure of trust.

    Bookkeeping alone has the power to rein in this financial foolishness of gamblers now having enough cash to buy the legislation that keeps their Ponzi Schemes in business.

    Anne is onto the truth. The problem if of ‘Science’ temporarily losing its ‘Light’. The physical sciences have ignored Einstein and bought into probability-science, as OK because it is the best that they can come up with in light of a tricky Quantum phenomena that they have yet to master. Bookkeeping is a ‘real-time’ modeling science that takes Quantum phenomena into its accounting.

    A proper Book-of-Accounts constructs a real-time isomorphy between physical facts, typical of ‘Cash’ versus intellectual ‘Capital’ serving as a check-sum proof (which is where Quantum phenomena comes into play). The bookkeeper ‘interprets’ physical value in trade. In a second operation, the bookkeeper ‘compiles’ intellectual rights in exchange. If the value in trade does not match the rights to ownership being exchange, then the ‘social-science’ is left unbalanced. Every atom and molecule in science, and every life-system, in Nature, must answer to an economically balanced reckoning with its environment, if it is to survive as a ‘Life-system’. What is confusing today’s ‘Science-community’ is that bookkeeping is a ‘Social-science’ whose tricks of the trade, the physical sciences must now draw from in order to use life-systems to teach themselves how Planck’s quantum-addition to ‘science’ actually works.

  52. I already explained how Greece would leave the euro in March. Why all the additional mumbo jumbo, doom and gloom, around the 10 year Italian yield? Its called adding to your leverage.

  53. The title of the article, “No One Is Above The Law,” is the single most ignorant statement that I can recall on an American website. Item: The USA is a government of war criminals–I’m talking black-letter law for any honest adult who can read–past, present, and future, marauding freely, and lucratively. Item: The Geithner-et al. imbroglio retailed by Professor Johnson instantiates what a better social scientist long ago named “the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.” As a class, the bourgeoisie make the rules of the game to suit their needs, while capitalism has evolved into a corporate and oligopolistic system; thus it should come as no surprise that the corporate oligopolists are seen to act with impunity. Johnson’s willful blindness to this dissenting theoretical background, and to its truth, is characteristic of the chummy tunnel vision characteristic of modern American academe when it comes to moral, political and, above all, class questions. Johnson exhibits the uselessness of professional intellectuals for anything better than shilling for the reigning illusions.

  54. “Book V of Aristotle’s Politics describes the eternal transition of oligarchies making themselves into hereditary aristocracies – which end up being overthrown by tyrants or develop internal rivalries as some families decide to “take the multitude into their camp” and usher in democracy, within which an oligarchy emerges once again, followed by aristocracy, democracy, and so on throughout history. Debt has been the main dynamic driving these shifts – always with new twists and turns. It polarizes wealth to create a creditor class, whose oligarchic rule is ended as new leaders (“tyrants” to Aristotle) win popular support by cancelling the debts and redistributing property or taking its usufruct for the state. Since the Renaissance, however, bankers have shifted their political support to democracies. This did not reflect egalitarian or liberal political convictions as such, but rather a desire for better security for their loans.”

  55. Capital Account: Michael Hudson on Europe’s Transition from Democracy to Oligarchy (12/07/11)

  56. “This may seem cliche’, but I wanted to share this personal story with you guys. A “friend of the family”, who is a retired “fed” consultant and has intimate knowledge of global financial systems has been harping on us for the last few years to invest in gold and precious metals, but said something shocking in a conversation yesterday. He is no longer investing in any precious metals and has advised us to invest as heavily as we can in personal commodities, ie: food, firearms, non-gmo seeds, manual implement tools, hand tools, etc…. This type of advice is so out-of-character from this guy, and he was so very serious that it really made me listen. He was also very reserved in the sentiment that this may be the last Thanksgiving that our extended-family can spend together for some time. Like I said, this gentleman has been giving our family very sound financial advice for over 30 years, and this is the first time we have seen this type of reaction to current events. Likewise, he thinks we’ll skate through this holiday season but feels things will drastically start to unravel after the first of the year. Again, I’m not trying to reign down with doom and gloom, but I was so taken back with the seriousness and scale of this conversation that I felt I had to share it with Micheal and his readers. May God bless you and all your families this holiday season.”

  57. And so it goes! The system is foul and toxic. The government is owned and controlled by the predatorclass who stands obdurate and above and beyond the rule of law. There are no laws. Get stocked, locked, cocked, and ready to rock Americans. May the goddess smile on you and yours in 2012. It will be epic!

  58. @Anonymous: I don’t share you type of doom and gloom, the banksters have room to leverage their positions now that we are beyond the 40 to 1 leverage for borrowing gold paper. Sky is the limit for leverage and it is about 100 to 1 now, they can go to 1000 and more and they only increase the hardness of the inevitable crash.(which is when they have no more tangible gold to leverage) The timing is questionable and it will be a slow pain for the poor, but a quick hard landing for the rich because once the one is gone, its all leveraged to zero. And even 10,000 to zero is still zero, so you suddenly find yourself paper broke. This is another reason why helocopter Ben keeps rates at .25, he doesn’t have the heart to take it to zero.

  59. “Here’s what [international bank analyst Martin Weiss] sees in the near future: “An historic world-changing event is about to crush the U.S. economy and stock market.” Weiss Ratings was the first to downgrade U.S. debt — before the ratings agencies. Weiss has 500,000 readers because he’s been making solid market predictions for 40 years: The 1980s S&L crisis, the dot-com crash in the ’90s, the 2008 credit meltdown and now the new European bank crisis.”

  60. “The real story, which the mainstream media is neglecting, is that there are signs of an underground run on Europe’s banks. Almost nobody’s talking about it, but there are indications money is already moving out of the European Union (EU) faster than rats abandoning a sinking ship.”

  61. “Try to wrap your mind around the amount Draghi gave away just last week; nearly $600 billion! Apart from TARP, this is the biggest heist on record, and yet, people still can’t figure out what’s going on. I’ll tell you what’s going on. The people are getting fleeced bigtime. How much more do you need to know? But this was a bond bubble, pure and simple; brought on by easy lending, unregulated capital flows, and poor risk management. And now the bubble has popped, which is why the banks are sinking fast. They bought this crap (bonds) from Greece, Portugal etc. to make a few more bucks and failed to see the risks. And, they got burned. So what? That’s capitalism, right? “You pays your money and you takes your chances”. No whining. But banks and bondholders are not allowed to lose money anymore, right? Even if they’re the ones who inflated bond prices to begin with, and even if they’re the one’s whose balance sheets are presently underwater due to their own stupidity. So, we have to change the whole system to accommodate them, which is why their agents–like Draghi–occupy all the positions of power, so reckless speculators won’t have to suffer the consequences of their poor choices. This is what we’re up against; a small group of obscenely rich people who have totally rigged the system and who are grabbing more and more of the wealth for themselves while they preach austerity to everyone else. Even so, it’s pretty amazing when people get ripped-off for $600B and it doesn’t even make the headlines.”

  62. Perverse/Legal machinations:
    “The ECB is borrowing U.S. Dollars from the Fed to bailout European banks. And that is in addition to the Long Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO). However, the “borrowing” is not called “borrowing.” It’s called a “temporary U.S. dollar liquidity swap arrangement.” Yet it is really borrowing because it’s going massively in one direction for the purpose of giving the ECB Dollars to lend to European banks, so the ECB can avoid lending more Euros. The ECB doesn’t want to tarnish its “inflation fighting” reputation and further devalue the Euro. Instead, the Fed is taking billions of Euros as collateral for the Dollar swap. As Gerald P. O’Driscoll Jr., former vice president and economic advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and senior fellow at the Cato Institute, wrote in the WSJ (The Federal Reserve’s Covert Bailout of Europe): “The ECB would also prefer not to create boatloads of new euros, since it wants to keep its reputation as an inflation-fighter intact. To mitigate its euro lending, it borrows dollars to lend them to its banks. That keeps the supply of new euros down. This lending replaces dollar funding from U.S. banks and money-market institutions that are curtailing their lending to European banks—which need the dollars to finance trade, among other activities.”
    U.S. Banks and financial institutions do not want to lend European Banks more Dollars, and it would look bad for the Fed to do this unpopular lending directly, so the Fed has found an indirect route: “The two central banks are engaging in this roundabout procedure because each needs a fig leaf. The Fed was embarrassed by the revelations of its prior largess with foreign banks. It does not want the debt of foreign banks on its books. A currency swap with the ECB is not technically a loan.” In exchange for Euros as collateral, the ECB gets non-technically loaned Dollars which it then lends to European banks. The additional Dollars flowing to the EU banks enable the ECB not to release more Euros to the EU banks and into circulation. According to O’Driscoll, this “Byzantine financial arrangement” was designed perfectly to confuse people.”

  63. @Woych, “We argued in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece that President Barack Obama should stand down and let Secretary of State Hillary Clinton run as the Democratic presidential nominee in 2012.”

    This is *noise* – she doesn’t even want to be Secretary of State anymore – so what’s the point of drafting her…?! And she blew it – big time – as head diplomat for USA, imo, with the way she jumped into commenting on Russia’s elections being rigged…lost all her credibility as a *serious* leader representing USA interests…she has no idea what insanity she is doing by attempting to destabilize Russia as agent acting on behalf of the all-powerful, all-knowing Israel lobby and their religious *secret* mission….HUGE folly….the Russian dudes in power LAUGHED at her….

  64. @Woych – the Corporate Crime Reporter website should *follow da $$$$* all the way – who gets to keep the fine $$$?

    It’s a closed circle once in the bag….so these fines are a total joke on so many levels – more evidence of tax payer $$$ being sucked up to be sucked into the bankster’s bag…

    Big pharma is CLEARLY a renegade industry at this point – “false advertising” is NOT what it should be called…

  65. “I have learned that watching what people do is much more important than listening to what they say. Back in 2008, financial authorities in the United States insisted that everything was gone to be okay. But we all know now that was a lie. Well, right now financial authorities in the U.S. and Europe are once again trying to assure us that everything is under control and that we are not headed for a global recession. Unfortunately, their actions are telling a very different story. All over the world, bailouts are flying around as if the end of the world is coming. Governments and central banks are stepping in with gigantic mountains of money to prop up bond yields, major banks and even stock markets. What we have seen over the past few months has been absolutely unprecedented. So why are such desperate measures being taken if everything is going to be just fine? Unfortunately, debt problems are never solved with more debt, so these bailouts really aren’t solving anything. We are still headed for a massive amount of financial pain. It would just be nice if the authorities would quit lying to us and would actually admit how bad things really are.”

  66. “Pretty soon, the debt is so huge, that any disruption in the flow of business, and the whole Ponzi-debt pyramid comes tumbling down. Presently, the ECB is trying to keep that pyramid in place by inflating the value of the dodgy bonds with injections of 3-year liquidity. These loans will never be repaid. Now take a look at this from the Wall Street Journal:
    “Even after the European Central Bank doled out nearly half a trillion euros of loans to cash-strapped banks last week, fears about potential financial problems are still stalking the sector. One big reason: concerns about collateral: The only way European banks can now convince anyone—institutional investors, fellow banks or the ECB—to lend them money is if they pledge high-quality assets as collateral. Now some regulators and bankers are becoming nervous that some lenders’ supplies of such assets, which include European government bonds and investment-grade non-government debt, are running low. If banks exhaust their stockpiles of assets that are eligible to serve as collateral, they potentially could encounter liquidity problems. That is what happened this fall to Franco-Belgian lender Dexia SA, which ran out of money and required a government bailout.” (“European Bank Worry: Collateral”, Wall Street Journal) So, the banks don’t have money and they don’t have good collateral. And the reason they don’t have good collateral is because they’ve been posting the same collateral over and over again to increase leverage. So, it’s all a sham; they’re upside down and headed for trouble. Here’s more from the same article: “In addition to fears that the banks might simply run out of eligible collateral, some bankers and regulators worry that the banks’ growing reliance on “secured lending” will make it harder for the industry to return to its past practice of funding itself by issuing unsecured bonds. That could result in a permanent funding scarcity…..Since this summer, it has been virtually impossible for banks to issue unsecured bonds, because investors view European banks as risky investments. In the second half of 2011, European banks issued a total of about $80 billion of senior unsecured bonds, according to data provider Dealogic. That compares to $240 billion in the same period last year and $257 billion in 2009.” (“European Bank Worry: Collateral”, Wall Street Journal) Financial journalists love to make this stuff sound harder than it really is. Look, this is simple. No one is trading with the banks because everyone knows they’re broke. When the author says that the banks’ “growing reliance on “secured lending” will make it harder for the industry to return to its past practice of funding itself by issuing unsecured bonds”; what he means is that the banks funding-model is kaput, because the bonds the banks own are losing value and no sane person will accept them in exchange for cash-money. So, the banksters are out of luck; they have to take their begging bowl to the ECB for handouts. And that’s where we are right now.”

  67. @woop – I love the way the money-gods doing their own work, ala MF Global, always conduct a *surge* of religious persecution right before “christmas” (Jesus was born on AUgust 21st – go figure)….they start out by noting the “human imperfections” of Scrooge – he was not tough enough in extracting the *contract* debts…

    And when *political correctness* did not work, the other monkey brain made up excuse got trotted out, free speech was a national security threat – no truth, beauty or goodness ALLOWED by law. People proclaim THEMSELVES above the law when it is a religious persecution – the money god’s in charge of SPEECH…

    From an article about THE flash point:

    “…..When citizens are silenced, fraud and corruption from the financial sector to building safety, go unchecked with disastrous consequences for economy and society. This year the world has been rocked by a Tunisian fruit seller who refused to let his voice go unheard…..”

    We need a Nuremberg Trial for those who proclaimed themselves “above the law” – nothing else will *save* the spirit of USA…

  68. Follow the bouncing ball…

    So now MF Global will give the list of client names who are broke from doing business with the Gov/Senator to their partners in crime at debt collection agencies – those agencies filled with *immigrants* asking what they can do for their *lord*, er, country…..yes, life is not *fair*, immigrants from the *greatest generation* were never given the wonderful economic opportunity to have a job extracting HONEST labor’s fruits via telephone and “civil law” erected during decades of tax policy….

    “….breaking fingers since 1927….”

    We’re definitely going to need a different kind of accounting of MATERIAL WORLD *value* to beat Caesar’s swords back into ploughshares – but first we need to figure out if Caesar is still sane enough to “get it” – what BELONGS to him…

    And we’ll also need *scientists* who can figure out how to do it…

  69. Interesting comment Annie. Recall the movie ‘Viva Zapata’. The revolutionaries take control, only to find that the political failure continues unabated with a new set of revolutionary faces playing the leadership roles. There is a lesson in this for all of us here in The U.S.A. The social balance that has been destroyed by runaway microprocessor technology, over the past 30 years, will remain destroyed until the computer’s control language is reprogrammed to generate and to follow fair and equitable rules. It is important to understand that software has legislated the rules that have gotten us into the deepest pockets of today’s failures.

    Hopefully, renewal will be a return to The Golden Rule, as software that incorporates microprocessor computers using reasoning that is programmed to generate fair and equitable social behavior. For that to happen, taking down the present leadership will not bring change worth believing in. Change worth believing in will come by building a new social architecture that evolves into a proper leadership, as a bottom up pattern. That architecture will take time to build–possibly more time than it took to be destroyed.

    Occupy Wall Street is a step in the right direction, provided that the group in protest understands the complexity of initiating and bringing to fruition the enduring set of cultural patterns that will restore fair and equitable solutions. The history of double-entry bookkeeping offers the best framework that I know of, if we are to return to being a civil, and constitutionally accountable Nation.

    Alan Turing argued that the computer’s fundamental pattern is a ‘universal-machine’ in two modes of reasoning. A mechanical machine interprets a model of behavior that a programmed plan sets out to achieve. The machine is complemented by a ‘tape’, where ‘tape’ is metaphor for ‘recorded and reusable information’: reusable history of the ‘machine’s’ behavior.

    In bookkeeping the ‘machine’ is a system of ‘debtor-value’; the ‘tape’ is a language of ‘creditor-rights’. (this is where the ‘double’ in ‘double-entry’ comes from: ‘value’ is always equivalent to ‘rights’) As programmed instructions call upon the machine to generate the model of a desired outcome, a complementary mode of programmed instructions, calls upon the tape to design a control pattern that, once a history is recorded, regenerates behavior that the ‘control-tape’ recorded.

    Because this is all programmed into code, the community of users can tweak the control-code in small ways, in order to generate incremental solutions that would be difficult to enact any other way. Hopefully some among us will be able to switch our focus away from the toxic losses that are so difficult to bear, and place out focus upon what will restore what has been lost. The microprocessor driven computer has hurt us quite badly. The good news it that the microprocessor driven computer can also save us in a grand sort of way. When that happens, the computer’s software will be a proper Book-of-Accounts whose patterns have evolved into practice over the course of 670 years, only to be abandoned in the 1970s with the introduction of the microprocessor.

    There is no evidence of any microprocessor driven computer today using the proper bookkeeping pattern-language. Rather than attacking our failed leadership, we will be far better off if we commit to learning the history of bookkeeping, along with the issues that must be resolved if we are to apply its wisdom to restoring civility here in our cherished homeland.

  70. Nuremberg with swift meting of American justice, Annie, for the Firefighters who answered with clear eyes and steadfastness of purpose. They think some things can be torn asunder, but a far deeper spirituality will see things in an entirely different way, which means no dark triumph for the purveyors of wickedness.

    FDNY…..may you go forward in blessed peace.

  71. @Dan P – even without crunching the numbers in a proper Book of Accounts, it seemed CLEAR to everyone that with 7 billion people on the planet – ranging in lifestyles from moon-walkers to natives in Namibia who served Anthony Bourdain food they cooked by throwing it directly in the fire – the war booty for the USA was NOT worth the cost in VALUE – you can’t build so much stuff that does only one thing – KILL others. I remember news discussions during the arms race era where the bragging rights depended on how many times you could blow up the world – ie. USA can blow up the world 10 times, USSR only 7. And not a single sane voice on TV was ALLOWED to question the *science* – so what is the point? – you blow up the world once and you’re done, right? Why build stuff to do it 10 times? Isn’t that a waste of *value*? And who *owns* the stuff now and what is its re-cycle *value*…?

    Look, you stand up, face a billion people in the eye on TeeVee, and proclaim yourself ABOVE the law, well, even those natives in Namibia (German dude married one female from the tribe and still did not give her a frying pan as a wedding present because he did not want to pollute her tribe’s culture, go figure…)

    even they would want some proof of your *divinity* besides the fact that you are the most ambitious liar, thief and murderer – so create a potato from the god particle or something else unseen in thin air that’s *quantum* – and then a pot to cook it in – if not actually a sign of divinity, at least proof of doing *god’s work* – especially the quantum potato :-))

    We need an energy plan (no more WASTE), tax codes that make it possible to collect taxes while the fiat $$$ is still tumbling around the e-matrix and not via the IRS, and we need to BURN the Patriot Act which deleted 1000 years of evolution of *justice* – habeus corpus.

    So vote for me. I’ll get it done by going to Warehouse 13 and using the magic GWB pen :-)

    @woop – Seriously, we have a DUTY to contain the damage of bold faced iniquity.

  72. @Annie:: “even without crunching the numbers in a proper Book of Accounts…”

    The proper Book-of-Accounts is both numbers that ‘count’ and words that ‘account’. That is the basis of ‘double-entry’. The two modes of reasoning, one a system, the other a language, supply to one another a method of checks and balances. Simply said, for every crunching of numbers there is a corresponding checksum in words. The count is arithmetical; the account is grammatical. Unfortunate excesses, which you ably describe, may be indicating past generations that, like us today, did not take the physical effort, nor the intellectual time, to learn how an optimum set of books is balanced. Your examples surly give cause for reflection that argues for reflection upon how to fix our problem.

  73. Occupy Everywhere: The Movement Against Corporate Power | The New School for Public Engagement
    Occupy Everywhere: An excellent discussion
    Posted on 2011 December 29 | Leave a comment
    A fascinating discussion about the Occupy movement held in New York 10 November at the New School. The program notes:

    A discussion featuring award-winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore (Here Comes Trouble), best-selling author and Nation columnist Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine), Nation National Affairs correspondent William Greider (Come Home, America), Colorlines Publisher Rinku Sen (The Accidental American), Occupy Wall Street Organizer Patrick Bruner and Richard Kim, executive editor, The (moderator).

    We’re particularly taken with the remarks of William Greider, perhaps the best journalist ever employed by the Washington Post, and Naomi Klein.
    Greider places the Occupy movement in historical perspective, and Klein offers a harsh dose of realism. Her remarks are especially apt given that they were made five days before New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg evicted Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park.

  74. It would take abit more than time to create the world of global research, it takes the hard radical view all the time, where today’s progress moves at a snails pace.

  75. “The major developments I missed regarding 2011 included:

    * The self-immolation of a young Tunisian man set off revolutions around the globe, toppling U.S. supported dictators in Tunisia and Egypt. Dictators attempted to retain power by killing citizens by the thousands. The self-immolation of a man in New Hampshire in front of a courthouse was completely ignored by the mainstream media. I wonder why.
    * The Arab Spring has resulted in revolutions in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and Libya. Depending upon how much oil was at stake, the U.S. has supported the dictator or the people whenever it suited them. This is called democratic principles.
    * Young people across the U.S. were inspired by the Arab Spring and began to Occupy Wall Street and many other streets in 97 other U.S. cities this past Fall. The spirit of these protests was against Wall Street criminality, Washington corruption, and corporate malfeasance. Peaceful civil disobedience by citizens of this country was met with beatings, tear gas, mass arrests and bulldozing their encampments. Students were maced while sitting in front of a college building. Ultimately a Department of Homeland Security coordinated attack on all the protests squashed the movement. The American people were too distracted by Dancing With the Stars and the latest iGadget to notice. The corporate media did their part by spewing misinformation and propaganda about the Occupy Movement, while the Wall Street Elite giggled with delight from their NYC penthouse suites.
    * Shockingly, no bankers were prosecuted despite clear unequivocal evidence of the greatest financial fraud in world history. The former head of Goldman Sachs, U.S. Senator, and NJ Governor continues to eat caviar and drink champagne in his glorious mansion after stealing $1.2 billion directly from customers’ accounts. These funds now reside in the pocket of Jamie Dimon and his upstanding JP Morgan institution.
    * The Federal government methodically moved closer to a totalitarian regime by passing legislation that will enable them to imprison U.S. citizens without charges. The only remaining area that has allowed critical thinking Americans to find the truth – the Internet – is on the verge of being locked down by the Feds. Pending legislation will allow them to shut down any website that may inconvenience their agenda. We inch ever closer to Orwell’s vision of the future.”

  76. Happy New Year!

    @Dan P, “…The physical sciences have ignored Einstein and bought into probability-science, as OK because it is the best that they can come up with in light of a tricky Quantum phenomena that they have yet to master….”

    And, “When the rules of double-entry are followed, The Ponzi scheme is immediately revealed. Even when Ponzi’s Scheme collapses, as in WorldCom, Enron, Lehman, and now MF-Global, the full truth beneath the failure is not revealed even by the postmortem evidence.
    The computer offers a potential for a massive advance in society’s productivity. Instead the reverse has happened. Poverty has increased, and an immanent collapse of our entire society of cultures threatens.”

    Following the bouncing ball of thought, managing risk has disappeared from the plans and procedures of those trying to work with the *physical sciences* – what IS. The only *risk* being managed is being able to steal as much $$$$ as possible from as many people as possible until the Ponzi implodes.

    Law was the only vaccination against such rabid greed, and D.elusional C.ity has stopped the law…

    But analyzing risk is crucial to *rebuilding* an economy that is not predatory and delusional and poverty manufacturing. The example du jour is that pipe-dream XL pipe line (I perceive it to just be another Solyndra-like scam in the making) – the RISK to the water table – in a SANE world – would be viewed as *too risky* because of the damage to the veins and arteries (water) of LIFE, first, and second, it goes straight through the agriculture center of our *economy*. It’s not an Energy Plan, it’s another selfish and wanton waste and destruction of LIFE resources – resources that already tamed the *Quantum phenomena” of H2O, so to speak, and are *user friendly*.

    So I question whether there is any need to expend so much *think tank* effort on *managing* Quantum phenomena when there is no proof to suggest that the pursuit of taming the *quantum* is anything other than a search for something BETTER than a Ponzi Scheme…

    really? *unexpected* quantum phenomena….?

    Can’t allow Congresspeople to go back to D.C. to keep stealing and hurting us in 2012….let’s see how they like their own law of *indefinite detention*….

  77. @Simon says: “Jon Huntsman, the only candidate with a credible plan to break up big banks, is currently polling 13 percent in New Hampshire (although Nate Silver sees hope).” …

    How Freedom Became Tyranny

    December 19, 2011
    “Rightwing libertarians have turned “freedom” into an excuse for greed and exploitation.

    By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 20th December 2011

    Freedom: who could object? Yet this word is now used to justify a thousand forms of exploitation. Throughout the rightwing press and blogosphere, among thinktanks and governments, the word excuses every assault on the lives of the poor, every form of inequality and intrusion to which the 1% subject us. How did libertarianism, once a noble impulse, become synonymous with injustice?

    In the name of freedom – freedom from regulation – the banks were permitted to wreck the economy. In the name of freedom, taxes for the super-rich are cut. In the name of freedom, companies lobby to drop the minimum wage and raise working hours. In the same cause, US insurers lobby Congress to thwart effective public healthcare; the government rips up our planning laws(1); big business trashes the biosphere. This is the freedom of the powerful to exploit the weak, the rich to exploit the poor.

    Right-wing libertarianism recognises few legitimate constraints on the power to act, regardless of the impact on the lives of others.”
    How Freedom Became Tyranny

    December 19, 2011

  79. @Anonymous – The comments from the peanut gallery on this site certainly are tame compared to zerohedge site :-)) – same *trend*, though, in focusing in on the key issues – from the article, “…Shockingly, no bankers were prosecuted despite clear unequivocal evidence of the greatest financial fraud in world history. The former head of Goldman Sachs, U.S. Senator, and NJ Governor continues to eat caviar and drink champagne in his glorious mansion after stealing $1.2 billion directly from customers’ accounts. These funds now reside in the pocket of Jamie Dimon and his upstanding JP Morgan institution….”.

    Shocking, indeed. You would have thought that at least some of those contractor “property assessors” with clipboards who went around kicking in the door of the home while people were in it – people, btw, who were on time with mortgage payments, but the bank was telling them they should be doing a short sale on the home – could have been hired to do some *legal* physical intimidation…and if the bankers are *innocent*

    (pausing to give everybody a minute to stop laughing)

    well, golly gee wiz, it was a clerical error, we made a mistake, Mr. Big, no one’s perfect…I’m sure you’ll *find* the misplaced 1.2 billion misplaced into the wrong e-account….

    No one is even trying SALT anymore – just an anti-abortion fanatic who wants to get into a nuclear war in messupotamia so he’s running for President and moving ahead in the polls in Iowa (what the heck are they smoking in Iowa….?)

    No laws, no treaties. Just a clipboard and a pair of steel-tipped boots….

    You can hear the Nihilist’s happy spunk shot hitting the walls in Iowa….

  80. “When it comes to corruption, cronyism and general muppetry in Washington D.C., the only real question is ‘where does one start?’ Yet one has to start somewhere to conclude with a list of the ten most corrupt and despicable marionettes in D.C. Which is precisely what JudicialWatch has done in its annual compilation of the “Top 10 Most Corrupt Politicians in Washington D.C.” for 2011. And confirming what everyone knows, that both the left and right are merely irrelevant names for the same general social affliction, or should we call it by its true name – wealth pillage – the split is even between democrats and republicans. In no particular order, the winners of 2011 are…

    * Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL)
    * Former Senator John Ensign (R-NV)
    * Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
    * Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA)
    * Rep. David Rivera (R-FL)
    * Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
    * Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
    * Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)

    And of course:

    * Attorney General Eric Holder
    * President Barack Obama”

  81. @anonymous – “…These are surreal times, to say the least. In all honesty, I can not get my head around all that’s happening….”

    It’s Nihilism – philosophically, economically and politically. Stealing and destroying the producers of SANITY and happiness…there is no rational explanation and no cure for rabid greed…

    “Nihilism ( /ˈnaɪ.ɨlɪzəm/ or /ˈniː.ɨlɪzəm/; from the Latin nihil, nothing) is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.[1] Moral nihilists assert that morality does not inherently exist, and that any established moral values are abstractly contrived. Nihilism can also take epistemological, metaphysical, or ontological forms, meaning respectively that, in some aspect, knowledge is not possible, or that contrary to popular belief, some aspect of reality does not exist as such.”

    And here is the official RELIGION being erected after all meaning has been negated:

    “…..In the beginning there was $$$$ and then came LIFE….”

    And the new *god* is incapable and unwilling to *create* anything PERFECTLY life sustaining – like a potato :-) for instance….everything is about having total DOMINION over the free will of man…

    Human beings have the RIGHT to make their lives less miserable through HONEST WORK (life sustaining – not SELF sustaining in GAGA fashion)…

    Bottom line of lawlessness, nihilist-style…?

    Only the PREDATORS have the right to be free – anyone CIVILIZED is to be caged or eliminated.

    Don’t send them back to D.C. – seriously – for what reason? To keep writing insane laws….?

    Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change 1/2

    Books of Our Time host, Lawrence R. Velvel, Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law, interviews Stephen Kinzer, author of Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. This book is about years of America bringing about governmental change in many sovereign nations.

  83. Two corroborating articles were not posted due to censorship policies of wordpress and the people involved with this blog site who overrule all decisions about what constitutes free speech. Both articles were compiled by independent reporter Wayne Madsen. So if there were some notion that our government operates above the law…you wouldn’t hear about it from this censored blog.

  84. (multiple links here you may want to review)

    Stephen Kinzer is a United States author and newspaper reporter. He is a veteran New York Times correspondent who has reported from more than fifty countries on five continents. During the 1980s he covered revolution and social upheaval in Central America. In 1990, he was promoted to bureau chief of the Berlin bureau and covered the growth of Eastern and Central Europe as they emerged from Soviet rule. He was also New York Times bureau chief in Istanbul (Turkey) from 1996 to 2000. He currently teaches journalism and United States foreign policy at Boston University

    (Judge for yourself…Kinzer is the rel thing in my opinion)

  85. Product Details
    Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer (Feb 6, 2007)
    (138 customer reviews)

  86. “Doug Casey Addresses Getting Out of Dodge: L: Doug, a lot of readers have been asking for guidance on how to know when it’s time to exit center stage and hunker down in some safe place. Few people want to hide from the world in a cabin in the woods while life goes on in the mainstream, but nobody wants to get caught once the gates clang shut on the police state the US is becoming. How do you know when it’s time to go?”

  87. You know I read that whole piece and really enjoyed it until the end suggestions. I imagine that it suits some peoples lifestyles, but for a person like me who has never had a meal outside the country, and is not afraid of the law, i’d rather take my chances in a small plane before drifting overseas. I’ve been to all but 4 states and have no doubt that I could hide well in any part of the country, if need be. And the world is a smaller place these days for the career criminal at heart.

  88. I’ll find you, owen owens :-)) You never saw me when I was next to you. Being *invisible* to devil ass kissing Nihilists is a huge advantage….

    “….head games, keep playing them head games….”

  89. Go long spirits, among other things in 2012. Incisive clip from a ZH commenter named “acrabbe” on the Casey post referred to above (unable to provide the comment’s direct link):

    “I want to be careful what I say here because I am not naive to the machinations of the police state. But it has to be said. If you care about your country enough to stick around and andure what is coming, you are GOING to have to die on your feet or live on your knees. I’m sorry. Unless there is some kind of dna shift and subsequent spiritual awakening through activation of the pineal, the acceleration of the accelerating downward trend will continue and bring the sh*t this year, 2012. It looks really bad. 9/11 was mind-blowing. The Fema stuff and the NDAA looks ominous. I think it’s going to get pretty ugly. In fact, if you don’t have resource preparations I contend that you only have 2 to 3 months before necessary goods will be very difficult to get ahold of. I’ve seen a little unpleasantness in my time and I assure you that if/once it starts en masse on the US mainland you will wish you were somewhere else. Therefore, make sure you really want to be wherever you intend on being. And if you can’t leave because of irreconcilable constraints, then do what you can to prepare and make peace with your God.”

  90. @Anonymous – So all out Nihilism instead of heading out to your local Town Hall to attend to your community’s collective needs (ie. *government*)? Participatory democracy to patch up the school’s roof is against LOCAL police regulations…?

    What PLANET are you people from….?

    Nuremberg Trial is needed, not a Presidential Election funded by corp-personhoods….

    Get Israel and Iran to sign on to the non-proliferation treaty – why all the sturm and drang…?

    And even if they don’t, let’s remind everyone that the WarLords already have enuffstuff to blow up the whole world not just once, but approximately 5 times over….although verifying that fact after the world is blown up once will be hard to do :-))

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