“Truth: It’s the new hate speech “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell.
We all should be comforted to know that the U.S. Department of Justice has its priorities in order, and is hot on the trail of evil doers. For instance, we just found out that DOJ will not tolerate (some) brigands who lie to Congress. You may be surprised to find that is a crime. It is not a crime Congress applies to its own members, who brazenly lie to each other at the drop of a hat. But if you are a mere citizen hauled before Congress to testify on some inane or even substantial matter, you better mind your manners and either speak straight, or use the patented Hillary Clinton massive-memory-loss method of testifying.
The latest alleged criminal liar is former professional baseball great Roger Clemens, who is being tried in the D.C. District Court. The DOJ is re-trying Clemens for lying to Congress about his steroid use. (There was a mistrial the first time due to unethical and overzealous Assistant U.S. Attorneys offering excluded evidence in front of the jury.)
Clemens allegedly lied to a congressional committee in 2008 by denying using steroids and human growth hormone. One might well wonder why Congress had time for that investigation but not basic matters like passing a balanced budget. But, hey, delving into the seamier side of professional baseball is much more interesting and does not require much thought. Just put on show hearings and sic DOJ on those who do not play the game.
As to DOJ, Attorney General Eric Holder knows where the media interest is and what plays with his ideological base, so misguided priorities like this are his acme. For example, Holder’s attorneys are gung ho to sue Arizona, Utah, and Alabama for enforcing immigration laws, yet look the other way when San Francisco and like minded cities declare immigration law null and void.
Holder’s guys also have been remarkably uninterested in revealing why the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Agency was allowed to pressure border state firearms dealers to sell guns to ATF agents, contrary to law. Those guns were then funneled to Mexican drug cartels. This was “Operation Fast and Furious”, which was based on some hare brained idea of smoking out illegal arms dealers. It did not. What it did, was flood northern Mexico with guns. Those guns were tied to murders and lesser crimes on both sides of the border, including the murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents. So far DOJ has been fast and furiously refusing to deliver related documents to Congress, and Holder has been caught in red hot lies to the solons. No worries though, at least the lying was not about steroid use.
Also from EG’s cross border antics department, word that DOJ and DEA have warned California against allowing its citizens to grow or hold user amounts of medicinal marijuana, even while DOJ is less than aggressive in policing the big drug shipments floating up from the south. You can be “fer or agin” the California marijuana laws, but with our southern border being a sieve for tons of dangerous drugs, sure seems the DOJ is not just barking up the wrong tree, but is not even in the right forest. It is all, ahem, part of that “Let’s not appear racist by enforcing our immigration laws” concept DOJ so loves.
Or how about the biggest crime the DOJ has ignored so far this year? The Associated Press reports that “Former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine could face a lawsuit from the trustee trying to recover $1.6 billion in customer money from the collapse of the brokerage MF Global.
“Corzine, a former U.S. senator and CEO of the investment bank Goldman Sachs, took the top job at MF Global after losing a bid for re-election as New Jersey governor in 2009.
“He hoped to remake MF Global from a modest brokerage firm into a Wall Street powerhouse. But it filed for bankruptcy protection, crippled by disastrous bets on European debt, less than two years after Corzine became CEO.
“The bankruptcy was the eighth-largest in the United States and the largest on Wall Street since the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.
“About $1.6 billion was found to be missing from client accounts when the company failed. Much of the missing money belonged to farmers, ranchers and other business owners who used MF Global to reduce their risks from fluctuating prices of commodities such as corn and wheat.”
That’s right. Imagine your local bank making some “bad bets” and raiding the depositors savings accounts? A crime? You bet, but apparently it is OK if you are the Administration’s biggest campaign fundraiser, like Jon is.
What AP did not add is that Corzine reports he and his helpers just have no idea where the money went. When the Gallos transferred some money from our investment account to our savings account in another financial institution a few months ago, we had to fill out federal paperwork explaining why, and there was a delay to ensure the transfer was not to further some shadowy terrorist plot. That was our own money. Yet Jon Corzine can disappear $1.6 billion of off-limits customer money, and at best mainstream media, DOJ, and Congressional interest is tepid.
Though DOJ looked the other way, it was still such a big story that Congress felt compelled to put on a hearing. Old Jon showed up and clearly lied about having no idea about anything. But both Republicans and Democrats could hardly be more courteous to the former Senator. After all, this was a Wall Street Master of the Universe, not some tawdry steroid user lying to them; got to have your priorities straight.
Notice when it comes to high finance both parties are cookie-cutter accommodating to Wall Street. Since 2008 – if it was needed – we have seen plenty of proof that in Washington the bi-partisan loyalties are to keeping big government big, and Wall Street well fed on taxpayer money, lest Wall Street have to worry about actual consequences for their crazy “investments” in derivatives.
Have we seen any prosecutions at all from the 2008 financial meltdown? There were plenty coming out of the Savings and Loan crashes in the 1980’s, but those were not the Wall Street big guys.
Years after President Obama and Congress vowed to do something to pare down the “too big to fail” banks, after delivering untold billions of dollars to bail them out, the nation’s largest banks are bigger than they were before the nation’s credit markets froze.
Today’s 6,291 commercial banks are less than half the number that existed in 1984, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. There are a lot of dangerously big “mid sized banks." But it is the too-big-to-fails which have really gone off the Jenny Craig plan.
Andrew Harrer at Bloomberg News reported that five banks -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. , Bank of America Corp. , Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. , and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. -- held $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy, according to central bankers at the Federal Reserve.
“Five years earlier, before the financial crisis, the largest banks’ assets amounted to 43 percent of U.S. output. The Big Five today are about twice as large as they were a decade ago relative to the economy, sparking concern that trouble at a major bank would rock the financial system and force the government to step in as it did in 2008 with the Fed-assisted rescue of Bear Stearns Cos. by JPMorgan and with Citigroup and Bank of America after the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the largest in U.S. history.”
When we taxpayers waded in to bail out the too-big-to-fails, the financial media little noted that despite massive losses, the big banks still saw fit to reward their failed traders and top staff with huge bonuses, and have done so every year since then. Clearly they knew no one in the government cared.
Supposedly the payoff for the bailouts was new tough regulations from the same Barney Frank and Chris Dodd whose Congressional shenanigans were the driving force behind the housing disaster and resulting financial crash. But at best the regulations are a shadow of what the Administration claims. Treasury Secretary Tim-boy Geitner – a Goldman Sachs alum – swears the new capital reserve rules are really tough, if not downright draconian. Yet we find out last week that the European derivatives J.P. Morgan is exposed to actually, when “marked to market” (real value), dwarf the U.S. GDP.
So how do you reconcile those two facts? It is like this: Imagine you want to get a loan by using your house as collateral. The bank asks you how much you owe on your house, and what it is worth. Despite you knowing the assessed value is $200K, you say “”I owe $250K but the house is worth $2 million!” What proof do you have it is worth that much? Why, your say-so. You are allowed to “mark it to model,” instead of to its real worth on the real estate market. Sweet, yes? Well sure, but you would not be allowed to do that; only the big banks can. The Wall Street biggies get to mark their derivative assets to “model” (whatever they say it is), not to any real market. That is a frightening danger to the world economy, but what do Congress and the “regulators” care?
Bloomberg reporter David J. Lynch writes that “The annual report of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas was devoted to an essay by Harvey Rosenblum, head of the bank’s research department, ‘Why We Must End Too Big to Fail – Now’
“A 40-year Fed veteran, Rosenblum wrote in the report released last month: “TBTF institutions were at the center of the financial crisis and the sluggish recovery that followed. If allowed to remain unchecked, these entities will continue posing a clear and present danger to the U.S. economy.”
“Neil Barofsky, Treasury’s former special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, calls the idea of winding down institutions with more than $2 trillion in assets ‘completely unrealistic.’
“It’s likely that more than one bank would face potential failure during any crisis, he said, which would further complicate efforts to gracefully collapse a giant bank. ‘We’ve made almost no progress on ending too big to fail,’ he said.”
J.P. Morgan’s well fed CEO, Jaime Dimon, dismisses such concerns as “chatter” and says U.S. banks need heft to meet the needs of their globally active clients. Lynch points out that since 2007, J.P. Morgan alone has added more than 80,000 workers.
In fact Lynch observes that “that regulatory burden could promote further industry consolidation, according to Wilbur Ross, chairman of WL Ross & Co., a private-equity firm.” The Frank-Dodd related regulation will end up punishing the smaller banks, and leaving the big guys who caused the problems in the first place that much stronger, because they can afford the regulatory burden. And no matter what, everyone in D.C. knows Congress will not be allowed to, much less allow, Wall Street to sink. The entire reeking enterprise is too big to fail, or as we say down south, “smail” (smell).
Just last week Barack Obama got a tough-love lesson in how the real system works. When his campaign went after Mitten Romney’s Bain Capital performance, Democratic Party heavies like Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Newark, New Jersey Mayor Corey Booker, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, and even Bubba Clinton all came out to defend Bain Capital. Not Mittens of course, but Wall Street clearly pulled the strings and took Obama to the political wood shed about dissing their Bain Capital buddies: “Do not rock the Wall Street boat Barack, or you will find out just how few friends you have.”
Not that Mittens Romney is necessarily an evil bought-and-paid for guy. He is to politics what Donnie and Marie were to pop music: unobjectionable, in a mind numbing kind of way. No, he is just bought-and-paid-for in the usual D.C. way. Washington knows who calls the music, and if, as is increasingly likely, the system crashes again, Washington will jump to with loans, whether it is direct loans or massive money printing (AKA “quantitative easing”) by the Federal Reserve. Seem like a criminal enterprise? Nope; it is the Golden Rule: He who owns the gold, makes the rules. Steroids very bad, worldwide economic looting OK.
What I say to you I say to everyone: Watch MK 13:37