It is no exaggeration to say that since the 1980s, much of the American (and global) financial sector has become criminalized, creating an industry culture that tolerates or even encourages systematic fraud. The behavior that caused the mortgage bubble and financial crisis was a natural outcome and continuation of this pattern, rather than some kind of economic accident.
It is important to understand that this behavior really is seriously criminal. We are not talking about neglecting some bureaucratic formality. We are talking about deliberate concealment of financial transactions that aided terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation, and large-scale tax evasion; assisting in concealment of criminal assets and activities by others; and directly committing frauds that substantially worsened the worst financial bubbles and crises since the Depression.
The above is an excerpt from How Financial Criminalization Crashed the Economy, and the Culprits Got Off Scot-Free, by Charles Ferguson, Director of the Wall Street documentary Inside Job. The article was published in the Huffington Post on May 23, 2012. Get the DVD of Inside Job if you haven’t already got it.
In Vietnam, cutting off the body parts of the enemy was less a counting aid than a status symbol. “We had a thing in the Nam. We used to cut their ears off. We had a trophy. If a guy would have a necklace of ears, he was a good killer, a good trooper. It was encouraged to cut ears off, to cut the nose off, to cut the guy’s penis off. A female, you cut her breast off. It was encouraged to do these things. The officers expected you to do it or something was wrong with you.” — Page 65.
Reading this passage, which I found not in Nam but in The Corpse: A History, by Christine Quigley, reminded me of a former Marine I knew in Yokohama in 1962. (I won’t mention his name, as his daughter found my last reference to him.) He told me that, during the Korean War, he had gone from village to village, looking for people to kill. Then, after each “kill”, he had cut off an ear and pinned it to his belt — until he was encircled by his trophies.
When I asked him how he could do that sort of thing, he replied: “That’s the way it is.”
When I started this blog, in 2009, I planned to post all my political and religious material here. (I already had a blog, kiwidollar.com, where I was posting my economic material.) But as time passed, I found that I needed yet another blog — a place where I could post personal comments and long articles that I had copied. This has now been running for some time here, under the title Hardcaw: Something to crow about. I have not tried to make blimpdeflator.com visually attractive, for reasons that will become apparent as you scroll down. It contains numerous newspaper clippings, which don’t lend themselves to any sort of aesthetic design. For that, you will have to go to my main site — Hourglass era.
Every Anzac Day, we hear the same line: When the bugle sounded, our brave boys went off to defend our freedom. And now, thanks to their sacrifice, we don’t have any beastly foreigners telling us what to do. Nothing is said about World War I setting the stage for World War II, or about World War II setting the stage for the Cold War — a confrontation that led, inexorably, to the endless “War Against Terrorism”. Nothing is said about the use of the latter contrivance to extend American power abroad, criminalize dissent at home, and subject everyone to unprecedented surveillance. In all the fulsome eulogies, there is no mention of the Nuremberg Principles, the Geneva Conventions, or the Conven-
tion Against Torture — all of which have been abandoned in the name of security.
The concept of all-seeing authority is as old as the technology that made it possible — as this Punch cartoon from 1914 shows. In 2010, Nicky Hager reported that new cyber-monitoring measures had been quietly introduced in New Zealand, giving police and security officers the power to monitor all aspects of a person’s online life. “The measures are the largest expansion of police and SIS surveillance capabilities for decades, and mean that all mobile calls and texts, email, internet surfing and online shopping, chatting and social networking can be monitored.”
Maybe it’s not so bad when you’re hanged with a silken cord. The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of May 12, 2012.