Manawatu Standard, July 6, 2012.
From the Manawatu Standard of June 23, 2012.
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.
“Excellent summary (in only 134 pages) of the monstrous crimes committed by the US empire as it attempts to control the world.”
EXTRACT: The goal of US reactionary rulers is the Third Worldization of the entire world including Europe and North America, a New World Order in which capital rules supreme with no public sector services or labor unions to speak of; no prosperous, literate, effectively organized working class or highly educated middle class with rising expectations and a strong sense of entitlement; no public medical care, pension funds, occupational safety, or environmental and consumer protections, or any of the other insufferable things that might cut into profits and lead to a more egalitarian distribution of life chances.
The legacy of Reaganism — predatory lending and financial fraud — have taken the world to the brink of the abyss, yet somehow we are all better off — with the possible exception of the “squeezed” middle class, the writer below argues. She hails the “unprecedented global economic boom” that resulted from Reagan’s policies of tax cuts (largely for the rich), financial deregulation and privatization of state assets, and says that this has been most beneficial to “some of the world’s poorest people”. In my comment to the editor of the Manawatu Standard, where the article appeared on October 15, I point out that the World Bank statistics, on which this assertion is based, are highly suspect. (See letter to the editor below.) And incidentally, shouldn’t the word “boom” be replaced by “bubble”?
Letter to the editor:
I write in response to the article headlined “Left struggles for sound bite for US’s angst” (Manawatu Standard, October 15).
The World Bank’s statistics, which show that “between 1981 and 2005 the number of people living in poverty in the developing world fell by 500 million”, have been challenged by several academics.
In How Not to Count the Poor, Sanjay G Reddy and Thomas W Pogge, of Columbia University, say “the bank uses an arbitrary international poverty line that is not adequately anchored in any specification of the real requirements of human beings”, and that its approach is therefore “neither meaningful nor reliable”.
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs says global poverty levels “have changed very little over the past two decades” and that “the situation today may be even more deplorable than a money income poverty line would suggest”.
As Adam W Parsons notes in his article “World Bank Poverty Figures: What Do They Mean?”: The World Bank uses statistics “to support its policies of deregulation, privatisation [and] market liberalisation…” In other words, the bank is a biased researcher whose “findings” are to be regarded with scepticism.
To read the above article, click on it.
To read the above article, click to enlarge it.
The article is from the Manawatu Standard of October 12, 2011, and my comment on it is from the Manawatu Standard of October 19, 2011. The reader should immediately note that the article first appeared in The Times — a Murdoch newspaper. It thus comes from a publication that is, in itself, a target of popular protests against corporate greed and the manipulation of public opinion. One should not be surprised, therefore, to find the paper resurrecting an archetype of the anti-war/anti-apartheid demonstrations of past eras — the “skinny, bearded man” — and insinuating that such a character is in some way intrinsically disreputable. But just in case you don’t get the insinuation, the paper goes on to tell us that the Occupy protesters “know how to have fun” and — horror of horrors! — are handing out free condoms. Are we living in 2011, or in 1916 — when Margaret Sanger opened America’s first birth control clinic, in the malevolent shadow of the Comstock Act? Surely, in this day and age, anyone making condoms freely available should be praised for their sense of responsibility.
Below is a transcript of part of a discussion between Max Keiser and Catherine Austin Fitts, Assistant Secretary of Housing during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. The discussion was held on August 23, 2011, in the context of a show called The Keiser Report. (See link below.) The securitization of the economy is discussed, and is described by Keiser as “an inherently fraudulent business”. He also describes the current economy as a “ponzi scheme”. Fitts claims “a lot of the fraud is done with the intimate support and involvement of government”, and goes on to say:
“The economic model is a criminal model . . . We have an economy that is dependent on war and organized crime, and, you know, part of the profits of that organized crime is part of what is keeping the whole economy going . It’s not just the banking system, it’s every community in America. . .
“I think at the heart of the matter, Max, it’s not sort of ‘banks out of control’. I think at the heart of the matter it’s physical violence, because a lot of what has happened, particularly, you know, that as I understand in the United States, is . . . is you have people who are afraid to say ‘no’ because the result of saying ‘no’ is physical violence directed at them or their families. I mean, we’ve had lots of people murdered and assassinated, etc., etc. . . .
“The reality is we have a force operating in the world that is completely. . . operating outside of the law and no one yet has come up with a way to stop it.
“We’re talking about violent mobster operations. . . I hate to use a personal example, but I was, you know, a former Assistant Secretary of Housing and I had my own business in Washington and I was helping the Department of Housing and Urban Development essentially run things clean. And you had to get rid of the ‘clean team’ to run the housing bubble, and I was targeted, I was poisoned, I had dead animals left on my doorstep, my house was broken into, people tried to run me off the road.
“You know, it was very, very violent, and it went on for years. So, you know, so people who try and run the Government clean or run Wall Street clean are targeted and literally, you know, have to fear for their lives.
“I mean, people have been dying, so, you know, it’s a very, very dangerous situation, and the challenge is: If you have people who can kill and physically harass with impunity, how do you run a governance process?” (Transcript made by me.)