March 8, 2009

True Evil Lies Here

Since 9/11/2001 this country has been led down a garden path. The Trade Center and Pentagon attacks were all it took to allow a very Hoveresque White House to turn the mood of the country from the standard, casual optimism toward an ingrained culture of fear. If we are to survive and get the country back onto an even keel we’re going to have to chisel away the hardened bovine excrement that the hate and fear mongers have heaped upon us. We, as Americans must find that which we’ve lost and remember who we are. There must be a return to government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Let’s look at some specifics. In the days to come Bernard Madoff is scheduled to stand before a magistrate and confess his sins. He will plead guilty to running the greatest scam in the history of mankind, and explain how he created the nonsense that robbed billions from his fellow citizens. Another offender is the Noel family Walter, Monica, five daughters and some well connected in-laws) of Fairfield County, Connecticut, who in 2003 alone took in half a billion in fees by steering clients into Madoff’s web. The photos of Monica and Walter published in Vanity Fair and Town and Country, depicting the happy family in one of their numerous homes, was so touching.

Next we find Allen Stanford, a U.S. citizen living in the Bahamas and a con artist of gargantuan scale. In similar style to Madoff, Stanford hustled greedy but otherwise innocent folks into his Ponzi scheme, then used his profits to buy jets and build castles. Stanford was enabled by money managers Paul Greenwood and Stephen Walsh. These smiling pirates looted ¾ of a billion dollars from the endowments at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon, among others. Wall Street at its finest, not.

Throughout history there have been con men and swindlers moving among Americans striving for the dream. They would pick your pocket or scam you if they could, but they’ve always been small time… until now. Enabled by unwise deregulation, the big guns have rolled on deck and have taken aim at the American dream. They will sink us… if we let them.

If you want to see what it is that is killing this country, pick up a copy of Forbes and look at the smiling faces; or watch any of the three 24-hour cable financial channels and listen to the smiling boys and girls tell you how you can be a millionaire if you only follow their advice and hook up with the next-generation Madoffs and Stanfords. Funny that the advice is so similar to that given in years past that led us into this debacle. Do you ever wonder who is paying for that garbage; and why?

American boys and girls are fighting and dying in the sands of distant parts as parents and spouses struggle to find a way to pay the bills back home. Both events are the result of the lack of restraint this country has been displaying since about 1980. Laissez Faire capitalism, unregulated and unmonitored, has led to big problems that have required big fixes. Giving all that bail out money to the banks wasn’t necessarily such a bad idea, considering the dismal options available, but not prosecuting the bankers who did the evil deeds is inexcusable. How are we ever going to prevent reoccurrence if there is no punishment for the offenders?

We must hope that all of this will eventually settle down, then it will be up to those of us for whom our soldiers are fighting to clean up this republic and return to them a better world. There is more evil on Wall Street than even Osama bin Laden could muster. The country needed a break from business as usual, and a chance to do the clean-up. Optimism will return once we regain control and place some sensible regulations upon the rampant greed from which this mess was born.


MiniKat said...

You make an extremely valid point. What do you think it will take to get federal prosecutors to actually charge the bankers? How much would it cost and would it actually do any good to try and prosecute? Would it help if the public contacted their representatives and brought this up?

Mule Breath, said...

Madoff, the Noels, Stanford, Greenwood and Walsh will all face charges, as theirs was definite fraud. I have no doubt that we would find many others of similar ilk but smaller scale if we were but to look, but they probably won't come to trial.

The Justice Department is stretched to the limit., and the cases will be tried by Asst. U.S. Attorneys (AUSA). I doubt anything but the largest, most spectacular cases will reach trial because there is little thunder in small cases. The AUSA's all have but a single lose that first A.

tgtsmom said...

I am sure it is too little too late but I think that any company (bank, Wall Street or Auto) who takes money from the bail out should be required to make their top exec's pay back their last 5 years bonuses as a condition of receiving any federal assistance. But I won't hold my breath until it happens.

Mule Breath, said...


Amost without exception the regulators came from within the banking industry. Can you say scratch my back?

I find it unlikely that we will see punitive actions so long as the fox stands guard over the henhouse.

Anonymous said...

MB,your post gets my vote for "best."