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Crooked Bankers

Another banking scandal.  HSBC apparently laundering billions for Mexican drug cartels. How do we rein in crooked bankers?

From left, David Bagley, Head of Group Compliance of HSBC Holdings plc, Paul Thurston, chief executive of Retail Banking and Wealth Management HSBC Holdings plc, Michael Gallagher, former executive Vice President and head of PCM North America HSBC Bank USA, N.A., and Christopher Lok, former head of Global Banknotes for HSBC Bank USA, N.A., are sworn in prior to testifying before the permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing, "U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History," Tuesday, July 17, 2012, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

From left, David Bagley, Head of Group Compliance of HSBC Holdings plc, Paul Thurston, chief executive of Retail Banking and Wealth Management HSBC Holdings plc, Michael Gallagher, former executive Vice President and head of PCM North America HSBC Bank USA, N.A., and Christopher Lok, former head of Global Banknotes for HSBC Bank USA, N.A., are sworn in prior to testifying before the permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing, “U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History,” Tuesday, July 17, 2012, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

Somali pirates and piracy, pretty quiet this year we’re told.  Wish we could say the same about the world of big banks.  From the gory headlines week after week, the world of big banking can look like a pirates’ jamboree.  LIBOR rate rigging.  Mexican money laundering.  London whaling.

Ponzi schemes and crooked deals and straight up theft and fraud.  It’s too much.  It’s appalling.  Giant HSBC in the hot seat now for moving billions in drug lord money.  Some days it feels like there are Somali pirates in the world’s banking wheelhouse.

This hour, On Point:  banking gone bad, and what to do about it.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Evan Pérez, covers the Justice Department for the Wall Street Journal.

Carl Levin, senior United States Senator from Michigan.

Jesse Eisinger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning senior reporter at ProPublica, who covers Wall Street and finance.

John Bogle, the founder and retired CEO of The Vanguard Group. He’s the author of a new book ”The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation.”

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal “The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation on Tuesday aired findings of a yearlong investigation that alleged HSBC’s U.S. bank became a conduit for money-launderers and potential terrorist financiers. A report released ahead of the hearing also found “systemic failures” at its main U.S. government regulator, the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.”

Salon “And you thought bankers fixing interest rates and playing games with mortgage-backed securities was bad? How about money-laundering cash for Mexican drug dealers, Russian Mafia and Mideast terrorists?”

Forbes “Business corruption follows a well-worn path. The boss tells you to bend the rules, and knowing that ignoring that request will cost you your job, you do what you’re told. At the end of the year you get a big bonus and promotion.”

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  • JGC

    Crooked Bankers?!  OMG, don’t get me started…

    • JGC

      P.S.  Looks like a super panel to take on the subject.

  • John Riley

    Just as the State succeeded in divorcing itself from religious law during the Reformation, wealth and its acolytes are achieving a separation from secular law.  Already, we intuit the suffrage of bankers comprising an amnesty from moral and legal conventions–and if this assumption seems facile, the very fact that bankers on trial is newsworthy proves it.  They will succeed, and society (that is, we) will have to countenance the consolidation of an independent authority.

  • Emitr

    How do we reign in crooked bankers?  A good, stiff noose will do.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    The LIBOR scandal and turbo tax Tim’s involvement?

    Crickets?
     

  • Michiganjf

    How do we reign in crooked bankers??!!

    NOT WITH REGULATION! NOT WITH REGULATION!!

    Right Republicans??!!

    • LinP

       Totally cuz, you know, the market is a perfect ecosystem with built in controls, checks and balances that never fail. The market absolutely and always polices itself.

      OMG, how many people, and for how many years have swallowed that piece of bs from the mouths of those most ready to gain from promoting smoke and mirrors.

    • John in Amherst

        The GOP of late seems to confuse capitalism and anarchy.  There are
      rules in sports to prevent people from getting hurt.  There are even
      international rules of warfare.  But Romney et al want to free up the
      “job creators” by even further dilution and elimination of the rules
      governing the “free market” with regard to worker and environmental
      protection, “free trade” and financial regulation.  The multiple
      debacles coming to light in the financial industry are proof positive
      that capitalism without rules amounts to organized crime, and that
      deregulation enables the super rich in their victimizing those who lack
      the money to buy “political representation”.

    • harverd phd

       The regulation is there and it failed.

      • Michiganjf

        Yes “harverd,” Republicans have ensured that oversight agencies are not given the necessary funding or clout for to perform their oversight duties as needed.

  • AC

    and here i was the other day thinking money laundering was done through a network of cash-only small businesses – silly me. well, i aslo assumed it was done by fake inflated sales on art and antiquities, but i think i read that in a mystery novel…
    it will be interesting to learn how this was accomplished w/o notice….i mean, how do you not notice LARGE transactions?

  • Vasco DeGrabya

    Is it possible to regulate and/or punish the 1%?  That is what this topic comes down to.  Can we stop worshipping these individuals or must the beat go on?

    • Jasoturner

      If we constrain the job creators, then how shall America recover from the current recession?  If only they could shed the shackles of regulation entirely, surely America would stride titanic again, a unstoppable capitalist force that would return the world to normalcy, with the U.S.A. back on top.

      • margbi

         What “job creators”? The R’s point out continually that not enough jobs have been created in the last 3 1/2 years (since Obama became President) even though taxes have gone down and regulation has been gutted. What have they been doing?

        • Ray in VT

           I’m pretty sure that that was all tongue in cheek.

      • Bubba

        “constrain the job creators” ha ha ha ha; we have been hearing this since Reagan and “they” keep piling the money in accounts out of America. Where is the Government ?

      • Kathy

        Worship the Job Creators at the Church of your choice!

  • ToyYoda

    How do you reign them in?  That’s simple.  You give Clive Owen a gun and tell him to go after them.  Did anyone here see the movie The International?  Has one of the greatest gun fight scenes in decades.

    It was about a bank that launders money to drug dealers and even funds their wars.  It came out in 2009 -talk about great timing- and lots of people thought it was over the top.  but, I thought it was the other way around.  It wasn’t over the top enough.  

    It was actually based of a real life scandal of bank money laundering.  Involving the Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_Credit_and_Commerce_International

    And surprise surprise, here’s the same scandal as nearly depicted in the movie.

    Go see it.  Clive Owen is great.

    • Jasoturner

      Hope you’re right about that gun fight scene.  Amazon had a copy of that movie for four bucks, so I just ordered  it.  Ah Amazon Prime, you have worked your corrupting magic again…

      • ToyYoda

        Yes the gun battle scene was spectacular.  I don’t want to over hype the movie for you.  But just read the first few sentences of this review:

        http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/articles/2009/02/13/follow_the_money/ 

        Ty Burr is a pretty tough critic.  Those few sentences were the reason why I went.  I wanted to see a kick ass movie scene.  And remember, this is after the movie Heat.

        Anyways Burr also thought the movie was over the top, but probably didn’t know it was based on a real life banking scandal.

        Anyways, the fight scene is on you tube.  DON’T SEE IT.  You can’t really appreciate the gun battle scene unless sit through the slowly developing plot, b/c there is a major plot twist that happens while the fight takes place, which you won’t get unless you see the plot development, it also makes the fight scene that much better.  

        B/C of the major plot twist in the scene, I would have to rank the scene higher than Heat’s police shoot out.Enjoy!

      • ToyYoda

        Go watch the trailers.  Search ‘The International trailers’  I’m listening to the trailers right now.  I’m mean, talk about relevance to the On Point topic and the present day Zeitgeist.  I really hope they make a sequel.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Heads on pikes lining Wall Street will do the trick;
    that’s how the Romans would have done it!

    Aren’t we the modern Roman empire?

    Republicans blame Obama and regulation for everything. How childish to believe that an industry that revolves around greed can self-regulate. That’s like  believing you can let foxes guard the hen house.

    Any politician repeating the deregulation mantra knows better ergo they are liars. They are lying  on behalf of their billionaire friends who want less regulation.

    Think on that when you vote for your next congressman and senator. You’re voting to screw yourself and every other little guy who will get robbed in their 401K, loose their job due to outsourcing, get poisoned by food, injured by bad pharmaceuticals, have your well poisoned by fracking, have your kids breathe poisoned air and drink toxic water, or loose a loved one in a plane crash due to lack of inspection or service, or in a car crash due to counterfeit parts.

    Deregulation is indeed about personal rights! Your personal right to screw someone you don’t know for profit and get away with it free and clear! 

    • Vasco DeGrabya

      It wouldn’t take many heads on pikes to get the point across.  These types are masters of self preservation.

    • Denis

      “Your personal right to screw someone you don’t know for profit”

      I think the track record shows friends and relatives are also fair game!

  • SteveV

    When the average American comes to understand these people are stealing THEIR
    portion of the pie, then change will occur. Until then it’s not relative to them
    so there’s no (political) pressure to change the system. We all need to
    remember, if we have anything of value, somewhere someone is trying to figure
    out how to steal it. A skeptical mind wrapped in a paranoid attitude is not
    a bad thing today.

  • George H

    The particular details of the depredations of HSBC are less important than the overarching phenomenon of offshoring in all its varieties.  Offshoring deprives national governments of needed tax revenues and fosters criminal activities of all kinds.  See Offshore by Alain Deneault (The New Press)

    George Holoch
    Hinesburg, VT

  • Steve

    No matter your position on the plantation you are still a slave.

    As wealth and power are concentrated a few bright Morlock will be told that they are superior to their brethren and recruited to keep the game in motion.

    We each must decide when it is time step out of the game.
    We owe this not only to ourselves and children but also to the syphilitic overlords. 

    • Gregg

      I say jail those who broke laws but beyond that I don’t care a wit about how much money anyone has, wealth disparity or anyone stupid enough to sign something without reading it. I’ve got a life to live.

      • Vasco DeGrabya

        So wealth disparity has no meaning to you?  You believe no gap is too large and has no societal consequence?

        • Gregg

          Yup, no meaning at all. It would be different if the wealthy got that way at the expense of the poor. But that’s just silly.

          • Denis

            And what “looking Glass” are you using to feel so confident that the wealth did not get that way at the expense of the poor?  I would say some did and some didn’t.

          • jimino

            Analysis of changes of “income shares” of our nations’ citizens indicate that is not only not “silly” but exactly what has happened over the past several decades.

      • Dave

        Everything you say here indicates that you do care. You admire wealth and live with the fantasy that someday you will have it and, therefore, it is in your best interest (in your own mind) to defend it. 

        • Gregg

          I don’t admire wealth and I don’t disparage wealth. I don’t defend wealth and I don’t condemn wealth. It can be inherited, robbed or earned. It can be gained from altruism or dastardly unethical behavior. Wealth is not an entity. Why on earth would I make such generalizations?

      • Steve

        Preoccupation/comparison with other peoples’s wealth or talent is the purview of envious and discontented children and will distract us from the lives we lead.

        The power that comes from wealth however, is dangerous.  Laws are then manipulated to allow special privilege that impinges on others – and in fact will rob those without access to the system of wealth and freedom. 

        I do not want violence, I see leaving the plantation as alternative. 

        • Gregg

          That’s a valid point but we still control our own lives and choose our leaders.

          • Denis

            Who do you mean when saying “we?”

          • Gregg

            You and I.

  • jefe68

    The Wall Street Scandal of all Scandals
    Robert Reich

    http://robertreich.org/post/26708840314

  • Vasco DeGrabya

    If Romney can win the White House without releasing more than 1 year of tax returns, it is empirical evidence that nothing has changed.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Conservatives pound their fists, saying that you’re never going to deter crimes unless the punishments are so bad that it will discourage people from breaking the law.

    And then all those committing white collar crime just walk – is it any wonder people break the law when there is no deterrent?

    • John in Amherst

      The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world.  A huge percentage of those in jail are there for minor drug offenses.  We lock people up for years (at the cost of $30-50K/yr), and then strip them of their right to vote for life for selling a baggy of pot.  And these shameless sociopathic financial tycoons get what??

  • Charles Vigneron

    We are supposedly a nation at war. Currency speculation and market manipulation during war-time has frequently brought out a mob with axes and pitchforks.
    There may be fear in the markets, but the wrong sort. 

  • Andy Addleman

    We need The Fair Tax, enough loopholes!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      And this stops white collar crime, how?…

      • Andy Addleman

        First question, have you looked into how The Fair Tax works?

        It might not directly stop white collar crime but these massive multinational companies wouldn’t be able to get away with effective tax rates in the single digits. Plus, maybe the IRS/SEC would have time to investigate situations like this instead of John Doe down the street. 

        • TFRX

          The GOP has dedicated itself to underfunding the IRS so it can’t do its job.

          At some point, it’s like a toll road with no toll-takers: Some people are going to get away with everything.

          So lets normalize the IRS staffing first.

    • Kathy

      Well, yes, if you end all corporate taxes, you eliminate their using loopholes to avoid them. However, I do not believe that shifting even more of the tax burden to middle class working people and lowering the taxes of the ultra-wealthy is really the answer.

  • J__o__h__n

    Bring back usury laws and prosecute bank fraud. 

    • Adks12020

      Usury laws are in place in most, if not all, of the states.  Unfortunately they are often written in ways that make them difficult to enforce againts banks.

  • Eric

    There is only one way to send a message to these banksters. Jail time. Fines have no effect, these guys have enough money to pay off any and all penalties. They need to go to JAIL!

    • Jasoturner

      But how can they create jobs if they’re in jail?

      • TFRX

        “Prisoner of Love”, Jaso?

        See the end of “The Producers” for how prison life and entrepreneurial spirit can coexist nicely.

      • BRB in VT

         Oh, that’s right, we forgot… they’re the “job creators”!

  • Ed OConnell

    For anyone with a memory… the big banks claimed they had to get bigger in order to compete with these meganationals. They also had to pay huge salaries and bonuses because only the smartest (expensive) guys could run such big banks. Turns out liars are liars and one sign of moral corruption is BIG COMPENSATION. That’s the lesson. If it seems outrageous and wrong, it probably is.

    • BHA in Vermont

       Yep, and look at Diamon. Paid tens of millions yet he doesn’t know his people are screwing with LIBOR and making very risky decisions? He is no more worthy of his salary than any other $1M+ exec.

      Everything going well? It is because of their brilliance. Things going poorly? It is because of things they do not control and things would be MUCH worse if not for their ‘leadership’. Thus they deserve a BIG compensation package either way because, as you said, you have to pay for all these “smart” people. And the “smart” people won’t work one year for less than 400 times what the average person will earn in a lifetime because they are SO F’ing BRILLIANT!

  • Ben

    Shocked? No. But I am amazed that others are shocked at this point. This is the industry that tanked our economy in ’08 on purpose in order to reap the rewards of bad investments through derivatives, only to then be bailed out with taxpayer money. Criminal investigations with serious fines and jail time for those responsible and their superiors should only be the beginning.

  • Joe in Philly

    What is the real “value added” in the banking industry? What purpose do they serve? In my view, their greatest role is providing a “reality check” to capital investment. And, in this regard, they have failed miserably. And, who pays for their mistakes? You guessed it, the American taxpayer. State and federal regulators/prosecutors need to hold the bankers’ feet to the fire and while we’re at it rethink the banking industry!

  • BHA in Vermont

    What has gone wrong with the banks?
    1) Greed – personal and professional
    2) Feeling of entitlement
    3) False sense of self importance and omnipotence.

  • J__o__h__n

    Sadly, HSBC did live up to our expectations. 

  • atakemoto

    We could wipe out the national debt just by fining all the white collar crooks out there.  

  • Woorijip

    Laws are for poor people.

    • Vigilarus

      Writing and selectively enforcing laws is for the corporate elite.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    If this was an individual, they’d put him in jail and seize his assets pending a trial – maybe we need to figure out how to do the same to corporations, the other “people”?

    Corporations were set up to allow limited financial liability, unfortunately they have turned into effective vehicles for limted legal liability as well.

  • AC

    so shameful.
    will there be a consequence for this or not?

  • Letstringthemup

    Senator,

    You mean “Dud-Frank”

  • corb

    Are Mexican bank tellers at risk from retribution?  Who will be punished by the drug lords?

  • Todd

    As Willie Suton supposedly said in response to ‘Why do you rob banks?’ … ‘because that’s where the money is.’.

    Human nature and greed, mixed with the fact that the money is close at hand may be the simple answer to what’s going on.

    Given the importance of the banking industry, it should be tightly regulated and conservative. Banks should be like utilities … reliable and stable.

    And anyone who messes with the system should go straight to jail, without passing Go.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    “Physically ill” – getting caught will do that to you.

  • Keegan in Summerville, SC

    I have to agree that criminal charges should be brought up. We just convicted a man for “material support for terrorism, conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and conspiring to kill in a foreign country” for translating texts for a jihadi websites! how is laundering money for them or drug cartels different?

    • Greg

      These criminal CEOs need to pay. 

      But there is no rule of law in America for the criminal elite so don’t hold your breath Americans.

  • Greg

    No need to pass 1600 page bills that the banking industry writes for the corrupt politicians.

    The only way to stop this is to put all of these CEOs in prison.For life. Or hang them like they do in China.

  • Eric Charles Detorres

    I have an inkling that we are getting screwed by our own money and the peoplein charge of it. American banks and bankers have committed crimes, felonies, treason… And its all in a legitimate day’s work for these people

  • Calexander Yh27

    Until there is real punishment for criminal, unethical behavior in the banking industry there will be no change.  Slapping a million dollar fine on a billion dollar entity is NOTHING.  It is dishonest  PEOPLE inside the “bank” making these decisions.  They should be held accountable!  Until then, fines will be paid, the behavior will continue and the media and politicains will pretend to be surprised when it happens again. 

  • AndyF

    When you ask “what has gone wrong?” the answer is fairly simple.  Ethics.  They have disappeared.  Just look at the country…

    When I grew up (50s and 60s) we all felt we were in this together and we were taught in school and college to do good work and no harm.  When I got my MBA I had 3 different Ethics courses – today, many (most?) colleges dont teach Ethics anymore.

    Now look at our society – Banks are in business to gamble with our money, and their employees care only about bonuses at all costs – someone else will clean up the mess.  Cable and Cell Phone companies regularly ripoff their clients and make agreements so confusing and loaded with fine print and lawyer-ese that they know, they will get away with it.  Even Television where we pay for Cable, but are delivered endless commercials selling us stuff we dont need – we in essence pay to have someone sell us useless stuff.  No one seems to get it, and even fewer care as long as they are making their big bonuses.

    What has gone wrong?  #1, people are stupid and choose to be that way – its easier to pay attention to Kim Kardashian’s useless life than take the time to learn if I am being ripped off.  #2, people dont care about others anymore – the entire Republican party is happy to clog and confound our very government processes – just so long as they and their friends get rich, and #3, the American populous which once fought for civil rights, to end stupid and useless wars, and care about each other has become so numb and dumbed down they would rather post useless garbage on Twitter than to try and better their world.

    We are doomed.  And worse, we are doomed by OUR OWN failings and we are getting exactly what we deserve.  Why?  Because Democracy takes work – but why bother working when you can kick back with your cell phone, watch brainless television and Tweet your way to 1 second of fame.

    Sad, very sad – but no one to blame but ourselves.

    • TFRX

      An untrained dog will get on his hinders and eat a chicken off a
      counter. If you have a collar on him, you pull the collar and keep him
      from eating the chicken.

      I don’t care about the idea of ethics. For me, it’s all about
      enforcement. Corporations are profit-seeking animals, no more, no less.

  • derek

    I pray there are consequences for them and not for us.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    We need a new sound byte: “too big to jail”.

  • Charles Vigneron

    Tom, Your question, has banking become a criminal enterprise, is not absurd. That’s why they’re called banksters

  • guest1111

    Sen. Levin talks about “new rules” that will prevent this type of activity. Umm, wasnt it already illegal before? Why didn’t that stop this type of activity? How are these “new rules” going to stop this behavior? The only way to stop it is jail time, or AT MINIMUM fines equivalent to its profits. Otherwise the fine is jost another cost of doing business.  If HSBC abetted terrorists, the only appropriate punishment is GUANTANAMO for its executives.

    • BHA in Vermont

       Fine should be “Profits plus 200%” or 75% of your net worth whichever is greater. Even when they get caught cheating, they are still RICH, RICH, RICH. There is no downside.

      • Denise

         Agreed. The punishment has to be targeted at individuals: if the CEO is liable to lose part of their personal fortune they’ll make sure their bankers are behaving ethically.

  • ilovedogs792

    We need to:

    enact tougher regulations (and regulate derivatives)

    beef up the regulatory agencies

    bring civil and criminal suits against wrongdoers

    stop revolving door between agencies and banks

    separate investment banking from commercial banking

    enact campaign finance reform, even if it means a constitutional amendment.

  • William

    It does not matter who is in the White House or controls the Congress because these bankers will do what they want and are never held accountable. 

  • Greg

    Why do you keep talking about morals?

    These CEOs are criminials. Outright criminals.

    No need to talk about morals.

    PUT THEM IN PRISON FOR BREAKING THE LAW!

    • Denis

      Including Mr. Romney?

      • Greg

        Yes.

        He’s pretty obviously a criminal.

  • Connie

    I agree with you Tom, it certainly becomes easy to feel this is a “global” infection of greed, arrogance and corruption.  But the real problem is  ”when good men do nothing”.

  • GMG

    Aren’t some of these corrupt practices covered by Sarbanes-Oxley?  I thought that act held executives responsible for various types of malfeasance under their watch.

  • BHA in Vermont

    If it is too complex to:
    - Explain
    - “Unravel”
    - Audit
     it is too complex to exist

  • Thinkin15

    Why does the right in the U.S. defend this kind of behavior? They act like calling these people to account is against America and capitalism!!

    • BHA in Vermont

       Can’t do that. Geez, it would be punishing them for being SUCCESSFUL!

  • GMG

    Meanwhile, jump a turnstyle and you spend the night in jail.  Yes, prison time might get attention.  Anything short of that is just more paperwork.

  • Junk4us

    We need a modern day Ferdinand Pecora……

  • Greta

    My husband works in the advisory group of a well-respected private equity and investment bank, and he and his colleagues have kept their ethical conduct and practices to the highest standards. Despite all of the scandals happening in the banking sector, we cannot forget that these are individuals who are deeply committed to doing this work, working incredibly hard, and doing it well. It is distressing to hear your guests painting all bankers as unethical criminals.

    • Realist

      Distressing but mostly well deserved.  Your husband and others let other do the dirty work and profit by it.  How many times have they reported fraud to the SEC or gone public with evidence of malfeasance.

    • JGC

      Is being deeply committed to working in private equity equivalent to being deeply committed to working with children who have learning difficulties or to being a home-health aide who cares for an elderly client suffering from Alzheimers or any other number of jobs where people are deeply committed to providing their best possible service?  Is working 10-hour days in the banking industry just as incredibly hard as putting in a 10-hour day harvesting fruit in the field or being a nurse on a long shift in the emergency room or working to fulfill Amazon purchase orders in a sweltering warehouse?  And when you do your job well, what is the measure of your success to not only yourself and your family, but to society?

      I do not think all bankers are unethical criminals, but I do submit that the profession has been elevated beyond its proper contribution to society, and we all need to return to Earth now, after 30 years of dwelling with the Masters of the Universe.

  • Karen

    In his first 30 seconds Mr. Bogle summed up the problem in the industry.  He is part of the old guard that I was trained under.  Having ben in banking for 30 years, I’ve seen a lot albeit on a smaller scale.  Post Glass Steagel, the banking industry has allowed people to take huge risks.  You lose and you just go to another institution as a great salesman.  I (like most women in banking, was on the credit side.  We are totally marginalized now and are just window dressing.  Why is the right so defensive of them????

  • hvermont

    What short memories we have.  This is what banking looked like before the Great Depression of 1929, it was the Wild West.  We cured the problem with tight regulations – separation of commercial & savings banks, usury laws, 90% taxation of exorbitant income and so many others.  Tight banking regulation and high taxes were central parts of the “Golden” age of  the USA, from the 1940′s until we threw out these laws and let the financial sector take over the country.  Now, once again we are seeing the problem with an unregulated financial sector.

  • Greg

    Hanging. Life. Take your pick criminal CEO bankers.

  • Tina

    Altho not exactly parallel, this has comparisons with the various time periods of the English Enclosures (of land).  I am only learning about the Enclosures more than in high school thanks to Michael Woods’ TV series, The Story of England.  Watching the shows OR wikipedia-ing “Enclosure” and also following some of the links from there will give a general picture of stuff similar to what is happening to the 99% now, in the past several decades.  NOT “on point”, but there is something else in the mix that is worth studying:  what Monsanto is doing with seeds in India.  As I said, none of what I’m mentioning is truly parallel to the banking stuff we’ve seen, but you’ll be able to see other parallels and/or metaphors for our current situation, and the banking stuff falls into this “environment”.   

    • BRB in VT

       Excellent, Tina.

    • Steve

      Both comparisons are precisely the point.
      I also believe that those in power or positions of influence hold this as the desired outcome.

  • Mike Card

    Corporate charters can be revoked.

  • Greyman

    Financial misdeeds occur on such scale and with such
    frequency NOT in the absence of Federal banking regulations but IN SPITE OF
    Federal banking regulations. The problem appears to this pedestrian as the vast distance between regulation and accountability: the slackness in
    our legal and political (and financial) systems resides in the realm
    of accountability, where tracking down deeds to their original intent and
    performance is subject to several kinds of temporal baffling and legal obfuscation. Id est:
    “accountability” and “transparency” in the Age of Obama continue to be measured
    in very long lengths and permit much distance between actors and outcomes
    across the board, in public and private sectors alike. Without DIRECT
    accountability (observing much shorter reporting times and relationships, let
    us say) enforced throughout our respective legal, banking/financial, economic,
    and political systems, expect further financial discrepencies every bit as galling from
    every possible sector (including and not limited to Obama’s losing investment picks in the solar
    energy industry).  

  • Charles Vigneron

    What about RICO? Fraud of long-term investors? 

    Now I’m becoming physically ill.

    • Greg

      And you can hang the CEO like they do in China.

      • TFRX

        Hang them like in China?

        Nah. A round or two of seppuku by certain bidnessfolk would work for me.

    • http://profiles.google.com/phyllis.craine Phyllis Craine

      RICO is a very limited statute and very difficult to apply outside of its original intent

      • guest1111

        Then money laundering (HSBC) should be prosecuted as such. Many other instances of malfeasance (rigging municipal bond auctions, LIBOR scandal, and too many others) would fit much better under RICO. RICO has been used in the past to go after higher-ups in corporations who aided and abetted these crimes.

  • ilovedogs792

    You can’t put a corporation in jail but you can yank its charter.

  • Michael

    There will be no end to this until they start putting these bankers in jail. They will not go to jail with all of their political contributions. The banks continue and will continue to run amok with no reprisals. They are crooks with the politicians in their pockets. Nothing will happen or change it will only get worse.

  • Alma Antoniotti

    It’s very simple…this is what capitalism is all about.  Profit, period. 
    It doesn’t matter who gets hurt; people get laid off, jobs go overseas, olympic outfits get made in China because it’s cheaper.
    This is the dark side of capitalism that doesn’t get enough mention.  And, if we put a businessman in the White House we will get even more of this.  

    • D-gann

      Really? What has Obama and his Justice department done? Nothing! This happend under Obama’s watch.

      • Denise

         Wow. That’s really desperate. You’re trying to blame Obama for corporate malfeasance?

        • jefe68

          While it’s not President Obam’s fault he did have the chance to fix this and to get the Justice Department to act. Apparently there was a debate or should I say fight between Geithner and Summers and Summers lost.
          Summers wanted to come down real hard on the banks and wall street. He wanted to break them up.

          President Obama is corporatist democrat.

      • 7worldtraveler

        The fact is the POTUS cannot act alone.  Reality intrudes in the form of an obstructionist congress.

        • JGC

          BTW, what in the world did you find to “like” about Greta’s comment today concerning her distress over all the posts disparaging hardworking investment bankers.  I did not see one grain of humanity within her comment  (beyond her own selfish reasons); and this especially taken within the context of her full profile. 

          Why don’t I feel sympathy for her plight? 

          • 7worldtraveler

            Although I find it strange that you feel that I should explain myself to you, I “liked” Greta’s comment because I understand how she feels.  She says her husband is ethical & she is distressed to see ALL bankers being painted as villains.  I think that’s fair.

          • JGC

            I found myself nodding in agreement with your many postings here today on this topic of “Crooked Bankers”.   
            Except for this one item.  I want to make it clear as well:  Greta identified with private equity and investment banking, rather than your  local savings and loan banker or your garden-variety neighborhood branch banker or credit union banker.   

            It just seems like if we could get an insight into why this world of investment banking is so damn difficult, so under -appreciated, so deserving of that extra measure of respectful sympathy to match  their hyper-comfortable compensation packages,  (while all in comparison to the many other professions and just plain jobs), boy it would be like translating the Rosetta Stone.  All will be revealed, and there will be a bridge joining the 1% to the rest of the 99, and maybe at last this country could find a way to move forward together.   

      • John in Amherst

         It is fair to critique the DoJ for not taking more aggressive action.  But the derivatives trading and mortgage fraud and rate manipulation that has caused the financial meltdown, and cost so many people their life savings, their jobs, their homes, began decades ago and hit over-drive in the Bush II reign.

    • BHA in Vermont

       Yep.

      There are those who think Capitalism means the people have the right to own the means of making money.

      There are others who think Capitalism means making as much as you can and who cares if you take down the entire economy of the country and the world. “As long as I get mine” is a dandy mantra for that type of Capitalist.

  • Bemaniii

    This all makes teaching social studies much more fun. White collar crime does pay!

  • superfinehelios

    The correction to the system is to actually throw them in real jail! Seize assets. I don’t care if it hurts their kids and wives/husbands. Crime is crime. The mentality that “corporations aren’t people” is bogus! No captain of a ship should face criminal charges then! The people perpetuating the inculpable nature of corporations are simply hoping to protect their own. 

  • Walnut28

    If you can’t put corporations in Jail, why are they considered to be “people” and have rights to influence elections?  The supreme court should be put in jail for making Super Pacs legal, without carrying individual responsibilities or answering to the law!  

    • John in Amherst

      Recently spotted T shirt slogan:  “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one”

  • Charles Vigneron

    Early law in some colonies, states, made them prove they continued in the service of the common wealth.

  • john in danvers

    Hey Tom, yes you can put a corporation in jail.  What’s amazing is States are under attack by the banks especially in derivatives, yet not a single one has sued to revoke their corporate charter or to condemn their assets for eminent domain purchase.  Yeah, you can get them.  The better question is why not….

    John in danvers

    • 7worldtraveler

      They are most likely not chartered in the states in which they are doing business.

      • john in danvers

        These banks are huge nested collections of subsidiary corporate charters.  You can be sure any state has several charters to go after.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    It’s time to resurrect the movement to revoke corporate charters for illegal activities.

    Investors then become very powerful tools for law enforcement in that their money will flee any entity brought to task for illegal activity.

  • John in Vermont

    People forget that Congress & the public said ‘let ‘em fail’ to banks and Wall St and then the banks applied the screws to Main St. – suddenly the tune changed.  The results of this action continue as local governments struggle to find money, houses go empty and small town America stagnates.

  • Martin Reiter

    Correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it one of the main purposes of the corporate structure is to shield the people in charge from personal liability. It seems that the system is working exactly as it is supposed to. To the detriment of society as a whole.

  • superfinehelios

    Okay revoke a charter…so that’s a good first step. Either the actual PEOPLE that allowed/neglected/ignored/forgot their team is engaged in illegal activities are held responsible, everything else amounts to a slap on the wrist. ANY leader should stress the importance of staying legal to every member of the team. Are these ‘captains’ so insulated from the workings of their companies?

  • Paulmushrush

    A corporation, even as a person, cannot be held in jail, but I believe that that criminal activities performed by them should result in some moral, law-based punishment, such as: major fines that could dismantle the group and force it to divide its holdings, fines directly to controlling stockholders and CEOs, or even the automatic disintegration of the entire corporation which would be a major cost/s to stockholder/s

  • Steve

    Please provide the addresses of the mannsions in the Hamptons.

  • Bubba

    Tom and Guests;
                           When the government fails to “act”, will the people be forced to. What was the situation “after” the Great Depression with the Company owners and the union busters ?
    Will History “repeat” itself ?

  • Steve

    The Congress, Supreme Court, and executive branch will be in the same neighborhood.

  • Ron

    All facets of the system is so intractably corrupt that nothing can ever happen to right this situation. Something will have to seriously break for any substantive change to occur. The collapse of 2008 was not enough to sufficiently mobilize the people.

  • jim thompson in fort mill,sc

    Isn’t it “funny” that one of the few-if only-folks tried and convicted has been Bernie Maddoff?  Oh wait…he was stealing from the 1%, could that be why he went to jail?

    • harverd phd

      Have you forgotten the union pension funds?

  • Bill

    Why is this banking mess such a mystery? It comes down to one word. “Greed.” It’s as old as man. Over 2,000 years ago a guy named Paul put it in one sentence in a letter he sent to his friend Timothy; “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

  • Wantland

    What do you expect when the head of the treasury didn’t pay his own taxes?

  • Sweetpeace13

    What astounds me is that there is so little public outrage or media coverage of the power of these bankers money in the pockets of our politicians. Of course they get off scott free when they have paid advocates in the form of our elected officials. And yet, we are never holding our politicians accountable for allowing this corruption in campaign finance and how that means that they rig the system. We are happy to ignore the greed and dishonesty. Frankly, that makes me sick to my stomach. 

  • troll_doll

    The opposition to this behavior exists all over. The opposition has been systematically thrown in jail through their protests accross the country from Zuccotti Park to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in California. You can bet that Local and Federal Government is protecting this behavior. Banks support both parties

  • Will Patten

    It should be noted that in our new world of restricted resources and peak oil, traditional short term investment opportunities are gone…except in financial manipulation.  We need to understand that we are operating in never-before-seen economic circumstance.  It doesn’t surprise me that the weaker among us flock to the financial game.

  • Julia Houriet

    Thanks for turning over this rock to see the filth underneath. It’s been in the dark for too long. And thanks for demanding more answers, speaking for me!

  • Tim

    Our politicians have led us to believe that corruption is un American and far beneath them and something that only other governments engage in. I think that the fact that the banks and bankers can get away with this free and clear points to the fact that collusion and corruption occur between the boardroom and the highest levels of our government. 

  • Scott B

    The SCOTUS says corporations are people, maybe we need a “corporate jail”?  Limit them like under Glass-Steagall, break them up, limit executive pay and benefits, and so on. 

    Why Ireland has pursued criminal charges against the big banks that deliberately sold them bad paper, I don’t know?  But it would be interesting to listen to the poor bankers and hedge fund managers whine about how they can’t visit their European villas because of warrants.

    • BHA in Vermont

       They’ll just sell them and buy another in a more ‘hospitable’ country.

  • 7worldtraveler

    Tom, your guest is giving way too much credit to George Bush regarding the prosecution of Tom Lay.  If you recall, he was running for REELECTION and even with the prosecution of a crony, his reelection margin was so slim as to set records.  Remember FL?  I’m disappointed you didn’t pick up on this.

  • Tc

    That they get away with these crimes is bad enough, but one gets the feeling that they sit around chuckling about all of our hand wringing and fretting.  If laws won’t take care of them, hopefully, “what goes around comes around” will.  Eventually, in some form.

    • BHA in Vermont

       ”Eventually, in some form.”

      Except that won’t help all the people unemployed because the economy tanked in 2008 due to the actions of these bankers.

  • Me123

    I have met in the past couple of years people who lost their 401K in the 2008 crisis. The crisis is real. One man was 65 and had to go back to work as plumber. His 401K of over 100K was wiped out in a heartbeat. I don’t have the numbers, but I am sure it has happened to many people. They wake up to realize their 401K has simply “vanished”. I have a hard time believing this. The money went somewhere. Probably into the pockets of financial elites. On another note, I doubt Senator “Levin” will do anything to regulate “Goldman”. I’m sure that he will turn a blind eye to “Dimon” and any other “Stein” or “Gold” or “Silver” or “Cohen” or “Goldberg”. They are all from the same tribe. And they are degrading conditions in our Western World. Their isn’t anything American or European about them.

    • TFRX

      “They are all from the same tribe.”

      Seriously, dude, you left out the Rothschilds, and they are so pissed they didn’t make the cut.

      • harverd phd

         HA!   funny

        • BRB in VT

           Deflating anti-semitism and being funny at the same time… good work, TFRX.

          • TFRX

            Thanks, I’ll be here all week. Try the ribeye.

    • Olivier

      sympathies aside, that is par for the course — investing in the markets can go to zero. All of us have lost lot of money on many many unscrupulous companies — MCI, ENRON and so on…Hopefully Gov sponsored Ponzi scheme (AKA Social Security) will help them.

  • jim

    I hear callers calling for these bankers to be in prison. Fat chance, disenfranchised voters, Fat chance.

    you know why. you have your own crooked politicians running this country, especially your congressional Republicans. i am not directing it squarely at the republicans. there are democrats in this picture who let these guys go amok as well. but repeatedly, i see congressional republicans reject rules and regulations. for what? you think regulations are going to destroy jobs? or would you prefer to let these bankers bring this country to its knees and we all go to soup kitchens?

    think again… regulations are suppose to protect customers and citizens like us. nothing is free. there is always a cost. we have regulations in the early 60s.. and the economy is humming well.

  • Johntneilson

     And, Tom, what about the behaviours that are possibly not illegal but certainly against the public interest – stuctured finance tax avoidance schemes (in which Barclays was a major player) which cost huge amounts of lost tax revenue to the US and UK among others and yielded tens of millions of dollars income to each lucky banker involved each year,,,

  • Johntneilson

     And, Tom, what about the behaviours that are possibly not illegal but certainly against the public interest – stuctured finance tax avoidance schemes (in which Barclays was a major player) which cost huge amounts of lost tax revenue to the US and UK among others and yielded tens of millions of dollars income to each lucky banker involved each year,,,

    • BHA in Vermont

       That’s how the 1%, including Romney, keep getting richer every year.

      And hey, we wouldn’t want anyone to pay more tax (after using deductions and loopholes unavailable to the 99%) than s/he is legally required to pay now would we?? 

      Not even if the income was 99.9% unearned, not even subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes, with ZERO effort on the part of the person. That is called being SUCCESSFUL.

  • Granvillexx

    Yeah, yeah the banks are sorry. Just like everyone else who gets caught.

    • TFRX

      You forgot the full quote: “I’m so sorry…that I got caught.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    If a liquor store violates the law, they lose their license and can no longer sell booze. If a restaurant violates code they lose their permits to sell food. Corporations need to be held accountable, and if they won’t keep their own house clean, they should lose the right to exist. Corporate charters can be revoked.

    • BHA in Vermont

       Except they are “too big to fail” so we “can’t”.

      I say BREAK THEM UP. Any company too big to fail is too big to exist. If the people running them are so BRILLIANT (and they must be since they get paid tens of millions a year), they will have no trouble figuring out how to compete against the foreign “big boys” with LEGAL collaboration of NOT “too big to fail” companies.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

        Basically it would come down to that – “do these things because you can’t seem to run your corporation legally – or your charter is revoked”

    • Dee

      The way to bring the bankers or any corporation into compliance with the morals of society are to change the way ‘charters’ are dispensed.  Right now a corporation or bank applies for a charter and usually gets it for however long they want it (usually forever).  Just change the length the charter is good for, i.e. length of time is 1 year; so they have to apply each year for a new charter.  This is one of the ways ‘business’ was held in check back in the early days of the U.S.  Then when the ‘business’ reapplies, the agency overseeing this checks how the ‘business’ “helped” society become better. ['A rising tide floats ALL boats"]

      The next way to bring the bankers and any corporation into compliance with the morals of society are to make ALL corporate officers AND the boards of directors criminally responsible for any ‘wrong doing’ of the ‘business’.  Write this fact right into their charter AND make it part of the deal for them to get A CHARTER.  This fact not in the charter, they don’t get a charter.  [ The enviromentalist can use this tactic to make 'businesses' tow the line concerning the enviroment. ]

      And in conjuction with the above criminal clause in the charter you write into the charter that if criminal or illegal activities are found in the conducting of their business; that ALL the assests of the Company [that includes any off shore and/or overseas assests] AND that of the Boards of Directors AND the Company’s Corporate Officers {and any offshore and/or overseas assests they have}.  NO LIMIT ON STATUTE OF LIMITATION on the criminal or illegal activities; with the criminal prosecution and imprisonment of those responsible for the criminal or illegal activities.  NO PLEA DEALS !!!!  HARD PRISON TIME !!!!  AND IMPRISONMENT IN A REAL PRISON (like Attaca, Levenworth, or an IMAX Prison, etc.) NOT IN THE COUNTRY CLUB PRISONS !!!!

      This is the only way we (society) can impose the morals of society and replace the corruption and greed of bankers and of the corporations; the “businesses” don’t tow the line they lose their money and freedom.  CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE !!!!!!

    • VinceD2

      That will only work if the executives are held personally accountable. We have seen so may instances where people’s lives have been ruined or sacrificed for profit that the death sentence should be considered fo rthese corporate crooks. It’s long past time to get serious with these “people”.

  • Wackerdr

    Back at the beginning of our nation, banks could print their own money. Just seems that they’ve found a new way to essentially do the same thing. Congress eventually stopped that practice through regulation — why not do that today?

  • Doug in Virginia

    Remember Alan Greenspan’s words:”I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organisations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.”
    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/23/greenspans-mea-culpa/http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/oct/24/economics-creditcrunch-federal-reserve-greenspan

  • Robert

    just bring back Glass Steagall and scrap the SEC. They are far too velvet-gloved in their “settlements” with all these evil banksters. What about the Government-to-Wall Street revolving door? It is simple. The banks have become blatant criminals. Why none of these crooks aren’t doing the perp walk is baffling to me!

  • SusanFL

    I was a senior vice president at a major financial institution who just left after 30 years in financial services due to ethical and bullying issues that are ignored. Lots of rules on the books both internally and state/federal regulations but it is a broken business model. Fear and greed rule. We need real leadership and true empowerment at all levels within these banks that recognize ethical reliability. Thank goodness for John Bogel’s ongoing campaign for ethics and yes, bring back Glass Stiegel to curb greed.

    • TFRX

      As someone who has been on the inside, I want to plumb your sense of things:

      When these flareups happen, do any of the companies ever want to go public with a big ad campaign about how they’re different from XYZ (LTCM, Enron, every black eye since 2007)?

      Or do they “hang together” that they may not “hang separately”? For example, I was waiting for one oil company to tell us in image ads after the BP Deepwater gulf spill that “We’re different. We keep our stuff in shape and running right.” But it never happened.

      • TFRX

        And it’s good to hear someone who’s playing the game say “We need referees”.

  • 7worldtraveler

    A man who has never gone to school may steal from a bank but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole financial system.
    -With apologies to Theodore Roosevelt

  • bobbypeek

    Two suggestions:
    1.  Prosecute bankers who break the law (going against the interest of their clients is or should be against the law) and sentence them to real prisons for times dependent on the amount of hurt they caused.  So if a robber gets 1 year for robbing 1 person with a 6-gun, shouldn’t a robber get 100,000 years for robbing 100,000 people with a fountain pen?  Thanks, Woodie Guthrie.
     
    2.  Pass laws that would make banks too big to fail too big to exist.  Enforce laws equivalent to the old anti-trust laws.

  • Paul Pennoyer

    I have always felt that the financial industry has been suspect.
    Inside trading, manipulation of data and favored clients is and has been
    everyday practice since the day money was invented. The “good old boys” are
    thought to have policed themselves and to have descended from a more ethically
    inclined breed of businessman.  Practices
    of insider trading, stock manipulation and other deceit were easy to cover up
    and justify as being good for the people.  Now with the availability of so much information,
    the expansive opportunities for making money in finance and a more knowledgeable
    public, hiding shadowy practices is increasingly difficult.

    • TFRX

      It’s worse.

      The outsized creation of “profit” unbalances the whole economy to a degree. Competition for investors’ dollars? Media coverage? Political activity? Much less real-world than a third of a century ago.

  • jimino

    1.  The type of activity that led to problems is NOT actual banking and those engaging in it should not be allowed to call themselves a “bank”, a title which should be reserved for actual banks.

    2.  Although criminally and civilly punishing the wrongdoers individually is necessary, corporations CAN be “put in jail” simply by being ordered to cease all business activity for a period of time.  This would also punish the shareholders but would give them further rights to pursue remedies against the individual wrongdoers.  And it would definitely make them more vigilant about how their money is being used.

    3.  The real elephant in the room was pointed out by one of your guests, and that is the stock market is no longer a system for raising capital for ongoing businesses, but a system of placing bets in a rigged game that does not promote successful capitalist economy.

  • jefe68

    If there were serious laws regarding the criminal wrong doing described in this show it would stop or at least there would be less of it. If a Lloyd Blankfein was charged on the federal level, as they do drug dealers, he would lose all his assets, and see some serious jail time if convicted. Say 15 to 20 years. 

    If these were the consequences of breaking the law and engaging in these conspiracies you bet they would stop. Hit them in ways they understand, take all their assets.
    The Federal Marshals would love this as they would be the ones putting the chains on the doors of the mansions.

  • John in Amherst

    “Gamblin’ man rolls the dice,
    Workingman pays the bills
    It’s still fat & easy up on Bankers’ Hill
    Up on Bankers’ Hill the party’s going strong
    Down here below we’re shackled and drawn”

    –Bruce Springsteen from “Shackled and Drawn”

  • Steve_T

    I recently went to a bank not my own to cash a check from a merchant I did some work for. The Bank wanted to CHARGE ME to cash their own check! I asked the teller If I were to deposit this into my bank account at another bank would they charge the bank an $8.00 fee? “NO” was the reply. So why are you charging me? “You are not a customer, because you don’t have an account with us”. Does my bank have an account? “No but” she then called a supervisor to explain their banking policy, at which point I left. I asked a teller at my bank that if I wrote a check to an individual that brought that check to this bank would you charge them if they do not have an account? Yes there is a fee. This is how the Banks dollar and dime us to death.
    They wont charge each other, but they have no problem sticking it to us.

    • Vigilarus

      Credit Unions are the answer, but bankers bribed Congress to legislate limited access to credit union membership. Yet another example of what a crock the ‘free market’ is….

  • Vasco DeGrabya

    Greed is a human constant.  Government and regulation are required to harness and control this powerful and potentially dangerous motivation.

    • Tom Brown

       Not according to neoclassical monetarist economic thinking (theoclassical economics) in which the only government involvement required is to set interest rates of overnight loans at the Fed. To someone like Milton Friedman or Alan Greenspan it’s utterly inconceivable that markets wouldn’t regulate themselves. They can’t see past their extremely flawed theory of “enlightened self interest” which is supposed to make the world run with unregulated clock-like efficiency. Unfortunately, the theoclassical school is completely dominant in our universities, academic journals, think tanks, businesses, and government.

  • Leni

    We have the best politicians money can buy! That’s what happen to reform!!

  • Hennorama

    This will not stop until people go to jail for these offenses.  The fact that the Justice Dept. routinely negotiates these “deferred prosecution agreements” in lieu of possible jail time for offenders significantly contributes to public apathy and cynicism.  Most people who hear about these outrageous acts think to themselves “well at least someone’s going to jail…” and are confounded to no end when prosucutors allow these entities to go on with their business after simply paying a fine, implementing corporate reforms, and “fully cooperating” with the investigation.
     
    These agreements generally do NOT count as part of a criminal history, if there was no finding of guilt by a court and the defendant did not plead guilty or otherwise admit guilt in open court.

    It’s simply outrageous.

    Corporations simply consider these fines and costs as part of the costs of doing business, and this needs to stop.

    Clearly, at minimum, HSBC’s banking licenses in the U.S. should be revoked, and they should pay fines of 100 times the profits they made in these schemes.

    Jail time for the humans involved and a corporate death penalty for the entities involved are really the only way to prevent this from recurring.

  • Akilez Castillo

    No One ever go to jail in Wall Street. tired of this discussion.

    • Leni

      Yep! Big payoffs do pay off!!

  • Tom Brown

    Why aren’t there any “good” bankers left? William K. Black refers to Gresham’s Dynamic in which “bad ethics drives good ethics out of the markets.” This goes way back!  Sir Thomas Gresham (1519–1579)

    • Akilez Castillo

      Because there were never a good banker.

      • harverd phd

         Or English teacher apparently

        • Ray in VT

          Don’t give him a hard time, please.  I believe that English is at least his second language.

  • Gia

     One benefit of the banking disgrace is that the integrity of used car salesman has improved.  

  • Brown Tom

    George Akerlof in his 1970 work on “Lemon Markets” for which he received the Nobel Prize, explains Gresham’s Dynamic in terms of the used car market in which he demonstrates the incentive for used car dealers to lie, the public to become skeptical, and the honest used car seller to exit the market because the price he can get for his quality wares goes down. It’s all due to “information asymmetry” in the market… something which our dominant neoclassical school of economics (Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Paul Krugman) denies the existence of in their erroneous and over-simplified models. Neoclassicists, no matter if they are of the Market Fundamentalist stripe (Monetarists) such as Friedman, or the neo-Keynsian stripe (such as Krugman) worship their discredited neoclassical models of the economy above all else with a fanatical religious devotion. That’s why they’ve acquired the nickname “theoclassical.” Are there aspects of neoclassicism that might be useful? Perhaps… but the stranglehold of this flawed theory should be broken in light of it’s utter failure to predict the meltdown in 2008.

  • Charles Vigneron

    Error misplaced my reply to Tina far down the page.
    Kudos to Mr. Ashbrook. It’s difficult to be objective when your viscera know great crimes when you see them. Before the program began there seemed more suggestions posted advocating ancient methods of violence. Why does it seem every generation must learn greedy people want to be around money. Isn’t that Biblical wisdom?

  • Bill

    History already tells us what happens when government fails to protect the people and the institutions of power – para-military organizations tend to pop up.  The establishment will call them vigilantes and terrorists, semantics are semantics, reality is that such groups spring up when government fails.  It happened in Europe as recently as the early 1970s.  My money is that we are on the eve of such groups starting to form again.  Bankers might not worry about government and prison time, but will lose sleep over this scenario.   

  • Charles Vigneron

    Excellent, Tina.

    When I use the term corporate feudalism it is the long arc of history I have to compare. Enclosure may be regarded as class struggle. Ancient rights of thanes v. modernity. 

  • Tom Brown

    It should be clear to everybody by now that

    campaign contributions = political corruption

    Nobody gives a $10 million campaign contribution out there without asking for some very specific favors in return. And who can afford to give $10 million campaign contributions? The people receiving the favors. If they make enough money off of it, they’ll be able to affort $15 million campaign contributions next time around. It’s a vicious positive feedback loop of economic and political corruption.

    The fact that the Supreme Court decided that this wouldn’t be a problem if they lifted the campaign contribution cap to infinity is astounding. Either they are dumb but too proud to change their mind now, or they are even too dumb to still see that it’s a problem, or they are evil.

  • Tom Brown

    People that bellyache about “regulators” and “the government” are full of it. Just translate “regulators” into what it actually is: “white collar law enforcement” and then translate “government” into “tax-payers.” That’s what I always do when arguing with a “hands-off” devotee of market fundamentalism (theoclassical economics). Are regulations, regulators, and the government flawed? Absolutely!! Especially when elected officials, who are supposed to oversee the regulators, and create their budgets, are being bribed (getting campaign contributions). But you don’t cut the budget for the homicide section of the police department because the murder rate went up! Do you push for more oversight and transparency and the removal of incompetent staff (including the chief if necessary) if the murder rate doesn’t start going down? Sure! But you don’t stop enforcing the law and you don’t cut the budget down to the point where you guarantee failure. That seems to be the Republican approach (not that I don’t have plenty of complaints about the Dems too). The supposed “tough of crime” party cuts regulator’s budgets, and then they complain like mad when the regulators don’t do their jobs and threaten to cut their budgets even more!

    “Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work, and then they get elected and prove it.” – P. J. O’Rourke (writer for the conservative CATO institute!)

  • Tom Brown

    Why did New York get all the bankers and New Jersey all the toxic waste dumps?

    New Jersey had first choice.

  • Akilez Castillo

    iOnePoint:

    2012 prediction that Israel will blame Iran for bombings that will occur in Europe.

  • CEB

    Banks are the new tobacco companies for the 21st century. A good way to stop this is suspend or revoke all trading licenses for the institutions for 3-5 years.

  • Mtntyme

    What is new is that we have had political leaders who advocate and glorify greed as a virture.

  • Geto Boys

    Damn it feels good to be a bankster

  • Still Here

    Lots of predictable whining and pitchforks, but no evidence of actual crimes.  

    • Ray in VT

      Typical defense of big corporations and their wrong doings.  Certainly there’s no evidence that banks have been breaking laws by manipulating rates, discriminating against minority borrowers, or, as alleged in this report, that they’ve laundered drug money.  I’m sure that this is just Obama’s fault somehow.

      • Still Here

        Again, no real crimes, but the law for you is an after-thought.  Where are the indictable offenses?     

        It’s alleged by law enforcement authorities that Obama’s birth certificate is a fake.  What if we all ran wild with those allegations?  Then I’d bet you’d  protest.  Make up your simple mind.

        • Ray in VT

          Oh yeah, the law’s an afterthought for me.  You’ve really got me pegged.  Just like how reality and facts are an afterthought for you.  I bet you believe in this Limbaugh Batman conspiracy.  It would fit right into a worldview if you’re willing to swallow that Joe Arpaio nonsense.

          I’m pretty sure that only one of us is of simple mind, and it sure as hell isn’t me.

          What sort of cracked, half-baked world do you live in?  Wells Fargo ponied up a pretty massive fine over mortgage discrimination.  Barclays paid a huge fine over LIBOR.  I’m sure that neither of those institutions were actually guilty of anything.  You are aware that firms will pay fines for breaking laws and avoiding prosecution, right?  It’s like a plea bargain for corporations.

          • Still Here

            Except they don’t admit guilt, which is kind of a big point don’tya think.  They are small prices to pay to avoid some sort of contrived political prosecution. 

            If I subscribed to your pathetic logic, I’d have Obama booted out of office just on the allegation he’s not American.  Right, isn’t that good enough?  We’ll sort out the truth thing later.

            Consistency is a bummer.

          • Modavations

             When it come to being a moron your are most consistent.

          • jefe68

            The problem with your argument is Obama’s mother is an American citizen.

            So even if president Obama was born in foreign country, (which he was not) his mother could have applied for him as a citizen by simply presenting the birth certificate to an US embassy or consulate office.

            My daughter was born in a foreign country and her mother was also foreign and yet I was able to register her as an American citizen because I was one.

            A person’s record of birth abroad, if registered with a U.S. consulate
            or embassy, is proof of citizenship. They may also apply for a passport
            or a Certificate of Citizenship to have their citizenship recognized.

          • Ray in VT

            Wells did deny the allegation, but they still paid up.  Hmmm, now why would an innocent institution with boatloads of cash not fight a supposedly unfounded allegation?  Doesn’t smell on the up and up to me.

            “Contrived political prosection”?  Man, you are so incredibly pathetic that it is laughable.  Is there nothing that a company can do that you won’t defend here?  Care to defend everything that Countrywide did in the run up to the financial crisis?

            Also, you logic on Obama is flawed.  For your analogy to work, then the President, in order to avoid a contrived political prosecution, would need to step down rather than contest the allegations.

          • Still Here

            Where in the public sector do you work exactly?  Wells calculated whether burying this story forever with a small payment was better than years of litigation and a pr war.  Simple really. 

            I am not aware of any systemic criminality at Countrywide.  The idea that they forced people to take mortgages they couldn’t afford is laughable. 

            That seems like the honorable way out.

          • Ray in VT

            I work for a private sector company, thank you very much, not that that matters.

            So, they made the calculation that it was better/easier to pay up and get out of the news now rather than defend themselves and maybe get all of their dirty laundry aired.  Fair enough.  Still doesn’t seem like the actions of an innocent party.

            What is laughable to me is that you can claim to be unaware of systematic problems at Countrywide after all of the mess that has gone on.  Here’s some of the latest:

            http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-rt-us-bankofamerica-countrywide-syncorabre86h02v-20120717,0,2619953.story

            Did they force people to take mortgages?  No.  Did they give loans to people who they knew couldn’t pay them back because they thought that they could pass that risk off to others before things hit the fan?  Sure looks like it.

          • VinceD2

            Don’t mind him, he trolls her all the time.
             
            Money laundering is a crime, so is aiding terrorists. These bankers should be hanged in front of their institutions.

          • Ray in VT

            I know, but this was an especially stupid comment.

          • Ray in VT

             His, not yours.

        • Modavations

           You never fail to amaze when it comes to the extent of your idiocy. 

        • jefe68

          Actually the LIBOR scandal, which has caused the CEO of Barclay’s to resign is a criminal action being investigated by DOJ and the British, is a criminal act.

          There were plenty of other criminal acts done by such companies as Goldman Sacs where by they conspired to hedge against their clients while claiming to act in their clients best interest.

          It’s amazing how far gone ones own ideology can distort their sensibility of what is right and wrong. Did you not listen to one thing that John Bogle said?

        • jefe68

          Pot calling the kettle black.

        • Mike Card

          You must live in Maricopa County.  Nobody else in the English-speaking world considers that deranged misanthropic sheriff a “law enforcement authority.”

    • Mike Card

      Theft, fraud, and lying on official documents aren’t crimes in your world?

      • Still Here

        Just waiting for the indictments and successful prosecutions, old school I guess.

  • Bart

    Bring back GLASS /STEAGALL !  and fine Bill Clinton for 99% of his Financial Wealth- for some OWS style poetic justice.

  • Davidsnieckus2

    tom:

    As Independence Day Has come and gone would you give ANY
    consideration to my argument:
    Here: http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-REAL-secret-of-the-fra-by-David-Snieckus-120710-406.html

    There was no legal initial mortgage contract to begin with as there was:

    No Consideration…i.e. no
    money….no loan: …..can only be considered a purported loan/     Has Fictitious or
    Illusionary Consideration; (see Montgomery
    vs. Daly) An interest bearing Mortgage
    Contact can not possible be fulfilled by everyone because of usury ( Where
    does the interest come from if there was only one mortgage contract in the
    world.)      
    therefore it is  Civilly Void and Unenforceable;False statements are signed
    by the borrower. i.e       
    A False Document Part
    of a Bait and Switch; The bankers and lawyers string you along into
    signing these false documents thinking you have a loan and are the
    borrower when in fact you are the creditor and have GIVEN them or they
    HAVE  STOLEN your credit.   

    David Snieckus
    99 Crescent street
    Newton, MA 02466
    617-964-2951
     

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/G7IMPHMHH4Z5Q6ZXKXY47ZRAOI MarkC

    Tom I see your blaming the banks too much. This is wrong. It’s not the banks fault or problem at all. IT’S OUR GOVERNMENTS FAULT THAT TURNS A BLIND EYE, AND LETS THEM DO WHAT THEY WANT!

    • VinceD2

      Aye, but the banks have bought the government!

  • Susan

    The problem is what government has done to our money – read book by same name at http://mises.org/document/617 – yet the law that established the federal  government says that no state shall make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in the Payment of Debts.  See what happened to France when she fell for the paper money deception and compare to what is happening to US:  http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/6949

  • Carla

    The reason why you see this huge HSBC scandal is because banks get so big that its too difficult to regulate them and they are so powerful that regulators are told  not to make an example of these big banks a lot of the time. I work for a small bank in the bsa department which does internal monitoring of suspicious activity such as fraud and terrorist financing. This little two branch bank that I work for has to jump through hoops to document what our costumer’s do, their line of business, their net worth, how long they have been at that job, what money will come into the account who they will pay, their customer’s suppliers to open a measly account. Mean while Bank of America, Chase, hardly know anything about their customer’s. The way were are regulated is not an even playing field because if my bank gets a fine of a million dollars we are likely to go bankrupt. Obviously the amount these big banks are getting fined is not enough to make them think twice about what they are doing. The industry is “regulated” but the big banks are often exempt and they are so big they are too powerful and almost impossible to monitor.

  • Carla

    Tom, you are right about culture. i have worked at banks where you are pressured not to ask questions about suspicious activity and at banks that make their account officers accountable for answering questions. Management plays a huge role.

  • Carla

    Regulators need better training. It’s not that hard to  pull a fast one on them because they cant be held accountable to know everything. they need specialized training in BSA. But you are also comparing a regulator who makes $50-$80k and banks pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to their staff. This begs the question, where are most (not all) of the most qualified people going to go work? Government needs to invest in the regulators.

  • Carla

     …and then if we really fine one of these big banks. If we really punish them and they don’t recover and they bankrupt the whole economy goes down the tubes. So we have set up a system where we really can’t regulate them. Way to go government.

  • Hank

    More prosecutions are needed, much more. Illegal behavior has to have significant consequences and that has stopped happening for the financial industry.

  • Brian from Boston

     I know this sounds extreme, but these are extreme crimes. The punishment clearly does not fit the crime. I like the idea of forcing the convicted to do real community service, but what I really want is to see them do hard time. I would love to see some of these bankers in chain gangs cleaning up highway medians, making vanity license plates, working in call centers, and all the other thankless jobs we have convicts do. We need to think much bigger though.Their crimes have global repercussions. Is there a way we can hand the CEOs or CFOs of these companies over to the Hague for trial for human rights abuses? They created the conditions under which the world economy collapsed. The GOP loves the death penalty. They think it’s actually a deterrent to crime (clearly its not). Maybe we should put the capital (as in $) in capital punishment? :) Actually I’m not a fan of the death penalty, but you get my point. No more slaps on the wrists. Put them in prison for life.To really punish the companies, the fines need to be substantial. Instead of millions which they can easily absorb, the fines should be in the billions, if not a trillion. We could use that money to pay down the national debt.The parts of the DoJ, SEC, and other law enforcement agencies that are supposed to enforce the laws that are designed to restrain the banks and investment companies have been financially hamstrung thanks to the banks’ lobbyists. One thing we really need to do is fully fund them and demand that the laws we already have be enforced. That won’t be enough though. We need much stricter regulations and enforcement like we built after the Great Depression too.

    • VinceD2

      Actually, the death penalty is quite appropriate. These crooks are parasites, no better than fleas and ticks and they should be treated as such. They are causing deaths, and they are doing so just for bragging right of how much money they “made”. I say hang them in front of their institutions and send a message. There is no reason society should tolerate their actions.

    • Vigilarus

      And use RICO statutes to seize the bankers’ plunder. Leave them and theirs broke as their victims.

  • EJ

    CORPORATIONS ARE DECLARED AS PEOPLE ENJOY THE FREEDOMS OF PRIVATE CITIZENS, BUT NONE OF THE LIABILITY
    BY THAT DEFINITION COULD INDIVIDUALS DECLARE THEMSELVES LIMITED LIABILITY PEOPLE? OF COURSE NOT. AN ABSURD NOTION BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION.
    THERE IS NOTHNG CREATED BY THE “FINANCIAL INDUSTRY” IT IS AN IDUSTRY IN NAME ONLY.
    MUCH MALFESCENCE IS ACCEPTED SOLELY BECAUSE OF THE ABSTRACT NATURE OF INVESTMENT AND SPECULATION.
    IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO ATTEMPT THE SAME RISKY ILLOGICAL AND DOWNRIGHT NEFARIOUS SCHEMES WITH ACTUAL MATERIAL GOODS,
    IT WOULD QUICKLY BE DEEMED A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE, AND THOSE AT FAULT WOULD BE CORRECTLY IDENTIFIED AS CRIMINALS AND BROUGHT TO JUSTICE.
    THE ONLY MECHANISM THAT COULD POSSIBLY HOPE TO REGULATE THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY WOULD BE THE GOVERNMENT BUT THAT PART OF THE GOVERNMENT IS OWNED AND DOMINATED BY THAT VERY SAME INDUSTRY. SO THERE REALLY IS NO HOPE OF THAT OUTCOME.
    AT THE CURRENT RATE, MEGABANKS AND INVESTMENT FIRMS WILL MANIPULATE THE MARKETS FOR AS MANY BIG PADAYS AS THEY POSSIBLY CAN, AND ONCE THERE IS NO CAPITAL OR EVEN PERCIEVED CAPITAL LEFT TO SIPHON OUT OF THE WORLD ECONOMY, THE PARASITIC ORGANISM WILL EITHER FIND ANOTHER MARKET TO EXPLOIT OR DIE JUST AS A VIRUS OR A PARASITE DOES ONCE IT HAS KILLED ITS HOST. THIS IS HONESTLY THE ONLY OUTCOME I CAN CONCIEVE AT THIS POINT.
    THIS IS AN EVOLVING WORLD ORDER WITH NO ALLEGIANCES OR LOYALTY, NO BORDERS OR NATIONALITY.
    THE ONLY IDENTIFIABLE CHARACTERISTIC OF THIS IS THE PURSUIT OF WEALTH AND POWER AT ALL COST TO ANYTHING AND ANYONE.
    EINSTEIN SAID THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY IS DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AND EXPECTING A DIFFERENT OUTCOME.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002296415298 Ahmad Hassan

    Just like deregulation, monetary and fiscal policy are in a mess.

    Simple countercyclicality is abandoned for simpleton procyclicality: The
    logic is so clear, it is amazing it has not been packaged [possibly even in
    sound-bites] for campaign rhetoric.  It
    is the kind of thing against which there is no argument.  Cheney’ s quip about “a quaint piety” is
    wrong because he used it during a time vigorous economic performance.  If the right doubts Keynes, why does it implement
    military Keynesianism .

     

    When monetary easing becomes like pushing on a thread it is
    at best useless.  Giving money to the 50
    states (equal to what top 5 banks, dealers, insurers) is a way to accommodate real
    spending.  No liquidity trap here.  Without designated spending quantitative
    easing has no assured results.l 
    http://theoriginalamed.blogspot.com/2012/05/is-it-… 
     
    Financial shenanigans are so tightly connected to attitudes that promote
    deregulation and lax enforcement.. At the same time fiscal and monetary
    policies are stymied. 
    http://theoriginalamed.blogspot.com/2012/07/is-rou

  • Joe Weiner

    Ethical desert?:  Banks have bought the political system. It’s basic to our banks that they can charge 10% above their costs for credit cards and can raise interest rates to more than 20% when borrowers miss a payment.  And bankruptcy is no longer an option for debtors.  This usury is now legal.  
    At the last crisis the Tea Party formed in part in outrage against the bailout of banks.  Crises don’t bring reform.  Leaders do.  Where are the political leaders speaking truth to power? 

  • Chuck

    Just heard today’s show and I was struck by the fact that no one seemed to point out that the banks have essentially become an organized crime syndicate!  If nothing else the LIBOR fiasco illustrates this quite poignantly.  Why is that? These guys should be prosecuted under the RICO statutes that were put in place to deal with the mob.   But then again it seems to me the political class are essentially in bed with the bankers now aren’t they…..I won’t hold my breath waiting for some AG to have the guts to file charges…ahhm where is A.G. Schneiderman?

    Anybody who is even remotely concerned with the way the financial industry has steered and co-opted the political system should be asking the politicians the have the power to elect where they stand on this issue and if they are willing to go up against the new mafia!

  • Olivier

    How can a government that runs the biggest public ponzi scheme and the biggest “smoke and mirror’ book of finances, which does not balance revenues with expenses enforce moral compass upon others. Why cannot corporations be jailed…just revoke their licenses…confiscate their assets and conduct business for the people. Glass Segal is a must. Which person has gone to prison for the havoc they wreaked on all of humanity for 2007-2009 crisis. It was man made. Gov has no authority when it chooses to hire X-CEO from these very banks run the bankrupt government books…it is like a prostitute playing church lady.
    LOL

    • CarltonStrauss

      In the oldest form of hunter gatherer societies, they practice a form of hunting called persistence hunting.  If a tribe at any one time has two or three young men who can actually run down an antelope in the heat of the day, over many hours until the animal collapses, they are lucky. These young men support the entire tribe with meat.  I suppose this is a ponzi scheme too.
      In our society these few “skilled hunters” are have decided that it is bad business to share with the tribe.  They are armored mentally against seeing the reality that  without society as a whole and the millions who have gone before us, their labors and discoveries, they would be nothing at all.  They think it is natural for he best and brightest to keep it all for themselves.
      That is the real ponzi scheme — the ponzi scheme of the selfish jaundiced spirit.

  • Eric

    I have been waiting for four years to see Banker CEOs in hand-cuffs. Well I am done with it all.  They bought both parties, much of the media, and all of the judicial system.  So I will not vote for either of their candidates.  But know this …if there is a financial collapse that leads to civil unrest, good luck to whoever wins the election when they want to call on this National Guard officer to save their banker friends from the mobs of angry citizens with pitchforks.  Good luck.

    • roman smetak

      what party controls scotus there’s the reason why no bankers get jailed

      • OldVet

        “One party,  the money party:  it has two wings.”
        David Cay Johnston

  • M136

    They’re gangsters – pure and simple. 

    Mafia dons show up at congressional hearings in wheelchairs and respirators hoping to avoid jail time.  Bankers show up and say, “I’m really sorry and you can bet we will get to the bottom of this.”

    At least the mafia guys put a little effort into dodging the law.

  • Sam Bell

    When usuary laws were repealed banks took over the Mafia loan sharking business – witness 35+% interest rates on credit cards.
    When Glass Steagall was repealed the banks were given liscense to gamble with depositors money.
    Since banks were allowed to securitize mortgages they have no
    interest in creditworthiness of borrowers – they get their money and have no risk.
    When credit default swaps were explicitly exempt from regulation, gambling by banks, just like making side bets at a craps table were legitimized. 
    When banks were allowed to be multistate, they lost interest in taking care of the communities they originated in.
    All this is the result of having the best Government money can buy.
    And now the GOP appointees to the Supreme Court have made that purchase open, blatent and legal.
    We need to ammend the constitution to explicitly provide that the document guarentees the rights of HUMAN beings, not artificial entities.
    We need to ressurect ALL the restrictions we put on banks in the New Deal era.

  • Michelle_sullivan

    As we develop institutions that have little to no accountability to their communities or people in those communities, we will continue to see businesses that choose to benefit themselves. Why not?  As in all institutions or communities, when we begin to have no relationship or accountability to others, things go awry. 

  • Pingback: global bankers= legalized crime - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum

  • http://www.facebook.com/christy.withrowjohnson Christy Withrow-Johnson

    “Banks have become bad”?! I laugh at the word become. I am not a Christian, but even I know about the one time Jesus got a bit violent, ironically it was because of bankers. I think this is not a new thing, but a historic problem.

  • JH

    The pigs are at the trough again.  It saddens me that the ethical and moral responsibility I feel to others in my community and others in general is not shared by many of those around me.  This is an unintended consequence of globalization.  When your customer is many miles away, there is little concern whether it be a schoolteacher or a mobster.  In fact, given that the mobster is thousands of times more profitable than the schoolteacher, many would prefer the mobster. 

    I believe in the market, but it is not effective by itself and it is tremendously corruptable.  Look at the return on lobbying -  better return than doing  business with mobsters…or is it doing business with mobsters?  We can no longer look at “the market” in exclusion as the answer to our problems and we MUST hold INDIVIDUALS accountable.  Put an end to these deals and start holding people accountable.  Really…what kind of world is it when a single mother who steals to buy formula to feed her baby goes to jail and these bankers cut a deal and get another multi-million dollar job?

    • JB

       You are wrong — power corrupts and wealth is power.  It is as simple as that.

    • roman smetak

      sounds like a conservative controlled society to me

  • Joseph in Seattle

    until we start putting people behind bars and keeping them there . this BS will continue ..financial settlements dont stop human behavior ..

  • Corsi77

    I am puzzled why everyone is to shocked at all this corruption.  Why should we be?  Really??  We have all been taught that life is simply a SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST!  These corrupted bankers, regulators and law enforcement officials have all bought into the idea of get whatever you get it no matter what. It is their survival and they are the fittest therefore… 
    Only those with Bible based religious convictions who see true right and wrong have any right to object, due to the belief in ultimate accountability to God.  The rest of you should stop whining.  You are only whining because you did not get a piece of their action!!  They are the fittest, not you!  That is if you buy into that garbage…by their actions you shall know them!

  • Old Man

    The root cause is accelerated money creation.  Paper money creation via credit and money printing started when the West went off the gold standard and really took off when China began gaming the world paper money system (via currency manipulation) to create its unnaturally fast “rise” and to keep the “Communist” party in power.  With currency manipulation, China is forced to buy dollars to keep the yuan cheap and to print yuan at home by an equal value.  Plus it channels the accumulated dollars and euro back to the West as cheap credit to keep their economies afloat, so the West can keep buying Chinese goods.

    The result is an unprecedented flood of money into a few lucky hands (plus a largesse to the Western public in the form of low taxes, high public spending and easily financed big public debts, but these benefits are more diluted than those to the wealthy.)  The few rich people can’t nearly consume it all, so all this money is sloshing around the capital markets looking for half-decent places to invest.

    This creates great opportunities for banks not just to handle the money but to gamble.  The wealth of the banks keep politicians in their pockets, so they are allowed to continue to gamble.

    The monetary system lies at the root of modern society.  The real problem is that we become lesser human beings and a lesser civilization under a deluge of easy comfort.  Paper money has probably delivered better living standards than would otherwise over most of the last 100 years, but, in the long run, our moral and institutional strengths are not equal to its temptations that will ultimately cause all kinds of personal and societal degeneration.  It is not worth the price, but the way human societies work, I’m afraid we will only get back to a healthy monetary system when “all the alternatives have been exhausted.”

    • Susan

      I posted this further down the list, but hope it gets more views up here – a couple of references that speak to what Old Man is talking about:  The problem is what government has done to our money – read book by same name at http://mises.org/document/617
      – yet the law that established the federal  government says that no
      state shall make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in the
      Payment of Debts.  See what happened to France when she fell for the
      paper money deception and compare to what is happening to US:  http://www.gutenberg.org/ebook

  • ShitWillHappen

    Like it or not there is only one thing that will bring this crap to an end.  I suggest that anyone with a few months to live, or who is over eighty just start killing all bankers and investment managers on sight.  Some of them may be innocent but it will never make up for the innocent lives that they have destroyed, along with the economy of the last best hope for humanity.  You fu#ckers deserve to die. 

    • jefe68

      Yeah, what a plan. Murder people and if they were innocent, who cares. That there are two likes is even more disturbing than the nutty comment. 

      • http://twitter.com/wwwcash Criostoir

        3 likes now

      • JimmminyC

         Sorry I liked your post by accident when I wanted to reply.  Surely we should care as much about them as they did about the millions of people whose retirement accounts became their hundred million dollar bonuses. We should care as much about them as they do about the laws which they have perverted or their respect for society as they snort and screw their deluded superficial lives away, while they laugh at those they have screwed over.  As they sip champagne from crystal flutes and watch the chaos in the streets with jaded amusement from their balconies.  You know that they will never straighten out left to their own devices — never.  You know this.  YOu know that the corruption and control of the mass media they have will only increase and cause more death and harm throughout the world.  You know they have idiots like Still Here, who are their braindead sycophants and toadys like Linbaugh spreading the insanity of their view 24/7.  You know that the regulators and the police will do nothing but collect the bribes and big private industry jobs of the chosen one percent, yet when someone states the simple truth, just like Carlin did — that they will only make earth into a hell to mirror their inner state — you demure.  People like you postpone the inevitable solution.  It will come, and the longer it takes the more of us that will die. Fool. 50,000 Americans die every year because they don’t want to give up one of their dozen homes or new yacht or just the some of the numbers on a computer. And they are going to claw back the Obama care too, because they are mindless machines that have no control over their greed, and the only control of them will come by violence and blood.  That’s they way they are and nothing will change it. Wait too long and their brainwashing of the public will be even harder to overcome.  We American could learn a big lesson from what just happened to the top military staff in Syria.  I for one would like to see the same thing happen to Paulson and his ilk — all at once.

    • Michele

       Wow, that’s totally inappropriate and scary.  You may want to disengage a little emotionally from the subject – before you go postal….Violence will not solve the issue.  In fact it could garner sympathy for those who have committed truly criminal acts and paint the angry masses as hoodlums who can’t be trusted to act in a civilized manner.

      • GeorgieBoy

         I disagree, I think such a heroic action by some ww2 vet who is waiting to die would be see for the selfless action that it is — not in the corporate controlled media, for sure it would be demonized, but the people would know in their hearts that it was just a smidgen of what the one percent has coming. And with any luck it would inspire a gaggle of copy-cats.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wes.tirey Wes Tirey

    The real problem is that liberal economics and democracy are fundamentally antithetical notions. One is bound to annihilate the other. Obviously liberal economics has pushed democracy out of the picture––it needs to be the other way around.

    Moreover, our discourse is too dichotomous. Which is to say that if one questions capitalism that they must advocate state-run socialism. We simply need to use an economic structure which democratizes the market. We need bottom-up economics––not top-down.

    • Labequeb

      I was losing hope til I read this. You ‘get it.’
      Thank you for posting your comment.
      It is too easy to sum up our history with sweeping accusations. Even if some of that untold history is true. It is not all true. And it is certainly not that simple.
      Where there are human beings, there will be examples of ruthless corruption and selfless integrity.

  • JGC

    One of the core lessons I learned long ago from John Bogle was the importance of scrutinizing fees charged on mutual funds. (MER, front load, back load, etc.) It was an important lesson that Vanguard has tried to drum in to the public year after year; not always heard.  

    The only bone I have to pick with Mr. Bogle is: Why is my Vanguard IRA so much less than Gov. Romney’s $100-million-valued IRA, even though we contributed to our respective accounts in roughly the same years (1980′s and 1990′s), when the top permitted annual contribution for dull-normals  was $2000?  

    I guess there were a few more fees I could have avoided if only Vanguard had a P.O. Box in the Cayman Islands.

  • rfra20

    Welcome to the “self regulating financial industry” !What a laughable (or not) oxymoron that is. The foxes are now running the hen house LOL! The only scary thing is that there are enough morons out there who actually believe this to vote for lawmakers who make it happen.  Come on braindeads of the world, it not that difficult to understand.  Finance = money. Money is the most corruptive force in the human universe.  If anything needs regulation it’s finance. And even then it’s DIFFICULT because finance/money will ALWAYS try to corrupt the regulators and everyone else involved. In fact, finance not only needs regulation it needs CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

    • None

       Unfortunately, constant vigilance is not the forte of modern masses.  When it comes to regulation, the simpler the better IMO.  Break up the investment banks so they are not too big to fail.  Separate investment and retail banking (Glass-Stiegel).  If another 2008 still happens somehow, we should nationalize the failed banks so their execs have something to lose for losing their gambles.  Nationalization was what we insisted Asian countries do in their own financial crisis.  Strange how we forgot!

    • JennyJ

       And we need the politicians to get out of the way of the natural consequences that the banksters deserve.

  • http://thewarmastersrevenge.blogspot.com GreatGunz

    string em up

  • ComptonValuer

    Here is the time line of the modern corruption of our republic.

    Before WW ONE:

    The German’s decide to build a railroad into the oil fields of the
    middle east, and are granted massive mineral rights along the right of
    way.

    The British Empire goes to war against Germany, as it has against any
    country in the past that dared to compete against it’s millitarized
    corporations. This is couched in some nonsense about an arch duke and
    other disinformation, but they had already made the first moves in
    northern Africa against German competition. 

    Germany and her allies fight the British and French and Russians to a standstill in Europe.

    The Russian Revolution takes place and Russia pulls out of the war.

    Over a hundred and twenty German divisions are freed up to be sent to the western front.

    JP Morgan and friend realize they are about to loose the fortune they have invested in the British and French war effort.

    The newly invented means of influencing the public subconsiously are
    utilized by the bankers and gov via Freuds nephew Edward Bernaise to
    manipulate the antiwar public into a war that they want no part of.

    The Lusitania is loaded with millions of round of ammunition by JP
    Morgan, and it is allowed to sit and wait inside the waters the

    Germans declaired as a free fire zone, by Churchill, for an escort that
    never arrives, so that it will be sunk and Churchill can gain the aid of
    America to keep Britian from the karma due to it from it’s rape of the
    earth unarmed peoples.

    Realizing what a great job they did, the gov and one percent turn the
    power of subconsious propaganda first on the European population to make
    Wilson a hero, then on the American public to eventually create the
    Bankster paradise we now suffer.

    The British and French are unable to repay the war debts to American
    banks.  The debt is loaded onto the backs of the German people.  Whole
    industries are dismantled and moved into France.  The war reparations
    ruin Germany financially and because of this Hitler is able to rise to
    power.  Twenty years later the war continues, as Keynes said it would at
    the peace conference.

    This is how the destiny of America was diverted by the one percent and
    their toadys.  Only the begining, but the begining determines the
    course.  Keep the public distracted: striving after happiness through
    possessions, and dumb, gain total control of the mass media and create a
    zeitgeist from which few are able to catch a glimpse of reality.

    Call up down and associate it with primal urges and you have the right
    wing idiots who will stand and fight against their own best interests
    because nothing is going to get between them and their vision of
    nirvanna, which is blindness to the dissonance between their stated
    beliefs and their feelings, a new car, mac-mansion, and if they ever
    make it, the privilege of indulging righteously in all the things that
    they publicly condemn.

  • HadronTimes

     Basically the comment that was removed that had nine likes was stating that it is only violence that will change the state of things in America at this point.
    I believe they started out by saying “like it or not”.
    And I agree.
    They further suggested that people who only have a few months or are at advanced ages should do us all a favor and blow some of these masters of the universe’s brains out. And I agree.
    The only way this thing will come to an end is if these people are killed, and their types are scared straight.
    It is that simple.
    I also think it would be the best thing for America and the economy if suddenly the entire one percent and their enablers and cronies went missing.
    Certainly it would entail less suffering for less people than what is going on now — worldwide — because of them.
    And as for the person who removed that post.
    Fu#k you — you sniveling sycophant.

    • GeorgieBoy

       The reason you long for justice is because they made the laws.  They do not long for justice, they buy it.

  • http://twitter.com/robmccausland Rob McCausland

    Has anyone suggested bringing charges under the RICO Act? For the LIBOR cases, at least, it would seem a great mechanism for asset recovery.  No?  Why not?

    • roman smetak

      when criminals run govt. there is justice for a price,beyond what common citizens can afford

  • http://twitter.com/robmccausland Rob McCausland

    Has anyone suggested bringing charges under the RICO Act? For the LIBOR cases, at least, it would seem a great mechanism for asset recovery.  No?  Why not?

  • http://twitter.com/robmccausland Rob McCausland

    Ah – I see RICO was mentioned in this July 3 NY Times story. “In February, Charles Schwab & Company filed an antitrust and RICO lawsuit
    against the banks contributing to Libor, claiming that they set the
    benchmark interest rate at an artificially low level. More lawsuits like
    this can be expected in the next few months as lawyers start circling
    the banks involved with setting Libor, cases that will receive a
    significant boost from the Justice Department if more settlements are
    announced.” http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/07/03/whats-next-after-the-barclays-settlement/

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  • Bin

    What is the difference between an executive and a psychopathic criminal? The latter has not made enough campaign donations to the GOP corporate shills. When we the people are going to wake up and clean the house?

  • James

    They say you can’t put a corporation in jail, but why can’t they just be closed by the Dept. of Justice there assets seized for fraud, I’m sure that this would get the message across to stock holders so that they would force accountability on CEOs to restore ethical practices.   

  • 1standlastword

    All this means is our nation is in rapid decline!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Our congressonal lawmakers tolerate this $hit because they are on the take.

    We complain and say this and that but the truth is the people who have the power to exact justice accept apologies and money instead of doing the job of bringing justice.

    Our current congress and republican candidate want to deregulate the financial sector and give the most wealthy permanent tax breaks

    Welcome to Sodom friends!

  • Mbo

    [First: I have not read anyone else's comments, so this is not in reply to any threads that may be going on now.]

    I’m just so sick of this sh#t.

    When the system itself is corrupt, each and every member of the financial services industry contributes to the problem simply by joining the profession. At this point, the behavior of anyone (not only bankers) involved in ANY level of corrupt financial practices, large and small, needs to be viewed in the same way that ANY drug offense was (is still?) viewed in the eyes of the law, with similar consequences: arrest them, charge them, convict them, SEIZE EVERYTHING THEY OWN ON THE GROUNDS THAT IT WAS DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY OBTAINED THROUGH ILLEGAL ACTIVITY, send them to maximum security prisons, put their families on the street, have their criminal record follow them everywhere, and make sure their lives are ruined.

    Mine was (and I will never recover financially, professionally or personally from my 2008 job loss). Let ‘em have a taste of that and I think people will start to think twice about the “everyone is doing it” mentality.

  • goodnight and good luck

    the best rational way i’ve found to fix this monetary social issue is by using the scientific method. identify the root cause and work to correct it. all other “fixes” are (and will only be) band-aids. and when you honestly boil it all down, you find that the root cause of 99% of our social issues is money itself.

    there is a world wide consciousness (which is growing daily) that money can be made obsolete. we should strongly consider eliminating the middleman from the equation between our resources and our society. when you take money out of the decision making process it frees up all sorts of rational thinking.

    of course there will be a lot of cognitive dissonance regarding this because so many people are hard wired into believing that money should be acquired in as large of an amount as possible in order to survive, but realistically, this is no longer the case.

    to check out the resource based economy ideas further and for faq’s, go to: thevenusproject . com and thezeitgeistmovement . com.

    check it out. ask questions. and by keeping an optimistic, questioning, open, rational scientific mind, we actually can eliminate war, greed, poverty, famine, pollution and a lot of other abhorrent social elements. we just have to be aware enough to be able to fight our preconceived notions and cognitive dissonance…

    “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” -albert einstein

    “you never change things by fighting the existing reality.
    to change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”-richard buckminster fuller

    peace, and happy learning…

  • EricWelch

    I remain astonished that no one brings up accounting.  Where are the audits? How can billions just disappear and no one wonders what the accountants were looking at?  What good is an audit when companies, banks, whatever can manipulate balance sheets, move funds around, hide money, all without any accounting oversight?  

    As far as bankers, this is further proof that we live in a civilized country.  In any other society we’d have a bloodbath to rival the French Revolution.

    • Mike Card

      Good catch.  Wasn’t Sarbannes-Oxley supposed to prevent this crap?  And aren’t the bankers the chief bellyachers about how cumbersome and expensive SOX compliance is?

  • Mike Card

    I have no idea why you use disqus.  If the reason is to drive listeners from your program, you have succeeded.  Good fucking bye.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002296415298 Ahmad Hassan

    The deregulated financial sector has degraded INVESTOR CONFIDENCE so badly, the coming recession or depression (in 2013) is likely to be deeper and of longer duration than the last one.

    ( See The meaning of LIBOR misreporting and other financial scandals

    theoriginalamed.blogspot.com/2012/08/war-at-home.html )

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  • http://buysteroidsuk.co/ Buy Steroids

    all banks care about is profit and no matter what crimes they commit they are never jailed just fined.

ONPOINT
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Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

Apr 23, 2014
Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

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Apr 22, 2014
This undated handout photo, taken in 2001, provided by the Museum of the Rockies shows a bronze cast of the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known as the Wankel T.rex, in front of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. (AP)

As a new Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives at the Smithsonian, we’ll look at its home – pre-historic Montana – and the age when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

 
Apr 22, 2014
Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

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