In Defense of a Rigged System

You really have to read this to believe it, but here is John Carney, Senior Editor at CNBC, arguing that the 11 year sentence that Raj Rajaratnam received for insider trading was too long because there were no victims.

Look in the mirror, Carney, you idiot. You’re a victim. We’re all victims when the system is rigged. The very essence of the free market is a victim when insider trading is taking place.

Christ on a crutch, is everyone that has anything to do with Wall Street a sociopath? No wonder the banksters think they are above the law- even the people who are supposed to be reporting on them are just screwed in the head.






98 replies
  1. 1
    Cassidy says:

    is everyone that has anything to do with Wall Street a sociopath?

    Yes

  2. 2
    sherifffruitfly says:

    INVISIBLE HAND!!!

  3. 3
    Swellsman says:

    Oh, come on. . . . these people aren’t “reporting” on Wall Street, they’re Wall Street’s cheerleaders.

    Charley Pierce made a good point the other day. He remembered that when radio announcers called baseball games they always started with a brief statement to the effect that ‘this is a professional box’ or something similar. The idea was to remind everybody that the announcers were going to be reporting the game, but that they weren’t to let any fan loyalties get in the way of or shade their reporting.

    Absolutely nothing similar ever, ever happens on CNBC. Radio announcers covering sporting events have more journalistic integrity than those yahoos.

  4. 4
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    And yet he probably thinks that recreational pot smokers deserve to have the book thrown at them for 15 years min.

    Our economic overlords, people.

  5. 5
    Jamie says:

    Hey, everyone was doing it. Besides the money was just sitting there.

  6. 6
    Steve says:

    My firm represents Wall Street clients, and my boss felt the sentence actually wasn’t long enough, “because of what he did.” So I don’t know if there’s a consensus around the idea that insider trading is a-ok.

    There’s no free money in the market, so if someone made a million bucks off insider trading, someone else lost a million bucks, or got deprived of a million bucks in legitimate profit at any rate. Once upon a time I researched filing a class action involving a bunch of insider trading activity. The case was potentially worth many millions, but it turns out that it’s just too hard to identify exactly who the victims are and how much they lost. No one had any doubt that the victims are real, however.

  7. 7
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    The cancer still grows. That is the American Dream.

    Oh wait, wrong thread.

    Oh wait, there is no wrong thread anymore.

    It doesn’t really matter what thread you post anything to anymore when half the country, not to mention the world, has gone utterly and completely sociopathic and/or just insane.

    It’s like cut ups for the political realm. Write “look how insane this is, have these people learned nothing from the past 100 years?”, followed by anything any Republican (or Tory, or etc) says, and you’ll be right on the money.

  8. 8
    El Cid says:

    High up media figures are in the Wall Street elite. They’re not just reporting or commenting on it. They’re about as separate as a corporate spokesperson is from the board.

  9. 9
    Jamie says:

    Yeah, fining a billionaire 50 million will make him sorry he cheated. He’ll be crying all the way to the club.

  10. 10
    Jamie says:

    long live the plutocrats!

  11. 11
    jibeaux says:

    If insider trading were a victimless crime, then it wouldn’t fucking be illegal, would it? Wall Street has a bit more clout than the hookers and pothead lobbies.

  12. 12
    c u n d gulag says:

    Rob a bank, and you do hard time.

    Bank robs everyone?
    Let the good times roll!

    Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

    Oh, and Raj, you should count yourself lucky that you’ll spend those 11 years in prison.

    If I were the Judge, I’ve have sentenced you to 11 years of living in a lower to lower-middle class neighborhood.

    And no guns, no security, there Raj.

    Deal with the people you fucked mano a criminal.

  13. 13
    EconWatcher says:

    The victims were on the other side of his trades. He knew things they didn’t know because of an abuse of trust–essentially, he stole the inside information he received, using it for his own gain.

    And if there’s ever a general feeling that behavior like that is pervasive, companies will find it hard to raise capital in private markets, fewer jobs will be created, and many will suffer.

    But there’s something else, too: People in such high positions make decisions every day, behind closed doors, that affect all of our lives. But very rarely are they caught and held to account when they cross the line.

    Deterrence depends on how likely you are to get caught, and how bad the punishment will be if you are. Since we’re never going to be able to catch that many, the punishment when we do better be pretty tough, and well publicized.

    How someone in the financial world could not understand concepts like this is beyond me.

  14. 14
    Brian S says:

    I remember seeing Dan Ariely talking about an experiment he conducted testing honesty, and one of the findings had to do with the way humans view symbols of money as opposed to money itself. It turned out that the more removed we are from the tangible piece object we get, the more likely we are to think its okay to steal it. if we’re only stealing a representation of a thing rather than the thing itself, we’re more likely to be dishonest. There are other triggers as well, but that was the one that stood out to me,

    And Ariely made the connection to the financial crisis himself. He suggested that maybe the reason so many people will willing to do dishonest things in the markets had something to do with th fact that they were so far removed from seeing these things as money that they felt less guilt about stealing it.

  15. 15
    The Moar You Know says:

    You call him a criminal. His fellow 1 per centers call him a patriotic citizen.

    Hope he has a good time “eating what he kills” in prison.

  16. 16
    dmbeaster says:

    Same crap was circulated when Martha Stewart had her problem. These morons don’t grasp that the victims are those trading without the benefit of the insider info.

  17. 17
    prufrock says:

    We’re all victims when the system is rigged.

    Terry Pratchett makes that point in Going Postal. The protagonist is a con man who is put to work reforming the post office. When he complains to his “keeper” (a golem, don’t ask) that his crimes didn’t kill anyone, the golem calculates that the added misery and worry his actions caused lowered the life spans of the affected victims enough that it equaled multiple deaths (the golem gives a decimal precise number that I don’t remember and is very funny in context).

    That’s why we need to lock these people up much longer than the average mugger.

  18. 18
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    Hey John Carney, Search and replace “his victims” with “people I know personally.” FTFY, ya hack.

  19. 19
    salacious crumb says:

    John, while I agree with your premise, and while Rajratnam got what he deserved, don’t you think the Feds are only aggressive with the “direct” criminals, such as Rajratnam and Madoff, in trying to set an example? what about people who really control and game the system, like Dimon, Thain and Blankfein?

  20. 20
    Brian S says:

    And if there’s ever a general feeling that behavior like that is pervasive, companies will find it hard to raise capital in private markets, fewer jobs will be created, and many will suffer.

    I wish I could believe this will happen. The problem is that much of the money in the market isn’t from sophisticated investors. It’s from what used to be pension plans but are now in 401(k) or similar vehicles and people like me don’t have the time or the knowledge to figure out where else to invest for our retirement. That money is going to go somewhere, and right now, the stock market is pretty much the only game in town for a lot of us. And the scary thing is that we’re not really putting it in there. We’re getting professionals to manage it for us, and their salaries depend on buying into the system. I don’t know how crooked the system has to get before people will start hunting for an alternative, but for now it seems like there just isn’t one.

  21. 21
    soonergrunt says:

    @Cassidy: You beat me to it. I’d only add: SATSQ

  22. 22
    Plethded says:

    I have a family member who works in the industry as an investment manager. He thought the prosecution was ridiculous, since the reason you invest with these guys is because you figure they have information that isn’t available to anyone else. Sort of, “Why would you pay someone if they know only what everyone else knows?” That entire system is based around corruption and inside deals.

  23. 23
    HoneyBearKelly says:

    As much as we hate the end result all those Wall St firms acted within the law that’s why they’re not doing time.
    It’s a rigged game and they hold all the chips.

  24. 24
    Margarita says:

    How long would stay at the poker table with a guy who knew what cards you were holding?

    How long would you bet your retirement — your literal life savings — in a rigged “market”?

    More piano wire please.

  25. 25
    dmbeaster says:

    Reading the Carney article, he seems fixated on the idea that since Raj didn’t directly deal with a buyer or seller, no one was directly influenced to buy or sell based on his wrongdoing, and would have bought or sold anyway at the same price. This ignores the actual issue. The underlying concept is that the insiders are required to disclose their insider knowledge to the market in general or else refrain from trading. The market functions betterwith this duty of disclosure. This basic philosophy runs contrary to the basic ethos of Carney types who believe in their privileged right to screw their fellow market participants if they have an edge. Whatduyamean I have to disclose or not trade?

  26. 26
    300baud says:

    I’ve never worked on Wall Street, but I have worked for other financial trading firms. Not everybody there is a sociopath, but a) quite a lot of the people are, and b) a reckless disregard for anybody else is definitely the dominant culture.

    That may be a necessary feature of the system. Trading is a zero-sum game, and the advantage goes to the quick. Thinking about whether trade X is good for your counterparty takes time, time for somebody more ruthless to snap up the deal. Nice people make less and get pushed out.

    Since I don’t think it’s a fixable problem, I’d rather focus on designing a system that works with that. Wall Street shouldn’t be treated like a temple. It should be designed like you’d design a zoo’s big cat exhibit or a nuclear reactor.

  27. 27
    Samara Morgan says:

    Dude its simple freed market fuckery. you cant fight it.
    witness, i tried to fight it here in the person of free market fucktard EDK and you called me a stalker freak and serialbanned me.
    what is going to replace it, anyways?
    a command economy? its cradle to grave brainwashing in America and a pillar of murrikkkan exceptionalism.

    i’ll say it again, the “freed” market is teleologically incapable of delivering improvement to the human condition. It only delivers improvement to the human condition of the overclass.

  28. 28
    wilfred says:

    Just like nobobdy wants to be the last person killed in a war, nobody wants to be the only person who goes to jail. And this conveniently brown-skinned altar-warmer will almost certainly be the one and only who does.

    Accountability? Move on, I say, look forward.

  29. 29
    R. Porrofatto says:

    Kudlow idols like this guy even think insider trading should be legal, which would “lead to a more efficient market that would ultimately benefit investors.” I shit you not. And you can find plenty of CNBC types, including the Kudload, agreeing with this.

  30. 30
    Elizabelle says:

    Another Reuters entry for the odd reporting category:

    Analysis by Chrystia Freeland, Reuters global editor at large (and could you make up a name like hers? — sounds like a Tea Party wet dream)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10.....wanted=all

    OWS is portrayed as “leftist” (only, no moderates allowed) throughout; she sure gives Ronald Reagan a lot of credit where it’s not necessarily due, and there is no mention of outsourcing and the race to the bottom.

    The concept “crony capitalism” is mentioned, but it’s done so by Palin, and she’s railing (in South Korea, yet) against the Obama administration bailing out the banks and, presumably, Solyndra. (Halliburton, anybody? Blackwater? Enron?)

    However, Freeland is massively correct that OWS is standing up to Reagan’s impact and the simplistic ideology that got us into this mess (and still refuses to see or understand what OWS protests are about).

    I want me that kid’s tee shirt with the image of Ronald Reagan and the words “Bad Religion.”

  31. 31
    jrg says:

    So, they dismantle the social safety net, and replace it with 401(k)s, where you more-or-less need to invest in stocks in order to keep up with GDP growth, then they use their inside information to place us on the wrong side of the trades.

    When do we line these fucking people up and start shooting them?

  32. 32
    Samara Morgan says:

    @wilfred: keep on walkin’– nooners on the GWB adminstration.

  33. 33
    RalfW says:

    @Brian S:

    The problem is that much of the money in the market isn’t from sophisticated investors. It’s from what used to be pension plans but are now in 401(k)…and people like me don’t have the time or the knowledge to figure out where else to invest …I don’t know how crooked the system has to get before people will start hunting for an alternative, but for now it seems like there just isn’t one.

    Yes.

    And. A small step one can take is to invest in socially responsible investment (SRI) funds. They are far from perfect. The screens for what passes as ‘responsible’ are in some cases flimsy. But moving money into these funds would send a message, and fund managers are now startging to vote the shares of their funds with an eye to what the end-investors (you and me) want. At the big, morally blind funds, they assume we want returns and f*ck the consequences.

    Another step, which will cost you some return (as can SRI funds — they outperformed or performed at market for many years and have taken a bigger hit in the recession), is to invest part of your retirement in a CD ladder at your local Credit Union or community bank. These institutions have as part of their charter an obligation to invest locally and often make loans to small businesses or homebuyers who the big banks either ignore or rip off.

    If you want to stay with the big funds, there’s still shareholder activism happening that can help.

  34. 34
    Samara Morgan says:

    @300baud:

    I’d rather focus on designing a system that works with that.

    regulate the fuckers.
    shackle them with rules, bind them with regulations.
    and tax the shit out of outrageous profits.

  35. 35
    redshirt says:

    “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’ hard enough”.

    Or, “Just win, baby”.

  36. 36
    sparky says:

    @wilfred: yeah but, hey, they’re nice guys, right? just ask you know who.

    ps: the commenter above who suggested that the only way to deal with this is to construct the equivalent of a nuclear reactor or zoo containment structure has it right, IMO. system doesn’t reward anything but self-interest so it must be controlled or it runs amok over the rest of us.

  37. 37
    Xenos says:

    Yesterday on CNBC someone mentioned the recent proposal for a 10 basis points tax on stock trades. The not-Erin-Burnett lady and her three associates burst out in high-pitched laughter. According to them it is just the silliest idea ever, the Swedes tried it once and everyone agrees it was just a disaster!

    If Obama can get the diplomacy worked out so that all the major markets introduce parallel transaction taxes things could really change for these bastards.

  38. 38
    gene108 says:

    @dmbeaster:

    Martha Stewart didn’t use insider information to trade. The Feds got her on perjury/obstruction charges, because her response to the whole thing was screwed up.

    The only problem I have with the reporting on Raj Rajaratnam’s case is NO ONE can say his last name correctly. It is annoying. There are no soft sounds in the name. It’s all hard sounds. Announcers pronounce the ‘j’, like they are speaking French. Can’t these announcers, who spend so much freakin’ time make sure they get all sorts of non-English/Anglo names pronounced correctly, take half a second to pronounce Rajartnam correctly? I find it very unprofessional.

  39. 39
    Cat Lady says:

    I wonder how Carney would feel if he was told that every sporting event he watched had a pre-determined outcome, because all of the players had agreed on the fix. Financial regulations should act like referees – everyone knows the rules of the game and how to play, but without referees the outcome would be meaningless and no one would watch because it would always just be all about the cheating.

  40. 40
    RL says:

    For those interested in the “Bad Religion,” here ya go:

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

    Sheesh, am I the only aging punk on here?

  41. 41
    RP says:

    He’s arguing in essence that insider trading should be legal. I think there’s a legitimate argument to be made for that position (I don’t agree, but it’s not a completely crazy idea), but he doesn’t have the guts to actually come right out and say that. So instead he wanks about the length of the sentence.

  42. 42
    sherparick says:

    Occasionally, perhaps because of their own disgrace, a someone leaves “the Borg” and starts dealing with reality. Henry Blodgett is one of those. http://www.businessinsider.com.....11-10?op=1

    How will this turn out in another 10 years like the last 10? I would hope for a second Roosevelt, but noting this country’s tribal divisions and the current retreat into a very supstitotius religoisity, I fear a Nehmiah Scudder (see Robert Heinlein’s “Future History.”

  43. 43
    joeyess says:

    These motherless fucksticks ought to be down on their knees, praying to Ayn Rand or whatever smoking, staid, golden calf is their god and give thanks that all of their heads aren’t on pikes outside the NYSE while a Snake Pliskin type circles the block in a Cadillac with aftermarket pepper spray cannons and bean bag guns mounted on the car fore and aft.

  44. 44
    sherparick says:

    Actually, the UK has had a “stamp” tax on stock transfers for 200 years, and that is one kind Financial Transaction tax. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....o_avoid.3F
    The most mentioned transaction tax is the “Tobin” tax and given high frequency trading on the stock and derivative market, even a very low tax with moderate revenue production would serve a useful purpose in discouraging this sociopathic activity, the very essence of turning the economy into a “Casino,” and a casino where the house tilts the gaming table.

  45. 45
    burnspbesq says:

    @Jamie:

    He’ll be crying all the way to the club.

    Wrong-0, Mr. Ignorant. Given his health situation, Raj Rajaratnam’s 11 year sentence is effectively a life sentence. Even if he survives, he will be 65 years old when he gets out.

  46. 46
    dmbeaster says:

    Gene108:
    Martha Stewart committed perjury etc. because she was the subject of an insider trading violation (and she was guilty of that). Ironically, that violation was pursued civilly, and the criminal prosecution resulted from her response to the non-criminal insider trading case.b

  47. 47
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @300baud: I would impose two rules: 1) a five second rule on any trade before it can be retraded, and 2) a tax on each trade.

  48. 48
    RL says:

    Sorta OT, but it’s Friday. Here’s a link to one of my favorite uses of Ronny Raygun’s image during the early-80s punk scene:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ata_player

  49. 49
    burnspbesq says:

    @salacious crumb:

    what about people who really control and game the system, like Dimon, Thain and Blankfein?

    Here’s a link to Title 18 of the United States Code. Peruse it at your leisure, and then come back and tell us which crimes you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they committed. Please also describe in detail the admissible evidence you plan to use to obtain those convictions.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/U.....itle18.htm

  50. 50
    datarat says:

    There is a real easy fix for all the regulations on Wall Street…eliminate speculative trading.

    No…that isn’t snark…

  51. 51
    maya says:

    I feel a sneeze coming on…….. Haaaaaaaaa..Harken.

  52. 52
    burnspbesq says:

    @wilfred:

    And this conveniently brown-skinned altar-warmer will almost certainly be the one and only who does.

    More ignorance. Go to the US Attorney’s website and read the press release. Three other people, including two white people, have already been sentenced after pleading guilty. Four more are awaiting sentencing.

    Then come back and apologize to everyone here for wasting their time by forcing them to read the results of your stupidity.

  53. 53
    burnspbesq says:

    @datarat:

    eliminate speculative trading.

    Define “speculative” in a way that can be administered, por favor.

  54. 54
    Waldo says:

    Eh. Probably has more to do with CNBC losing a share of its audience for 11 years — assuming it’s not available in whatever Club Fed that Raj ends up in.

  55. 55
    Judas Escargot says:

    @jrg:

    So, they dismantle the social safety net, and replace it with 401(k)s, where you more-or-less need to invest in stocks in order to keep up with GDP growth, then they use their inside information to place us on the wrong side of the trades.

    I was too young to pay attention to whatever politics led to 401(k)/403(b)’s replacing pensions. But I’ve recently come to darkly admire the sheer, forward thinking genius of how we were all simultaneously swindled AND convinced that the stock market has fuck-all to do with ordinary workers’ lives.

    (Much like Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, musing about the pile of little hacked-off arms he saw after inoculating some village children. The genius of it…)

  56. 56
    catclub says:

    @burnspbesq: Are you suggesting he will serve the entire 11 years? Assumes facts not in evidence.

    Here is what happened with Michael Milken:”Milken was sentenced to ten years in prison and permanently barred from the securities industry by the Securities and Exchange Commission. After the presiding judge reduced his sentence for cooperating with testimony against his former colleagues and good behavior, he was released after less than two years.”

  57. 57
    David in NY says:

    @jrg: Nicely put.

  58. 58
    datarat says:

    @burnspbesq: It can’t. That is the problem. A speculative-free stock market wouldn’t know about hedge funds, derivatives, commodity futures and the like. It would know about a corporation’s net value and the simple formula of net value / number of stocks = stock value in $$$.

    You buy stock. You get dividends if company does good…you get nadda if company goes south.

    All this other stuff is fake money. It’s the fake money we’re trying to regulate and we’re doing a really shitty job.

  59. 59
    handsmile says:

    It’s not jut the Wall Street fluffers at CNBC. Yesterday on the BBC America morning news program, its anchor George Alagiah repeatedly raised the “no victims” canard in an interview with American economist Jeff Madrick on the subject of the then-prospective sentencing of Rajaratnam.

    Madrick was visibly puzzled by this well-compensated and purportedly objective news reader’s insistence that a lengthy prison sentence was disproportionate to the crimes for which Rajaratnam was convicted.

    In response to Madrick’s every answer, e.g., inherent injustice of unfair advantage, widespread shareholder losses caused by price fluctuations, deterrent effect of long prison terms, Alagiah repeated variations on the themes of “Who are the victims?” or “Everyone does this, he just got caught.”
    Except when he slyly queried whether this wasn’t just part of Obama’s “populist” re-election campaign.

    And of course, the interview ended with “Well, thank you, we’ll just have to leave it there.” Another nail in the immense coffin of broadcast journalism,

  60. 60
    Montysano says:

    After sitting on the panel of ABC’s This Week last Sunday and hearing Jesse LaGreca give a marvelously concise overview of OWS, media sociopath George Will farts out a column this morning, complaining of OWS’s “opaque” agenda. What a useless shitstain of a human being…

  61. 61
    David in NY says:

    @catclub: As a rule, he will serve 11 years, less about 47 days each year assuming good behavior. To avoid this, he would, during the next year, have to get the prosecution to allow him to cooperate with them, have enough information to lead to the prosecution of others, and not screw up by lying to the prosecution about people or in some other way. In theory, this would have to be new evidence, but sometimes things get waived through if they are useful enough. This all is not terribly likely (pace Milken), and cooperation after going to trial and being convicted (and testifying in his own behalf? probably falsely?) rarely works out, unless he’s got something really juicy to tell that the prosecution does not already know.

    I’m not terribly fond of this system (it gives prosecutors enormous power), but you have to think: “What if he knows reliable stuff that would rope in four or five more guys just like him?” Something like that might well be worth cutting his sentence for, I would think. It really depends on the facts.

  62. 62
    Montysano says:

    @datarat:

    There is a real easy fix for all the regulations on Wall Street…eliminate speculative trading.

    As an alternative: institute a fee for all transactions, which would put a damper on things like high frequency trading (which, from where I sit, is nothing but legalized insider trading).

  63. 63
    datarat says:

    @Montysano: Wouldn’t work, because the banksters would come up with some super-jumbo derivitive trade that reduces the transaction fee to nadda.

    Read my reply at #58. We’re trying to regulate fake money, and we’re doing a shitty job. Get rid of the fake money and you could police the markets with one part-time accountant and a really good computer.

  64. 64
    patrick II says:

    because there were no victims.

    Of course there were victims, just not easily ascertainable individual victims. That’s why its ok to steal from the church collection plate.

  65. 65
    David in NY says:

    @RP: Do people know what legal insider trading would be like? The top execs at any company would just prepare rosy PR releases; they and any employees, family member, or friends in the know would buy their own stock; they’d issue the release and get the pop; then they’d sell. Over and over. An outsider buying on the pop would lose money as those “in the know” came in to sell.

    If that were the system, I, and lots of others, would put our money into cash.

  66. 66
    burnspbesq says:

    @catclub:

    Your comment is self-refuting. Milken cooperated. Rajaratnam has fought tooth and nail. That’s a legally significant difference.

    Tell you what: if Rajaratnam gets out early for any reason other than health or good behavior, I will contribute $50 to ActBlue in your name. If he serves his entire sentence, you contribute $50 to the Yosemite Conservancy in my name. Want to take the bet?

  67. 67
    catclub says:

    @datarat: “Wouldn’t work, because the banksters would come up with some super-jumbo derivitive trade that reduces the transaction fee to nadda.”

    Always pays to give up before you even try something. Saves time. This is why radar never worked during WWII, the other guys will just come up with some radar absorbing covering, so why bother. Likewise for monitoring radio transmissions, or trying to break codes. Not to mention tax laws.

  68. 68
    Montysano says:

    @datarat:

    We’re trying to regulate fake money, and we’re doing a shitty job. Get rid of the fake money and you could police the markets with one part-time accountant and a really good computer.

    We’re on the same page.

    It’s gobsmacking to read that the global value of derivatives is now well north of $1Q. That’s one quadrillion dollars, folks, of notional value. When the EU finally starts to come unglued, I suspect we’ll learn why W. Buffet calls CDS “financial weapons of mass destruction”.

  69. 69
    datarat says:

    @catclub: Because hedge funds, derivatives, futures are all fake. Why, oh why, do I want to further regulate something I’ve already determined to be false?

  70. 70
    RP says:

    @David in NY: You could still have laws prohibiting “pump and dump,” but obviously those would be hard to enforce. In any event, as I said above, I don’t think insider trading should be legal; my point was simply that the writer doesn’t have the guts to follow his argument to its logical conclusion.

  71. 71
    J (reader) says:

    Actually, a lot of conservative economists & lawyers believe that we shouldn’t criminalize insider trading and it was a mistake for the SEC to begin trying to regulate it. Honestly, it’s crazy. But that was the central thesis of numerous articles I saw submitted from big-name professors when I was in law school and working on Law Review.

  72. 72
    datarat says:

    @Montysano:

    I suspect we’ll learn why W. Buffet calls CDS “financial weapons of mass destruction”

    Exactly right. When by righty friends start yelping about the economy and how Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae screwed us all (read as “them damn darkie homebuyers”), I tell them “If you can’t explain how a CDO works, you don’t belong in the conversation”. It doesn’t change a belief system built on Rushbo bullshit, but it slows them down enough to get a word in edge-wise.

  73. 73
    David in NY says:

    @burnspbesq: You know, you’re not so self-evidently right about all this that you need too indulge your penchant for sophomoric snottiness. You’re not even entirely right, if he happens to have information that the government does not know about, but would find extremely valuable, even though he went to trial. That could lead to post-trial cooperation and a sentence reduction. I’ve represented people where similar things happened (even though they were probably not entirely within the rules; the prosecution wasn’t objecting). I’m not saying you’re wrong in posing that bet — such events are well below a 50-50 chance, and you’re quite probably right. But you could just explain that without being a know-it-all.

  74. 74
    David in NY says:

    @RP:

    You could still have laws prohibiting “pump and dump,” but obviously those would be hard to enforce.

    Well, if, by “pump and dump,” you mean putting out false information that would still be illegal. But the problem I posed arises most often when the information is true. In insider trading, the insider trader gets to buy low (based on privileged information) even before any of the public has any chance at all to know the situation and unfairly deprives the seller of the stock of information that would have nullified the trade, had it been public. I gather there’s some airy-fairy economic view that this makes the market more “efficient,” but I think that the efficiency is in taking money out of my pocket and putting it in theirs, unfairly.

  75. 75
    catclub says:

    @burnspbesq: Sure, I can take that bet. I will mention though, that your original post was that the 11 years was effectively a life sentence and that he would not be released until he is 65. A health release refutes the ‘life sentence’ and good behavior refutes the 65 when released. But I will still take the bet. If he dies in prison, I win. My own little tontine.

    email is cat(nineeight)club at gmail but no parens, and numbers rather than words. Cheers

  76. 76
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    John Carney…another fucktard who has obviously not read The Wealth of Nations.

  77. 77
    WeeBey says:

    @Swellsman: A small but important point:

    Radio announcers are generally employees of the team, and are thus not impartial, are homers, etc., etc.

    The announcement — and posted signs — that this is a working press box and no cheering is allowed is made in the big press box where the print guys sit.

  78. 78
    patrick II says:

    @David in NY: You might consider that hedge funds perform the same sort of service — but legally. Many of the best new opportunities for public investment never make it to the stock market because information passed around only to insiders lets hedge funds get to it first. The increasing concentration of wealth allows larger pools of money to privtely invest in upcomig companies and takes away the opportunity for the investor who is not one of the top 1%. The inside scoop is not illegal because the company never goes public.
    People could always invest on “insider information” when a friend with an idea was opening a new business. It is the scale that has changed because of concentration of wealth, and that is denying investment opportunity for most of us.

  79. 79
    PWL says:

    This is the kind of moronic MSM mentality the Wall Street boys love: if you rob one person at gunpoint, you should be locked up and the key thrown away. But if you destroy thousands of lives, a la Enron–or Goldman Sachs–11 years is “too harsh,” because there was “no victim.”

  80. 80
    catclub says:

    @datarat: “Because hedge funds, derivatives, futures are all fake.”

    Like complex numbers are fake? Like quantum mechanics and wavefunctions are fake? is that another way of saying you don’t understand them?

    Complex number may not exist (they are fake) but they can be used to make real predictions in the real world. Futures are fake but the farmer who never finished high school still uses them to even out his income from irregular crop production. Hedge funds may be fake, but the guys who lobbied for the carried interest rule made billions of dollars ( also fake, just accounting entries, actually) out of those so-called fake hedge funds.

  81. 81
    Jay C says:

    Christ on a crutch, is everyone that has anything to do with Wall Street a sociopath?

    No, of course not “everyone”. It’s just that careers on “Wall Street”, in general, tend to reward most greatly that type of personality.

  82. 82
    catclub says:

    @PWL: This works both ways.
    And both ways are bad.

    The bailouts of the banksters, people were mad about, but on the proposed bailouts of mortgage holders who were underwater,
    i.e. real people like your deadbeat neighbor, that produced apoplexy. It was when someone whom they knew had a chance of getting unfair help that they did not deserve, that Santelli exploded on tv and inspired the teaparty, not the bailout of the banksters. Injustice is best understood when it is nearby, and most vociferously opposed then.

    Check out the parable of the workers in the vineyard. We still do not understand the usefulness of mercy. Heck, an eye for an eye is unfair, cause his eye was ugly and mine was, well, mine.

  83. 83
    Ed Drone says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    You know, if the 9% sales tax in Can’s 9-9-9 plan applied to stock trades, I might be in more favor of the plan. Of course, if it did, you know the Republican Party would disown Cain faster than Nat Turner’s owner would have sold him!

    Ed

  84. 84
    datarat says:

    @catclub:

    Like complex numbers are fake? Like quantum mechanics and wavefunctions are fake? is that another way of saying you don’t understand them?

    Quantum mechanics…nope…sure don’t. Derivatives…know ’em better than you do. Point here is that you’ve produced an apples-to-oranges argument. Quantum physics != derivatives. Nice try…thanks for playing.

  85. 85
    catclub says:

    @Ed Drone: Although it might not apply to trades since those are definitely _used_ goods.
    It should apply to IPOs. But isn’t there some investment exclusion (surprise, surprise!)?

  86. 86
    Ed Drone says:

    @catclub:
    So 65 is a life sentence? Wish I’d known that and just fucking died five years ago. Would have saved a lot of time, effort, and money.

    Ed

  87. 87
    TenguPhule says:

    Kill them all and let Dog sort them out.

  88. 88
    BDeevDad says:

    Did Carney just agree with John or said it was obvious that I agreed with John.

  89. 89
    me says:

    @BDeevDad: Looks like he thinks it’s obvious that he is an idiot.

  90. 90
    catclub says:

    @Ed Drone: No, he said that given, Rajaratnam’s health, an eleven year term was equivalent to a life sentence. I took it to mean he would die before getting out of prison, not that 65 is the end of life.

  91. 91
    konst says:

    Cole sometimes I agree with you and sometimes not. I don’t agree with you this time. If you think this case of so-called “insider trading” is what a rigged system is then you are absolutely clueless in the matter.

  92. 92
    Nutella says:

    There goes that darn liberal media again!

  93. 93
    kerFuFFler says:

    @David in NY:

    Do people know what legal insider trading would be like?

    Aside from the pump and dump scenario you describe, there is the currently in existence spectacle of politicians being allowed to invest based on inside information legally. The only reason I can think of that more people are not upset about this is that so few are even aware of it.

    http://www.ehow.com/info_80779.....ading.html

  94. 94
    Ash Can says:

    @Plethded:

    He thought the prosecution was ridiculous, since the reason you invest with these guys is because you figure they have information that isn’t available to anyone else.

    If this is what he thinks of the insider trading laws, he should not be in the business. At all. And I hope to heaven you don’t have anything invested with him yourself. If you do, get it away from him and into the hands of someone who takes the business — legal environment and all — seriously.

  95. 95
    Chris says:

    sarc

    Oh but I’m sure he’s just as passionate about shutting down the drug war and stopping the mandatory minimums for victimless drug crimes.

    /sarc

    They are all sociopaths who don’t care about anything unless it personally affects them

  96. 96
    bourbaki says:

    I’m surprised no one mentioned this (though admittedly I only found out about from a post on emptywheel.

    Anyway, the article makes the claim that Rajaratnam was a major financial supporter of the Tamil tigers and that is why the DOJ and FBI went through the trouble to nail him.

    Key paragraph

    Jay Kanetkar, who was Rudra’s main F.B.I. handler from 1999 until he left the bureau in June 2006, says that Rajaratnam’s alleged involvement with terrorism was a significant factor in why the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice went to such extraordinary lengths to nail him. “It was a conscious decision,” Kanetkar says, “to treat Raj the terrorist the way they treated Al Capone when they got him for tax evasion.”

  97. 97
    Dilbatt says:

    I thought the sentence was too short. This is typical of white collar crimes.

  98. 98

    […] the end of last week, John Cole over at Balloon Juice pointed out the clueless sociopathy of Jay Carney’s view of insider trading as a victimless crime.  (Here, the string “Jay […]

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