Another Victory for the Banksters

Well, today’s announcement that DoJ won’t bring charges against Goldman is depressing, though I think not unexpected:

“The department and investigative agencies ultimately concluded that the burden of proof to bring a criminal case could not be met based on the law and facts as they exist at this time,” the department said.

I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not going to comment on the issue of criminal liability, though what always concerns me in these sorts of situations is how quickly “there is no provable criminal liability” gets spun as “they did nothing wrong.”

But there is a bigger issue here, I think.  What Goldman was doing was dicey, at best. They were creating and selling securities to people that they themselves considered “junk” and “crap.” What I find interesting is that most of the outrage about this comes from individuals (and some politicians), but not from the institutional investors who got screwed directly (the rest of us got screwed indirectly if our mutual fund managers were foolish enough to invest in those products — not to mention the broader, more severe, but even more indirect, costs of the financial crisis generally).

The reason I raise this point is that I can’t help but think there is some sort of exploitable cleavage here. The right is really, really adept at exploiting every seam. But for whatever reason, the “business” community largely sticks together, largely supports conservatives, even though in many, many cases the people more directly screwed over by things like financial sector borderline-criminal conduct are precisely businesses and other large financial institutions.

Thinking back a century ago, it wasn’t ordinary citizens alone who finally managed to push for regulation (particularly of monopolistic practices), it was also business interests that faced what they considered unfair practices.

The majority of the members of the Chamber of Commerce are getting screwed left and right by lack of transparency, price fixing, and a variety of dicey if not unlawful other practices. And yet, they, as a matter of tribal loyalty always seem to end up siding with their “Wall Street brothers.”

I don’t really know what to do about it, but American business votes against their own interests at least as much as the good people of Kansas about whom so much has been written.

 

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89 replies
  1. 1
    mclaren says:

    As the saying goes, “Even a bad prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich if he wants to.”

    Obama simply does not want to put any of the Wall Street financial crime lords in jail.

  2. 2
    burnspbesq says:

    “Despicable” and “illegal” have never been synonyms.

  3. 3
    Hill Dweller says:

    @mclaren: Wall Street has largely abandoned Obama. They’re pumping an insane amount of money into electing Romney and congressional Republicans.

    What possible motive could Obama have for avoiding the prosecution of Wall Street?

  4. 4

    @Hill Dweller: Who needs to provide a motive when they’re pushing a meme?

  5. 5
    danielx says:

    What’s wrong with the American Chamber of Commerce?

    As with Kansas, so with the Chamber. It’s full of assholes.

  6. 6
    different-church-lady says:

    I was going to come in here and say “Fourteen comments before this dissolves into predictable ‘Obama Sucks/Obama Rocks'”

    I was off by thirteen.

  7. 7
    different-church-lady says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    What possible motive could Obama have for avoiding the prosecution of Wall Street?

    His love for punching hippies. I’m sure that will be the answer.

  8. 8
    maven says:

    Anderson has Candy and the Zionist on commenting about the morals of the campaign.

    (puke)

  9. 9
    different-church-lady says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    Who needs to provide a motive when they’re pushing regurgitating a meme?

    Don’t say I never fixed nothin’ for ya.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    And yet, they, as a matter of tribal loyalty always seem to end up siding with their “Wall Street brothers.”

    Their Wall Street brothers still control access to capital that they would like.

  11. 11
    danielx says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    He’s still getting some money from them, and until the election is over – presuming that he wins – he won’t touch Wall Street in any meaningful way. I hope that after the election, he informs Eric Holder that either his scalp or some Wall Street scalps are going to adorn Oval Office walls and Holder can decide which it’s going to be. If the former, maybe Obama can reach down and snag Patrick Fitzgerald to fill the slot; now there’s a man who knows how to make finely-accoutered malefactors wake up in the night with cold sweats. Besides, it would piss off Republicans no end. I mean, I want to see some Armani suited motherfuckers hanged, and not necessarily by the neck.

    If nothing happens in the second term either, I will conclude that Matt Taibbi is completely correct – everything is fucked up, and nobody goes to jail.

  12. 12
    Todd says:

    My plan involves giving free automatic weapons to the mentally ill along with maps to the homes of the directors of Goldman, Exxon, BP, Koch Industries, etc.

  13. 13
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @different-church-lady: In fairness, it is Obama’s justice department.

  14. 14
    gwangung says:

    Good luck trying to nail Wail Street when Wall Street re-wrote the laws to their benefit. No way can they make a clean case…and it’s gonna take a slam dunk case.

    Best bet is to get progressive candidates into office…both House AND Senate…to rewrite the laws. If your attention span is that long…

  15. 15
    Some Loser says:

    @Todd:

    Don’t you think that is exploitative towards the mentally ill and a little offensive.

  16. 16

    @Todd: “My plan involves giving free automatic weapons to the mentally ill”

    The NRA is way ahead of you on this one…

  17. 17
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    On the bright side, Taibbi is gonna be a fun read.

  18. 18
    Some Loser says:

    @gwangung:

    You presented us with an interesting dynamic, Gwangung. We can either do something about the laws in place, or we can fling shit on people trying to do something about the laws in place. Well, I know a trick when I see one. Most of the liberals on this blog does both.

  19. 19
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    What possible motive could Obama have for avoiding the prosecution of Wall Street?

    The fact that you can’t, as others have mentioned above, prosecute people for things that aren’t actually illegal.

    Best bet is to get progressive candidates into office…both House AND Senate…to rewrite the laws.

    This.

  20. 20
    mclaren says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    What possible motive could Obama have for avoiding the prosecution of Wall Street?

    Maybe the night before Obama got inaugurated, he was invited to a special party held by Wall Street movers and shakers, and at that party, they showed Obama a grainy 8mm film of the JFK assassination…but taken from a perspective no one’s ever seen before.

    Then maybe the film concluded with documentary footage of his wife and himself with gunsight crosshairs overlaid in night vision. And the Wall Street movers and shakers asked Obama: “So…any questions?”

  21. 21
    gwangung says:

    You presented us with an interesting dynamic, Gwangung. We can either do something about the laws in place, or we can fling shit on people trying to do something about the laws in place. Well, I know a trick when I see one. Most of the liberals on this blog does both.

    Ah well…that’s true…I was compensating for the fact that a lot of people around here can’t multi-task…

  22. 22
    Baud says:

    @mclaren:

    That must be it.

  23. 23
    Corner Stone says:

    Bernard, amigo, you’re just not quite getting it.

  24. 24
    Maude says:

    @danielx:
    The laws aren’t there. They were removed. There has been a large amount of deregulation and Clinton was a best friend to Wall Street.
    You have to have evidence to bring charges, based on laws.
    Dodd Frank did pass and the Republicans are fighting it and slowing gown the implementation.
    This is not be cause Obama is best buds with Wall Street. They hate him.

  25. 25
    Some Loser says:

    @mclaren:

    They were able to get him alone without the Secret Service? Able to make threats against the most powerful man in the world without any consequences? Shit. I don’t know. Barack Obama doesn’t seem like the type of person who’d allow these type of threats especially if they targeting his family.

    Even if he didn’t have the Secret Service with him right then, couldn’t he have walked out that room and put all those Wall-Street movers’ and shakers’ names on his Kill List. According to your past claims, he can just kill anyone unilaterally. Few old white dudes sitting in America ain’t nothing compared to terrorists sitting in a hostile territory, right?

  26. 26
    mclaren says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    On a serious note, claiming that something couldn’t happen in American politics because the motives make no sense and the behavior would be self-destructive would lead us to conclude that most of American history never happen.

    “Richard Nixon is far ahead in the polls in 1972. What possible motive would he have for sending in a secret group of campaign operatives to bug and burgle Democratic campaign headquarters?”

    “Ronald Reagan was the most popular president in recent American history. What possible motive could he have had to set up a secret unconstitutional arms-for-hostages deal run out of the basement of the West Wing?”

    “Everyone knows the Iraqis had nothing to do with 9/11. What possible motive could George W. Bush have had for invading Iraq in 2003 based on alleged weapons of mass destruction?”

    …And so on.

    Crazy self-destructive behavior is the bread and butter of American politicians. If you want pure speculation, I’m guessing that Barack Obama feels profound solidarity with the wealthy elites of which he has now become a part. Rocking the boat by indicting these people could augur unpleasantness, like, oh, I dunno, not being invited to those spiffy million-dollar speeches Bill Clinton got invited to, or perhaps getting snubbed when you visit the Davos conferences as an elder statesman after you leave the presidency. That sort of thing.

    Counting down to the first obot to bleat plaintively: “But – but — but…he’s only the most powerful man in the world, he’s helpless against the awesome power and money of Wall Street!”

  27. 27
    Corner Stone says:

    1. There are things that can be done. Those are called Obama victories.
    2. There are things that can’t be done. Those are called Congressional failures.
    3. There are things that should be attempted but are not. Those are called “pragmatic decisions”, or lately, “politics over policy”.
    4. There are things that should never be attempted but are. Those are called a “Grand Bargain” or “11 D Chess”.
    5. Some things wound the soul of a US Citizen so deeply they can’t be properly reconciled. Those are called “looking forward, not backward”.

  28. 28
    Caz says:

    You simply don’t get it at all, do you? The reason that business owners support republicans most of the time is not because they think the republicans are intervening on their behalf, but rather because conservatives generally favor the govt staying out of the free market and leaving the market to its own devices. They are in favor of the market being run by supply and demand and by the private citizens and entities that engage in contracts, buying, selling, and competing. They favor a system that inherently rewards good decisions and punished bad ones – naturally and efficiently, not because the govt has decided which entities and people should win and lose.

    Business owners don’t want a govt that steps in to help them out; they want a govt that merely enforces a fair framework and lets the parties compete without govt interference. They are willing to reap what they sow, and are opposed to bailouts, even if they might at some point be used to help them.

    It’s not that hard to understand. The free market is only free is the govt stays out of the way. Voluntary contracts have nothing to do with the govt (or shouldn’t, anyway), and it allows naturaly economic efficiencies to dictate prices, supply, demand, winners, and losers. Nothing is more efficient than a free, unfettered market left to its own devices.

    And a totally free market is geared toward maximizing the benefits for CONSUMERS, not businesses. That’s a crucial point that liberals fail to understand. The free market is not all about big business; it’s about consumers and having a system the provides the highest quality goods and services for the lowest possible prices, with great variety to choose from.

    The more the govt interferes, the more the consumers suffer. It’s simple Austrian economic principles.

    Keynesianism has been shown over and over not to work, but you liberals continue to support it. Why do you keep trusting the govt when they say, “we are the solution to all the problems.”???

  29. 29
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Bernard, amigo, you’re just not quite getting it.

    Yeah, but you know by now he’s gotta be thinking, what the hell, I’ve posted on four different topics now and I keep getting the same response.

  30. 30
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    I hope the President prays to the FSM that this, does not depress the soft base that it causes some to stay home, it looks like both sides are doing that(God I hate to sound like a Kevin Drum on this). Then again I bet this will be forgotten by election day. If I was rat-f@*&ker working with the Kochs, I would suggest a heavily edited version of Inside Job, with special emphasis on the Obama’s DOJ refusal to go after the bankers, to depress his base from voting, make up some banker sh*t too.

  31. 31
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Caz: And businesses know how important college transcripts are, too. Don’t leave that out.

  32. 32
    Some Loser says:

    Before we accuse the DoJ of not doing their job, let us remember the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act and the other deregulation that followed. I don’t doubt there was some criminal liability, but digging up evidence isn’t easy. According to Bernard’s quote, they just couldn’t dig enough evidence to pass the smell test.

  33. 33
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: one more thing I think it is way past due for this very inspirational song to be played Tumbrels pitchforks and guillotines for the lot of them!

  34. 34
    priscianusjr says:

    Not sure you are entirely right on this.
    http://www.fixtheuschamber.org.....us-chamber

    “Since 2009, nearly 60 local Chambers of Commerce have publicly denounced or canceled their membership to the U.S. Chamber, citing the national organization’s extreme positions.”
    http://www.fixtheuschamber.org.....us-chamber

  35. 35
    gwangung says:

    @priscianusjr: Doesn’t that suggest a possibility of a coalition (temporary though it may be?)

  36. 36
    Maude says:

    @Some Loser:
    An example is the Senator Stevens case.

  37. 37
    mclaren says:

    @Corner Stone:

    LOL!

    Post of the day.

    Prepare to be smeared by obots with envenomed verbal abuse…

    America now abounds with “good little Germans” who in coming years will assure everyone “we had no idea such things were being done in our name.”

  38. 38
    mclaren says:

    @Caz:

    C’mon, guy, that’s weak trolling. You need to make your bizarre claims extreme enough to become provocative instead of merely silly. Instead of something mildly funny like “Keynesianism has been shown over and over again not to work” you want something really over the top, like “Fractional reserve banking has been shown over and over again to be a Masonic conspiracy of reptoid aliens who enter the White House of their mask-wearing reptoid leader through a secret back entrance…”

  39. 39
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Corner Stone: Awesome. I bow to your commentfu.

  40. 40
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @mclaren:

    Prepare to be smeared by obots with envenomed verbal abuse…

    Like center-right Franklin Roosevelt, he welcomes their hatred.

  41. 41
    mclaren says:

    @Some Loser:

    Ding-ding-ding! And we have a WINNER!

    An obot just explained to us how the most powerful man in the world, who with his infinite unlimited wartime authority (greater than Galactus in the Marvel comics!) can order American citizens murdered without an indictment merely by lifting his little pinky finger and sending out a drone, is helpless and hamstrung (a mere pitiful impotent pygmy like the scientist in the movie THE FLY (1958) caught in the spider’s web and screaming “Helllllp me! Pleeeeeeease help me!” as the spider approaches) when it comes to getting his department of justice to indict known felons on Wall Street.

    You really have to love it when the obots blatantly contradict themselves this way. Obama is so omnipotent that he can ignore the constitution at his discretion whenever he feels like it…ohhhhh, but wait! Obama has to obey the law when he deals with Wall Street! Because The Law (capital T! capital L!) is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much more puissant and plenipotent than the mere office of the Presidency of the United States.

    You guys are a laff riot. Looking forward to your convoluted intellectual gymnastics and verbal calisthenics after Obama gets re-elected and backs bills slashing social security and medicare even while he endorses another hefty 8% increase in American military spending (like the whopping 8% increase he authorized last year): “But Obama has to cut basic social programs, because we just don’t have the money! And remember, America is awash with money, gushers of it, great Niagara Falls torrents of it, so increasing military spending is no problem at all because America is the richest country in the world!

  42. 42
    Sly says:

    What I find interesting is that most of the outrage about this comes from individuals (and some politicians), but not from the institutional investors who got screwed directly….

    Because most of those institutional investors were trading the same garbage, and those that weren’t only got out of the market for CDOs and credit default swaps a year before it imploded.

  43. 43
    Sly says:

    @mclaren:
    If Lloyd Blankfein decides to take an impromptu trip to Afghanistan and starts hanging out with the Taliban, I’m sure the President will rest easy knowing that he has your permission to incinerate him from the air via remote-controlled flying killer robots.

  44. 44
    different-church-lady says:

    Dear diary: today on Balloon Juice the wheels on the bus went ’round and ’round again…

  45. 45
    different-church-lady says:

    @mclaren: In other words, they showed him an Oliver Stone film?

  46. 46
    different-church-lady says:

    @Caz:

    The more the govt interferes, the more the consumers suffer. It’s simple Austrian economic principles.

    Good god, you’re cute.

  47. 47
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @different-church-lady: I think he meant Australian Rules Football anyway.

  48. 48
    mclaren says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Didn’t you know? Fire departments cause fires! And police departments cause crime!

    It’s all so simple once you understand the sacred Hayekian principles of Austrian economics…

  49. 49
    NonyNony says:

    @mclaren:

    Jeebus mclaren. It’s like you’ve never heard of “Congress”.

    You do realize that the reason why the Oval Office can do pretty much whatever the fuck it wants with Afghanistan and Iraq and yet is powerless to stand up to Wall Street is because we live in a representative democracy, not a dictatorship, and the representatives of that democracy could give a goddamn tinker’s damn about what happens in Afghanistan but they’re bought and paid for by Wall Street.

    Right? You do understand that, don’t you?

    The President doesn’t have the kind of power you imagine. NO President has the kind of power you imagine. The President is exactly as powerful as Congress allows him to be. Congress has decided that the President (no matter who he may be) can have the power of a god when it comes to dealing with foreign countries (at least if he wants to throw them up against the wall a kick their asses – it’s a different story if he wants to negotiate trade agreements) but that he’s got almost no power when it comes to dealing with Wall Street. And it doesn’t actually matter WHO the President is – none of them get that power. It’s just that it’s noticable when a Democrat is in office because Democrats would like Democratic presidents to have that power.

    How long exactly have you been watching politics? Because this dynamic has been in place since, oh, Dwight D. Eisenhower started publicly complaining about the military-industrial complex at the very least.

  50. 50
    different-church-lady says:

    @mclaren:

    It’s all so simple once you understand the sacred Hayekian principles of Austrian economics…

    Do I need to focus on a specific chakra for that?

  51. 51
    Sly says:

    @Caz:
    Some business owners support Republicans because they hate the fact that they would otherwise have to compete with other business owners on an equal playing field and be accountable to those who buy their goods and services. Or, in other words, they hate the basic mechanisms of capitalism and seek protections from their rented courtiers in the political class.

    The free market is not a lawless market – the free market emerges from law; law that restricts firms from securing permanent advantages over their competitors and requires them to be accountable to those who are their customers. It is the product of properly exercised state power. Even sub-moronic Flat Earth Society Austrian School advocates should be able to understand that.

  52. 52
    danielx says:

    Jeezus, I can’t decide whether Caz or mclaren is more obnoxious. But I think Caz pisses me off more at the moment.

    Let’s see – Caz:

    Business owners don’t want a govt that steps in to help them out; they want a govt that merely enforces a fair framework and lets the parties compete without govt interference. They are willing to reap what they sow, and are opposed to bailouts, even if they might at some point be used to help them.

    Right. Small businessmen, possibly, although in my experience small business owners are generally more in favor of competition in the abstract rather than in the real world. But you might want to specify just which regulations you’d like to do away with. Minimum wage? Child labor? Overtime? Health and safety? Be specific, don’t be shy – we’re eagerly awaiting your input. Bear in mind, however, there was a reason for regulations – there wasn’t just some bureaucrat sitting in an office thinking up ways to fuck up the small business economy. Of course, maybe you regard the Shirtwaist Triangle factory as a glorious example of business efficiency.

    Now, Corporate America/Wall Street? No, they don’t want regulation, and they pay substantial bribes – er, campaign contributions – to make sure it doesn’t affect them. There was a reason that for sixty years the Glass-Steagall Act governed investment banking, and there was a reason for the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. It was because experience showed that lacking regulation, Wall Street and Corporate America would, figuratively speaking, slit their own mothers’ throats for an additional nickel on the bottom line. Tendency is even greater when compensation levels are such that cutting corners – let’s just say breaking the law – results in enough wealth that lawbreakers are set for life. Judging by the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, Enron, WorldCom, Qwest, Arthur Andersen, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, AIG, the ratings agencies – a very abbreviated list – human nature hasn’t changed much since then.

    Less regulation is the answer to all business problems? The free market solves everything? Keynesian economics don’t work?

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Go get some real information – you know, from actual books instead of Fox News. Try The Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History for starters, you ignorant fuckstick, and come back when you can do something besides reciting slogans between fits of drooling.

  53. 53
    Some Loser says:

    @mclaren:

    I was making fun of you. You are making up a bunch of bullshit about Obama being intimidated by Wall Street, and I was mentioning that it doesn’t mesh with the image you already presented of Obama.

    Honestly, I wasn’t expected you to lack this much self-awareness. Jeez, you jumped immediately to Obama-is-a-Dictator mode without skipping a fucking beat. I fed you some meat you went crazy, and it isn’t even fucking midnight yet.

    Seriously, you have very little self-aware and even less intellectual honesty.

  54. 54
    James E. Powell says:

    @mclaren:

    C’mon, guy, that’s weak trolling

    Trolling? I thought it was parody.

    But you remember when the financial wizards crashed the economy, don’t you? And how they vigorously resisted any help from the government? And how the free market, left to its own devices, fixed everything in a matter of months?

  55. 55
    Loviatar says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Absolutely Fuckin’ Brilliant

    1. There are things that can be done; Those are called Obama victories.
    2. There are things that can’t be done; Those are called Congressional failures.
    3. There are things that should be attempted but are not; Those are called “pragmatic decisions”, or lately, “politics over policy”.
    4. There are things that should never be attempted but are; Those are called a “Grand Bargain” or “11 D Chess”.
    5. Some things wound the soul of a US Citizen so deeply they can’t be properly reconciled; Those are called “looking forward, not backward”.

    I’m stealing this for the next Obot stroke fest.

  56. 56
    danielx says:

    oops – Triangle Shirtwaist factory. You know, Caz, where management’s freedom from regulation allowed them to lock the exits and 146 people died during a fire? But hey, freedom from regulation above all, amirite?

    Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, without lubricant. Twice.

  57. 57
    MattW says:

    Christ, does no one else recognize a Bill Hicks bit when they see it?

    Also, when someone comes along with bait like “Keynesianism has been shown over and over not to work”, they’re not really looking for a multi-paragraph rebuttal to their bullshit…well, they are, but only in the getting-a-rise-out-of-you sense, not the “oh now I see the error in my thinking” sense. I know the strong urge to correct misinformation when you come across it on the internet, but pick your battles.

  58. 58
    different-church-lady says:

    @MattW: You control the board.

  59. 59
    danielx says:

    @MattW:

    You’re correct, and he succeeded in getting a rise out of me. It’s been a long day and I’m really short on patience with wingnuts at the moment.

    At the moment, hell – I’m out of patience with wingnuts, stop, -30-, end of story. But rising to troll bait is foolish.

  60. 60
    burnspbesq says:

    @mclaren:

    C’mon, guy, that’s weak trolling

    You would know, wouldn’t you?

  61. 61
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I don’t think “the business community” functions as much of a community. Conservatives in business who get involved in politics get involved as conservatives, not as businesspeople. They just throw around pseudo-economic flapdoodle to justify their greed and selfishness.

  62. 62
    David Koch says:

    @maven: why does anyone watch CNN?

  63. 63
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @Caz: “They are in favor of the market being run by supply and demand and by the private citizens and entities that engage in contracts….”

    No contracts without government regulation and justice. No entities not private citizens, either. No actual citizens of anything without government as well.

    “Wealth of Nations,” motherfucker. Do you read English?

  64. 64
    scav says:

    @Joseph Nobles: Copyrights, Trademarks and Patents. All the Red Red Commie Government Tape holding back the dazzling hand of the Free Markets. Out with them. Huzzah! Savings and a general decrease in bureaucracy!

  65. 65
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @scav: SAY AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS ONE MORE TIME!

  66. 66
    mclaren says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Now THAT’S how to troll, Caz. Observe burnspbesq’s post and learn.

  67. 67
    russell says:

    some will rob you with a six-gun / some with a fountain pen

  68. 68
    TenguPhule says:

    because conservatives generally favor the govt staying out of the free market and leaving the market to its own devices.

    Also known as price collusion and monopolies.

    Somebody get CAZ a history primer, stat.

  69. 69
    TenguPhule says:

    They are willing to reap what they sow, and are opposed to bailouts,

    What’s that quote again?

    “Every word there is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the'”

  70. 70
    bob h says:

    @mclaren:

    Soon enough the banksters are going to look at the national polls and start pouring money into the winning side.

  71. 71
    liberal says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Awesome.

    Someone should do a serious taxonomy of O-bot rationales.

  72. 72
    WJS says:

    Thinking back a century ago, it wasn’t ordinary citizens alone who finally managed to push for regulation (particularly of monopolistic practices), it was also business interests that faced what they considered unfair practices.

    Bernard, is that really what you meant to say? Because the actual record contradicts you in many ways:

    Taft’s intent to provide more efficient administration for existing reform policies was perfectly suited for the prosecution of antitrust violations. More trust prosecutions (99, in all) occurred under Taft than under Roosevelt, who was known as the “Great Trust-Buster.” The two most famous antitrust cases under the Taft Administration, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey and the American Tobacco Company, were actually begun during the Roosevelt years. He also won a lawsuit against the American Sugar Refining Company to break up the “sugar trust” that rigged prices. And when Taft moved to break up U.S. Steel, Roosevelt accused him of a lack of insight—unable to distinguish between “good” and “bad” trusts. By 1911, however, Taft began to back away from his antitrust efforts, stung by the criticism of his conservative business supporters and unsure about the long-range effect of trust-busting on the national economy. Most importantly, Taft had surrounded himself with conservative businessmen who shared his love for golf and recreation at fine resorts. His new business cronies isolated Taft from the progressive followers of Roosevelt who had supported his election.

    What business interests moved to eliminate their own power during the Taft Administration? I’d really like to see some examples where a major US trust from that period, without any threat from the Federal government, shattered itself and pledged to do the right thing from now on.

  73. 73
    JGabriel says:

    Bernard Finel @ Top:

    I don’t really know what to do about it, but American business votes against their own interests at least as much as the good people of Kansas about whom so much has been written.

    Like some LIBTARD is gonna know what’s in American business’s best interests. Yer all COMYU… COMMYUN… COMMEES and any Real American business knows to do exactly the OPOSITT of what any DEMONRATS say!

    GO BAK TO THE SOVYET YOONYON, YOU SOSHILLIST FREEKS!

    .

  74. 74
    liberal says:

    @Caz:

    You simply don’t get it at all, do you? The reason that business owners support republicans most of the time is not because they think the republicans are intervening on their behalf, but rather because conservatives generally favor the govt staying out of the free market and leaving the market to its own devices.

    So government-granted monopolies (aka patents and copyrights), which price goods multiple times over their marginal cost of production, are a result of the workings of “free markets”?

    Business owners don’t want a govt that steps in to help them out; they want a govt that merely enforces a fair framework and lets the parties compete without govt interference. They are willing to reap what they sow, and are opposed to bailouts, even if they might at some point be used to help them.

    LOL!!!

    It’s not that hard to understand. The free market is only free is the govt stays out of the way. Voluntary contracts have nothing to do with the govt (or shouldn’t, anyway), and it allows naturaly economic efficiencies to dictate prices, supply, demand, winners, and losers. Nothing is more efficient than a free, unfettered market left to its own devices.

    Really? You own a home sitting on a parcel of land? Who says you actually own the land? I’m sure you wouldn’t mind someone squatting on it for free, right? After all, you didn’t produce the land or its value, nor did the person who sold it to you.

    And a totally free market is geared toward maximizing the benefits for CONSUMERS, not businesses. That’s a crucial point that liberals fail to understand.

    Yeah, our cannabinoid receptors are all jammed up with the notion of “monopolies”, which apparently don’t exist in the world you live in.

    The free market is not all about big business; ….

    You’re right on that one. It’s also about small business, which is historically much further to the right than large business, in the aggregate.

    …it’s about consumers and having a system the provides the highest quality goods and services for the lowest possible prices, with great variety to choose from.

    Right. And if there was no government, there’d be even LOWER prices and a GREATER variety. Like in Somalia!

    The more the govt interferes, the more the consumers suffer. It’s simple Austrian economic principles.
    </blockquote.

    Logically, we can conclude that the less government interferes, the better off consumers are. Which is why they're doing so well in Somalia.

    Keynesianism has been shown over and over not to work, but you liberals continue to support it.

    You’re right on that. After all, Keynesians predicted there’d be no inflation as long as our economy’s in a liquidity trap. The Austrians predicting rampaging inflation created by the Federal Reserve dumping reserves into the banking system.

    You guys really knocked the ball out of the park on that one, I have to admit. Hope you started shorting Treasuries in about 2008 or so.

    Why do you keep trusting the govt when they say, “we are the solution to all the problems.”???

    You’re right, we do. For example, when Bush 41 said he had the solution to the problem of Iraq, I totally believed him.

  75. 75
    liberal says:

    @mclaren:

    An obot just explained to us how the most powerful man in the world, who with his infinite unlimited wartime authority (greater than Galactus in the Marvel comics!) can order American citizens murdered without an indictment merely by lifting his little pinky finger and sending out a drone, is helpless and hamstrung (a mere pitiful impotent pygmy like the scientist in the movie THE FLY (1958) caught in the spider’s web and screaming “Helllllp me! Pleeeeeeease help me!” as the spider approaches) when it comes to getting his department of justice to indict known felons on Wall Street.

    Well, perhaps he’ll send drones equipped with some nasty air-to-surface missiles and blow up some Wall St firms.

    We can always hope, can’t we?

  76. 76
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    TenguPhule:

    What’s that quote again? “Every word there is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’”

    __
    “Every word she writes is a lie …”

    Mary McCarthy to Dick Cavett, about Lillian Hellman. 1980.

    .

  77. 77
    liberal says:

    @NonyNony:

    You do realize that the reason why the Oval Office can do pretty much whatever the fuck it wants with Afghanistan and Iraq and yet is powerless to stand up to Wall Street is because we live in a representative democracy, not a dictatorship, and the representatives of that democracy could give a goddamn tinker’s damn about what happens in Afghanistan but they’re bought and paid for by Wall Street.

    Yeah, I suppose it has nothing to do with Obama getting more campaign donations from Goldman Sachs than any other presidential candidate in 2008.

    The President is exactly as powerful as Congress allows him to be. Congress has decided that the President (no matter who he may be) can have the power of a god when it comes to dealing with foreign countries (at least if he wants to throw them up against the wall a kick their asses – it’s a different story if he wants to negotiate trade agreements) but that he’s got almost no power when it comes to dealing with Wall Street.

    Congress runs the DOJ? Congress appointed Geithner to Treasury, and Geithner answers to Congress and not the president?

    As for trade agreements, you’re absolutely right, but you don’t go far enough—not only does the Senate retain the right to ratify trade agreements, they also forced Obama to put all this outrageous, pro-corporate crap in them.

  78. 78
    liberal says:

    @different-church-lady:
    Yes, the one known as “praxeology”.

  79. 79
    liberal says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    “Wealth of Nations,” motherfucker. Do you read English?

    Specifically, I’m pretty sure Adam Smith pointed out that for various reasons banks needed more regulations than other businesses.

    But stupid conservatives are too stupid to be able to read The Wealth of Nations. Reading is hard!

  80. 80
    liberal says:

    @WJS:
    In some limited circumstances, they do favor regulation. E.g. if the regulations create barriers to entry that keeps out nascent competition.

    There are other examples, too. E.g. proposed restrictions on plaintiff lawsuits paid for on a contingency basis is a clear example of interfering with the free market. Why should a plaintiff’s lawyer be told he can’t operate that way?

  81. 81
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    liberal:

    Yeah, I suppose it has nothing to do with Obama getting more campaign donations from Goldman Sachs than any other presidential candidate in 2008.

    I wonder what happens in 2013, especially after GS, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and others in the bankster and finagle-ance finance community gave the bulk of their money to Romney.

    I’m thinking that might backfire on them a bit when Obama wins the election.

    .

  82. 82
    OzoneR says:

    @liberal:

    Congress runs the DOJ?

    Actually, yes. Congress creates the laws the DOJ enforces, or, as it were, repeals them.

    DOJ can’t enforce a law that doesn’t exist

  83. 83
    Bernard Finel says:

    @WJS: I never suggested that major trusts self-regulated. Far from it.

    What I did say was that the business community was not unified, and that indeed, major segments actively lobbied for anti-trust enforcement precisely because they were the ones who were being killed by, say, Standard’s demands for differential pricing and freight exclusion, and so on.

  84. 84
    SteveAR says:

    @Hill Dweller: “What possible motive could Obama have for avoiding the prosecution of Wall Street?”

    Could be that no laws were broken. Bad things happening aren’t necessarily criminal acts.

  85. 85
    WJS says:

    @Bernard Finel: And these would be the same people that helped sweep Taft from power, kept Roosevelt from regaining the Presidency, and ushered in eight years of Woodrow Wilson?

    I realize that 1912 was a very fractured time, but I couldn’t follow what you were saying. My bad.

  86. 86
    RobinDC says:

    Again the nonsensical lie that no crimes were committed because things have been rewritten is propagated at Balloon-Juice once again. This is absolute bullshit, frauds 4 principle elements have not changed since WWII and Sarbanes Oxley makes misstatements strictly liable. There is no excuse except lack of will.

    FYI from http://online.wsj.com/article/.....TopStories

    Quote: The report concluded that even as securities firms flooded the market with securitized mortgages and advised clients to buy them, firms privately used words like “crap” and “flying pig” to describe the financial instruments.

    This is, by any normal standard, evidence of intention to defraud, the most difficult element of fraud to prove. Again whats happening here is a willful forbearance by regulators and prosecutors not to do anything, not a situation where proving criminal activity is impossible. This is almost certainly being spearheaded by Tim Geithner, a truly disgusting criminal himself who should have been impeached 3 years ago. Also Obama’s most trusted deputy.

    God its nice to have choices like Obama and Romney! Makes me feel good about the grand ole US of A.

  87. 87
    MomSense says:

    Sheesh, I feel like a fricking broken record whenever this issue comes up–but you cannot prosecute for things that were legal at the time.

    Yes Wall St actions were immoral, unethical, and utterly destructive. Unfortunately they were legal thanks to the Gramm Leach Bliley Act signed by Clinton and recommended by Greenspan.

    The burden of proof is always on the prosecution.

    I think a lot of people who are outraged now were asleep when Clinton was President. But go right ahead and do all sorts of conspiratorial gymnastics to blame President Obama.

  88. 88
    Tone In DC says:

    @danielx:
    LULz.
    Oh, AYUH.

  89. 89
    chris9059 says:

    “The majority of the members of the Chamber of Commerce are getting screwed left and right by lack of transparency, price fixing, and a variety of dicey if not unlawful other practices. And yet, they, as a matter of tribal loyalty always seem to end up siding with their “Wall Street brothers.”
    I don’t really know what to do about it, but American business votes against their own interests at least as much as the good people of Kansas about whom so much has been written.”

    I’m afraid you are conflating businesses with their management. It is true that American business suffers from the machinations of Wall Street however the management of these corporations do not. this is because management is engaged in the same sort of rent extraction from their shareholderss, employees and customers as Wall Street is engaged in. By making rent extraction an acceptable business practice Wall Street facilitates non-financial companies’ managements’ looting of their corporations.

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