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Thread: The Two Faces of a Police State

  1. #1

    The Two Faces of a Police State

    The Two Faces of a Police State:
    Sheltering Tax Evaders, Financial Swindlers and Money Launderers while Policing the Citizens



    By James Petras

    “There is a degree of cynicism and greed which is really quite shocking” - Lord Turner Bank of England, Financial Service Authority, “The rotten heart of finance” The Economist

    Introduction

    August 06, 2012 "Information Clearing House" -- Never in the history of the United States have we witnessed crimes committed on the scale and scope of the present day by both private and state elites.

    An economist of impeccable credentials, James Henry, former chief economist at the prestigious consulting firm McKinsey & Company, has researched and documented tax evasion. He found that the super-wealthy and their families have as much as $32 trillion (USD) of hidden assets in offshore tax havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax revenue! This study excluded such non-financial assets as real estate, precious metals, jewels, yachts, race horses, luxury vehicles and so on. Of the $32 trillion in hidden assets, $23 trillion is held by the super-rich of North America and Europe.

    A recent report by a United Nations Special Committee on Money Laundering found that US and European banks laundered over $300 billion a year, including $30 billion just from the Mexican drug cartels.

    New reports on the multi-billion dollar financial swindles involving the major banks in the US and Europe are published each week. England’s leading banks, including Barclay’s and a host of others, have been identified as having rigged the LIBOR, or inter-bank lending rate, for years in order to maximize profits. The Bank of New York, JP Morgan, HSBC, Wachovia and Citibank are among scores of banks, which have been charged with laundering drug money and other illicit funds according to investigations from the US Senate Banking Committees. Multi-national corporations receive federal bailout funds and tax exemptions and then, in violation of publicized agreements with the government, relocate plants and jobs in Asia and Mexico.

    Major investment houses, like Goldman Sachs, have conned investors for years to invest in ‘garbage’ equities while the brokers pumped and dumped the worthless stocks. Jon Corzine, CEO of MF Global (as well as a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, former US Senator and Governor of New Jersey) claimed that he “cannot account” for $1.6 billion in lost client investors funds from the collapse of MF Global in 2011.

    Despite the growth of an enormous police state apparatus, the proliferation of investigatory agencies, Congressional hearings and over 400,000 employees at the Department of Homeland Security, not a single banker has gone to jail. In the most egregious cases, a bank like Barclay’s will pay a minor fine for having facilitated tax evasion and engaging in speculative swindles. At the same time, the principle ‘miscreant’ in the LIBOR swindle, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Barclay’s Bank, Jerry Del Missier, will receive a severance payout of $13 million dollars.

    In contrast to the ‘lax’ law enforcement practiced by the burgeoning police state with regard to the swindles of the banking, corporate and billionaire elites, it has intensified political repression of citizens and immigrants who have not committed any crime against public safety and order.

    Millions of immigrants have been seized from their homes and work-places, jailed, beaten and deported. Hundreds of Hispanic and Afro-American neighborhoods have been the target of police raids, shootouts and killings. In such neighborhoods, the local and federal police operate with impunity – as was illustrated by shocking videos of the police shootings and brutality against unarmed civilians in Anaheim, California. Muslims, South Asians, Arabs, Iranians and others are racially profiled, arbitrarily arrested and prosecuted for participating in charities and humanitarian foundations or simply for attending religious institutions. Over 40 million Americans engaged in lawful political activity are currently under surveillance, spied upon and frequently harassed.

    The Two Faces of the US Government: Impunity and Repression

    Overwhelming documentation supports the notion that the US police and judicial system has totally broken down when it comes to enforcing the law of the land regarding crimes among the financial, banking, corporate elite.

    Trillion-dollar tax-evaders, billionaire financial swindlers and multi-billionaire money launderers are almost never sent to jail. While some may pay a fine, none have their illicit earnings seized even though many are repeat criminals. Recidivism among financial criminals is rife because the penalties are so light, the profit are so high and the investigations are infrequent, superficial and inconsequential. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that $1.6 trillion was laundered, mostly in Western banks, in 2009, one fifth coming directly from the drug trade. The bulk of income from the cocaine trade was generated in North America ($35 billion), two-thirds of which were laundered in North American banks. The failure to prosecute bankers engaged in a critical link of the drug trade is not due to ‘lack of information’, nor is it due to the ‘laxness’ on the part of regulators and law enforcement. The reason is that the banks are too big to prosecute and the bankers are too rich to jail. Effective law-enforcement would lead to the prosecution of all the leading banks and bankers, which would sharply reduce profits. Jailing the top bankers would close the ‘revolving door’, the golden portal through which government regulators secure their own wealth and fortune by joining private investment houses after leaving ‘public’ service. The assets of the ten biggest banks in the US form a sizeable share of the US economy. The boards of directors of the biggest banks inter-lock with all major corporate sectors. The top and middle financial officials and their counterparts in the corporate sector, as well as their principle stockholders and bondholders, are among the country’s biggest tax evaders.

    While the Security and Exchange Commission, the Treasury Department and the Senate Banking Committee all make a public pretense of investigating high financial crimes, their real function is to protect these institutions from any efforts to transform their structure, operations and role in the US economy. The fines, which were recently levied, are high by previous standards but still only amount to, at most, a couple of weeks’ profits.

    The lack of ‘judicial will’, the breakdown of the entire regulatory system and the flaunting of financial power is manifested in the ‘golden parachutes’ routinely awarded to criminal CEOs following their exposure and ‘resignation’. This is due to the enormous political power the financial elite exercise over the state, judiciary and the economy.

    Political Power and the Demise of ‘Law and Order’

    With regard to financial crimes, the doctrine guiding state policy is ‘too rich for jail, too big to fail’ , which translates into multi-trillion dollar treasury bailouts of bankrupt kleptocratic financial institutions and a high level of state tolerance for billionaire tax-evaders, swindlers and money launderers. Because of the total breakdown of law enforcement toward financial crimes, there are high levels of repeat offenders in what one British financial official describes as ‘cynical (and cyclical) greed’.

    The current ‘banner’ under which the financial elite have seized total control over the state, the budget and the economy has been ‘change’. This refers to the deregulation of the financial system, the massive expansion of tax loopholes, the free flight of profits to overseas tax havens and the dramatic shift of ‘law enforcement’ from prosecuting the banks laundering the illicit earnings of drug and criminal cartels to pursuing so-called ‘terrorist states’. The ‘state of law’ has become a lawless state. Financial ‘changes’ have permitted and even promoted repeated swindles, which have defrauded millions and impoverished hundreds of millions. There are 20 million mortgage holders who have lost their homes or have been unable to maintain payments; tens of millions of middle class and working class taxpayers who were forced to pay higher taxes and lose vital social services because of upper class and corporate tax evasion. The laundering of billions of dollars in drug cartel and criminal wealth by the biggest banks has led to the deterioration of neighborhoods and rising crime, which has destabilized middle and working class family life.

    Conclusion

    The ascendancy of a criminal financial elite and its complicit, accommodating state has led to the breakdown of law and order, the degradation and discrediting of the entire regulatory network and judicial system. This has led to a national system of ‘unequal injustice’ where critical citizens are prosecuted for exercising their constitutional rights while criminal elites operate with impunity. The harshest enforcement of police state fiats are applied against hundreds of thousands of immigrants, Muslims and human rights activists, while financial swindlers are courted at Presidential campaign fund raisers.

    It is not surprising today that many workers and middle class citizens consider themselves to be ‘conservative’ and ‘against change’. Indeed, the majority wants to ‘conserve’ Social Security, pubic education, pensions, job stability, and federal medical plans, such as MEDICARE and MEDICAID against ‘radical’ elite advocates of ‘change’ who want to privatize Social Security and education, end MEDICARE, and slash MEDICAID. Workers and the middle class demand stability of jobs and neighborhoods and stable prices against run-away inflation of medical care and education. Wage and salaried citizens support law and order, especially when it means the prosecution of billionaire tax evaders, criminal money-launderering bankers and swindlers, who, at most, pay a minor fine, issue an excuse or ‘apology’ and then proceed to repeat their swindles.

    The radical ‘changes’ promoted by the elite, have devastated life for millions of Americans in every region, occupation and age group. They have destabilized family life by undermining job security while undermining neighborhoods by laundering drug profits. Above all they have totally perverted the entire system of justice where the ‘criminals are made respectable and the respectable treated as criminals’.

    The first defense of the majority is to resist ‘elite change’ and to conserve the remnants of the welfare state. The goal of ‘conservative’ resistance will be to transform the entire corrupt legal system of ‘functional criminality’ into a system of ‘equality before the law’. That will require a fundamental shift in political power, at the local and regional level, from the bankers’ boardrooms to neighborhood and workplace councils, from compliant elite-appointed judges and regulators to real representatives elected by the majority groaning under our current system of injustice.
    James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse....ticle32101.htm

  2. #2
    Binghampton. Sociology prof.

    Not exactly what one would call a front line school. It's not even a decent SUNY school let alone a school where someone of repute would teach.
    And sociology. Those are the guys who hate people who work and also hate white people.
    Nah. Another whining moron looking for recognition by mucking things up.

  3. #3
    James Petras has been spot on for quite a few years now. Some of the things that I have mentioned here over the past few weeks are the same things that he has embellished even more.

    Where are the 'stop and frisk' for the banksters? Where are the arrest? Billions in drug monies laundered.

    Monies that cannot be 'accounted for'? How much longer are you going to buy into this charade?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jetdawgg View Post
    James Petras has been spot on for quite a few years now. Some of the things that I have mentioned here over the past few weeks are the same things that he has embellished even more.

    Where are the 'stop and frisk' for the banksters
    ? Where are the arrest? Billions in drug monies laundered.

    Monies that cannot be 'accounted for'? How much longer are you going to buy into this charade?
    Do you even think about the things you post these days? Or is there a meme generator running back there and you just copy-paste whatever it throws out?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    Do you even think about the things you post these days? Or is there a meme generator running back there and you just copy-paste whatever it throws out?
    Exactly what I was thinking.

    This guy gets more incoherent by the day.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    Do you even think about the things you post these days? Or is there a meme generator running back there and you just copy-paste whatever it throws out?

    If you had any depth you may be able to read into what I posted. Let me simplify it some more:

    Where is the equivalent program to nab the banksters?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jetdawgg View Post
    If you had any depth you may be able to read into what I posted. Let me simplify it some more:

    Where is the equivalent program to nab the banksters?
    Ignoring the silliness of your selected pejorative . . . you mean aside from the SEC, the Martin Act, federal and state prosecutors, reporting and records retention requirements, private lawsuits, securities laws, etc?

    You're right. Other than those, I can't think of anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    Ignoring the silliness of your selected pejorative . . .
    Lol....Dawg just fell over backward off his 'puter chair.


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    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    Ignoring the silliness of your selected pejorative . . . you mean aside from the SEC, the Martin Act, federal and state prosecutors, reporting and records retention requirements, private lawsuits, securities laws, etc?

    You're right. Other than those, I can't think of anything.
    He is right though in that those guys rarely, if ever, get held criminally accountable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by palmetto defender View Post
    Binghampton. Sociology prof.

    Not exactly what one would call a front line school. It's not even a decent SUNY school let alone a school where someone of repute would teach.
    And sociology. Those are the guys who hate people who work and also hate white people.
    Nah. Another whining moron looking for recognition by mucking things up.
    Binghampton is actually a very good school. In fact, its the best SUNY school by practically every metric by a wide distance. Its extremely hard to get into and is considered a Tier 1 school by US News and World Report (just looked it up - its ranked #90 overall).

    Sociology? I can't really comment.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by brady's a catcher View Post
    He is right though in that those guys rarely, if ever, get held criminally accountable.
    A few years back, I was part of a team that represented Ted Sihpol in his criminal trial on market-timing charges. He was the only one who went to trial (found innocent, by the way) - every one of his bosses pled guilty. People had jail time over that. Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading. Madoff is rotting in jail. There are actually quite a few people who do time and will do time for financial crimes.

    The problem is that it is almost impossible to prove the requisite criminal intent in making a bad financial bet, even when leveraged beyond what now seems like clearly reasonable limits, even when managing other people's money. How do you prove that a position was taken solely to build the rep's commissions and not because the rep really thought it would be a beneficial move for the client? Short of e-mails or testimony with an admission, it's almost impossible. And that is the only rel crime involved, if any were; other than potential disregard of fiduciary duties in favor of self-interest, the transactions that led to the meltdown were all legal. Stupid, but legal.

    For that reason, the biggest bulwark against that type of fraud will always be an educated investor who monitors his portfolio and keeps track of the moves being made with in it, and understands and agrees with their rationale. If your broker can't explain to you why he made the big buy he did, then find another rep. And if you decide to trust him without understanding why he's making the moves he does, don't complain if they later turn out to be bad bets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetdawgg View Post
    Monies that cannot be 'accounted for'? How much longer are you going to buy into this charade?
    Not sure. How much longer are Obama and Holder going to protect Corzine for his blatantly criminal acts?

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by crasherino View Post
    Binghampton is actually a very good school. In fact, its the best SUNY school by practically every metric by a wide distance. Its extremely hard to get into and is considered a Tier 1 school by US News and World Report (just looked it up - its ranked #90 overall).

    Sociology? I can't really comment.
    Agreed. BINGO TOWN or Suny B as it is called has done an exceptional job bringing its program to a true national level. I didn't go there but lets call it like it is. is it Harvard? No but it is as good if not better than most large state schools . Not UNC or NC State of course

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by crasherino View Post
    Binghampton is actually a very good school. In fact, its the best SUNY school by practically every metric by a wide distance. Its extremely hard to get into and is considered a Tier 1 school by US News and World Report (just looked it up - its ranked #90 overall).

    Sociology? I can't really comment.

    Right there with Harvard Business, Northwestern, Stanford et al.
    Obviously there are some SUNY people here. Sorry.
    In the day, a "safe" school with low in state tuition. Good value.

    A commie soc prof commenting again. Another worthless major. If he was an economics or finance or even general business - maybe. Just another ivory tower, blue sky theorist. Hey, we have one of those in the WH.

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    Quote Originally Posted by southparkcpa View Post
    Agreed. BINGO TOWN or Suny B as it is called has done an exceptional job bringing its program to a true national level. I didn't go there but lets call it like it is. is it Harvard? No but it is as good if not better than most large state schools . Not UNC or NC State of course
    I dunno....Its ranked ahead of NC St. USC too, for that matter.

    I didn't go there either - but I agree, lets call it like it is.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by crasherino View Post
    I dunno....Its ranked ahead of NC St. USC too, for that matter.

    I didn't go there either - but I agree, lets call it like it is.
    USC meaning South Carolina? Without a doubt. That USC is a veritable criminal enterprise.
    But Clemson is not and a pretty good place. Add UVA.
    Some of the commie Cal schools are actually well thought of.
    But in all fairness, the good schools are almost all the private ones. That is where the big time employers look.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    A few years back, I was part of a team that represented Ted Sihpol in his criminal trial on market-timing charges. He was the only one who went to trial (found innocent, by the way) - every one of his bosses pled guilty. People had jail time over that. Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading. Madoff is rotting in jail. There are actually quite a few people who do time and will do time for financial crimes.

    The problem is that it is almost impossible to prove the requisite criminal intent in making a bad financial bet, even when leveraged beyond what now seems like clearly reasonable limits, even when managing other people's money. How do you prove that a position was taken solely to build the rep's commissions and not because the rep really thought it would be a beneficial move for the client? Short of e-mails or testimony with an admission, it's almost impossible. And that is the only rel crime involved, if any were; other than potential disregard of fiduciary duties in favor of self-interest, the transactions that led to the meltdown were all legal. Stupid, but legal.

    For that reason, the biggest bulwark against that type of fraud will always be an educated investor who monitors his portfolio and keeps track of the moves being made with in it, and understands and agrees with their rationale. If your broker can't explain to you why he made the big buy he did, then find another rep. And if you decide to trust him without understanding why he's making the moves he does, don't complain if they later turn out to be bad bets.

    Good info as always Doggin, thanks. I know it's a liberal, commie rag, but I thought the Matt Taibbi article in Rolling Stone a while back was very interesting.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics...-jail-20110216

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    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    A few years back, I was part of a team that represented Ted Sihpol in his criminal trial on market-timing charges. He was the only one who went to trial (found innocent, by the way) - every one of his bosses pled guilty. People had jail time over that. Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading. Madoff is rotting in jail. There are actually quite a few people who do time and will do time for financial crimes.

    The problem is that it is almost impossible to prove the requisite criminal intent in making a bad financial bet, even when leveraged beyond what now seems like clearly reasonable limits, even when managing other people's money. How do you prove that a position was taken solely to build the rep's commissions and not because the rep really thought it would be a beneficial move for the client? Short of e-mails or testimony with an admission, it's almost impossible. And that is the only rel crime involved, if any were; other than potential disregard of fiduciary duties in favor of self-interest, the transactions that led to the meltdown were all legal. Stupid, but legal.

    For that reason, the biggest bulwark against that type of fraud will always be an educated investor who monitors his portfolio and keeps track of the moves being made with in it, and understands and agrees with their rationale. If your broker can't explain to you why he made the big buy he did, then find another rep. And if you decide to trust him without understanding why he's making the moves he does, don't complain if they later turn out to be bad bets.

    Why would Goldman pay more than a half a billion if they did nothing wrong, criminally? I guess that isn't that much for a bank of that size.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/us-not...5--sector.html

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by brady's a catcher View Post
    Why would Goldman pay more than a half a billion if they did nothing wrong, criminally? I guess that isn't that much for a bank of that size.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/us-not...5--sector.html
    For the same reason the government does a deal with anyone facing criminal charges, or why people who are innocent (or not liable in a civil case) are willing to enter settlements without admitting guilt in any civil case - because there's a world of difference between "what is likely to happen" and "what risk is worth taking"

    Remember, GS would have been facing a jury, one likely peopled with panelists not particularly happy with bankers. Was the government's case airtight? No. (If it was, they wouldn't have settled any more than they did with Madoff) Was settling a better bet than going to trial, taking the reputational hit (and living with the business disruption), and then risking essentially the death of the institution? (Which is what a guilty result would have meant) Absolutely. It's not even a tough decision (to settle; I'm sure the amount didn't go down easy).

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by crasherino View Post
    I dunno....Its ranked ahead of NC St. USC too, for that matter.

    I didn't go there either - but I agree, lets call it like it is.
    NOT UNC.........

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