The FCIC, in Lockstep with the Officialdom, Refuses to Use the “C” Word…”Crime pays. Besides, who’s going to call it crime, anyway?”

The FCIC, in Lockstep with the Officialdom, Refuses to Use the “C” Word

Today, January 28, 2011, 6 hours ago | Yves SmithGo to full article

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report increasingly looks like a whitewash. Even though the commission has made referrals for criminal prosecution, you’d never know that reading its end product. The references to “fraud” and “crime” are sparing, and ex mention of the SEC’s fraud investigation of Goldman, consist almost entirely of mortgage fraud, which is the FBI’s notion of “fraud for profit” or “fraud for housing”, meaning borrower fraud. The book also acknowledges the fraudulent lending by firms that were prosecuted like Ameriquest. In other words, the notion that the TBTF firms might have engaged in less than savory activity is remarkably absent from the report.

The FCIC has also been unduly close-lipped about their criminal referrals, refusing to say how many they made or giving a high-level description of the type of activities they encouraged prosecutors to investigate. By contrast, the Valukas report on the Lehman bankruptcy discussed in some detail whether it thought civil or criminal charges could be brought against Lehman CEO Richard Fuld and chief financial officers chiefs Chris O’Meara, Erin Callan and Ian I Lowitt, and accounting firm Ernst & Young. If a report prepared in a private sector action can discuss liability and name names, why is the public not entitled to at least some general disclosure on possible criminal actions coming out of a taxpayer funded effort? Or is it that the referrals were merely to burnish the image of the report, and are expected to die a speedy death?

Matt Stoller provides further support for the cynical take. Via e-mail:

I was on a conference call today with Phil Angelides and Brooksley Born, two commisioners of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. During their unveiling of the FCIC report, they used words like deregulation, leverage, imprudent risk-taking, reckless behavior, failures at credit agencies, and failed regulators. Left out were words like crime, fraud, looting, or a specialized form of looting known as control fraud. At every point reporters asked about their referrals of criminal cases, which someone leaked before the report came out, they demurred. “We are not prosecutors”, said Angelides.

I asked about the criminal nature of the crisis. I said I didn’t want to know about any specific case, but whether they thought that fraud or crime was a core cause of the crisis. This is an important distinction, because the real question at hand is whether you trust the system to correct itself, or whether you believe that the people running the system are the problem and must be removed before we can fix the system. It’s obvious, as you’ll see, that Born and Angelides believe the former.

Neither Born nor Angelides would answer whether accounting fraud or crime was a primal cause of the crisis. The gist of the response was “it’s all in the report,” along with an attempt to pretend like they had discovered the systemic mortgage origination fraud that the FBI discussed in 2004. Born also repeated that they wouldn’t disclose specific cases of criminal referrals, even though I had specifically said that I was not interested in such disclosures. It was a filibuster, and an obvious one at that. I kept pressing, and asked them repeatedly to answer my question, and after the third follow-up Angelides finally said they had to go.

With that, the FCIC has completed the final act of oversight for the last Democratic Congress, and it held true to what Democrats in the last Congress believed. Everyone was at fault for the crisis, but no one is to blame. This was Bush’s line in 2008, that “Wall Street got drunk”, and Obama’s line throughout the Dodd-Frank mark-up. The Republicans went after the GSEs and “regulation”, and the Democrats sadly lamented the tragedy of the crisis. Again, everyone’s at fault, and no one is to blame. I saw high-ranking Democrat Carolyn Maloney brag yesterday about her vote for TARP in the hearing on foreclosures, noting that the Dow busted through 12,000 as a sign of prosperity. This is what they believe, in their bones. There was no theft, only tragedy. The American economy lives on the crack of financialization, not the production of valuable services and goods that solve real problems.

You can even read Obama’s Cooper Union speech from 2008, and with a few additions, it’s basically that narrative. Deregulation bad, regulation good. New Deal “outmoded”, excessive pay a problem. (I do find it amusing that Obama in 2008 brought up how other banks spread rumors about Bear Stearns so it would collapse, and then stressed how the SEC “should investigate and punish this kind of market manipulation.” But that’s kind of an exception, an adorable one that suggested there were rhetorical remnants of outrage among elites)

The FCIC report is destined for the same dustbin of history as that speech. It is a document of and by well-meaning insiders that just can’t deal with the corruption they were supposed to investigate. It’s a psychological crutch maybe, or perhaps a denial mechanism, but it doesn’t really matter. This report is just a cover-up, the same kind of cover-up that is allowing the thieves to escape with their loot.

Nothing will come from the generation in power who created this mess. They just don’t have it in them. The bad guys will steal again. I mean, crime pays. Besides, who’s going to call it crime, anyway?

20 Responses

  1. After several experiences with lobbyists I’ve learneed that politicians fear AND will always REFRAIN from voting for any bill where the opposition has created a “sound bite” – IE: a short quote/phrase that OUTRAGES THE PUBLIC PERCEPTION of their voting “for” a bill.


    “While federal authorities continue to vigorously insist on unforgiving procecution of individual acts of perjury of (primarily minority) athletes such as Barry Bonds, Florance Joiner, etc, who they maintain “must be made an example” of – In a new bill federal lawmakers are showing no concern to procecute the “organized perjury conspiracy” that exposes a far more greivous and harmful-to-the-public crime committed by their “fraternaty bro” bankers.”

    Now THAT kind of “FAVORTISM” creates allot of short; easy to understand quotes/phrases (and easy for NEWS/MEDIA) IEL

    I’m no lobbyist or publicist, but I bet the NAACP and ACLU would have a field day creating a “publicity release” that would “SCARE THE YES VOTE” right out of politici\ans who may otherwise consider voting for the new “excuse the bankers for perjury” laws!


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  3. Good night uncle Moynihan, sweet dreams Vikram, don’t forget to say your prayers Jamie Dimon, sleep tight grampa Blankfein, have a good nights rest Johnny Stumpf and little Richard Davis, Remember Julian loves you all!

  4. EULE, thanks for that blast from the past! That was priceless. I was actually surprised to hear Paulson being so willing to aid the underlings…it was touching. His rhetoric didn’t last long, as history showed us all too well.

    These pieces of recent history are really interesting to dredge up, it’salmost like they totally shoot down the revisionists out there. Statements such as:

    America’s banks lent out billions of dollars to un-credit-worthy borrowers for overpriced houses. Now that the market has turned, and homeowners are defaulting on loans in droves and property values are plummeting, the banks are stuck holding billions in non-performing, rapidly devaluing assets. But the banks don’t have enough money on hand to cover their own potential loan losses. That’s why Paulson is encouraging banks to pool their money and create a fund to cover the loans.

    Now….that much is 100% correct. Uh….maybe not exactly 100% maybe about 1% correct……..as the un-credit-worthy part came from the total lack of underwriting on the bankers part. Oh….and the overpriced housing part came because BAC and the Sachs and CW et al ran a con game where if you didn’t price it right, you didn’t get future work, Mr/Ms. appraiser.

    And pity the poor bankers for not having enough reserves on hand! How could they have known? Don’t even mention fractional reserve banking math here….that would explode many peoples heads if they knew about that.

    And as to the part about Mr. Paulson encouraging banks to pool their money and create a fund to cover the loans…..oh Sweet Jesus! Let me get up off the floor I’m laughing so hard! A fund to pool their monies? OMG! That’s too funny! Why? When there are so many hapless taxpayers out there to loot from?

    And if Paulson thinks a plunging dollar, $90-per-barrel oil, $800-per-ounce gold, and near-record corn, wheat and milk prices are “stable inflation,” pity the average consumer who is experiencing the double-digit cost-of-living increase.

    These prices are soon to seem like the good old days, thanks to the
    Bernake/Paulson/Geithner/Greenspan/Central bankers scheme. Thanks to near zero interest, poor folks living off of the interest of slim savings are waking up with growling stomachs. Add to that the increase costs of food and other goods, and the average person living on a fixed income is feeling the pinch to desperation. Cotton up 300% in two years will bring any society to it’s knees. I’m back to a $60 fill up today. Unsustainable. Grapes of Wrath except without the dust.

    It’s over folks. Time to pull the plug. This concept isn’t working anymore, save for the top .01%. And they can’t function without us mules.

    Stop paying your usury stuff. There is no reason to continue. They don’t own the debt, and you can’t afford what’s coming. Egypt is just the start. Don’t pay any of the TBTF banksters. And Hail Assange!

  5. 1/30/2011 Julian Assange WikiLeaks, 60 Minutes confirmed he got 5 gig’s of data on the banks. Not naming which ones. How fitting at a time like this when all global economies suffer at the hands of the wealthiest financiers in America. Jamie Dimon get an earful in Davos which may be a sign of things to come.

  6. go here to see red dots of how many foreclosures in select cities….some cities have 1 in 14 houses in foreclosures, covers Reno Nevada, Florida cities, and places like Merced CA and Vallejo CA and Sacramento

    it is satellite view


  7. EULE,

    Oh– that is good — a “Plan” — yeah — that happened!!

    These guys were involved in distressed debt buying before they went to Washington — and after they left Washington. Distressed debt buyers — how DID THEY get so much power???? Believe major source of power came from Mr. Alan Greenspan. And, all undercover. – who knows where money is being funneled.

  8. I just find out ,the story is from 2007 , but see how the idea change .


  9. The FCIC report is a yawn. Outside of a few interesting tidbits on funding of a trust that was not securitized by investment bank (and not in compliance if you look them up), the report gives nothing that we did not know. In fact, the information is old and outdated — presented to the FCIC by individuals that are still “researching” – and without adequate information. This report could have been published 2 years ago — with little change from today.

    As the pieces of the puzzle that the FCIC try to explain are further explored and investigated — the report will become more and more obsolete. And – those pieces are becoming more evident each and every day in courts around the country.

  10. And this is why we should NEVER trust financial institutions again. While they may never admit to the criminal fraud, we should never put our trust in them again. Who will they sell their financial products to now?

    And who of us will ever trust government ever again, with their ridiculous investigations that will never reveal the real issues and the criminal activities behind the economic collapse?

    Neither Wall Street nor the U.S. Government can function without the trust of the people. Yes, they harmed us, but they also shot themselves in the foot in the process.


    We must teach our children, and their children, to never trust these entities again. Talk to your children today!

  11. But, according to our chief policy makers, this fraud, however unpleasant, is simply a cost of doing business in our modern world. Remember what the Third Way said, and at the same time remember that when the Third Way speaks, Congress listens:

    Late last week, Massachusetts’ highest state court upheld a lower court ruling invalidating two foreclosures due to improper paperwork by banks. This case is certain to set off a massive wave of litigation by homeowners and lawyers eager to challenge a pending foreclosure.

    Before “foreclosure-gate” opens the floodgates for both litigation and greater market uncertainty, policymakers need to step in with a common sense solution. As egregious as the paperwork failures were in the Massachusetts case, it would be far more damaging to the American economy if every foreclosure and every securitization were suddenly open to question.

    REALLY NOW? Politicians and Wall Streeters can’t take Viagra….it simply makes them taller.

  12. B. Davies Again thank you

  13. b. davies, thanks for all of the great links you provide. Much appreciated. I think it’s hilarious that that document you just pointed to describing very well how securitization = fraud is sponsered in two seperate spots by Ally Financial, whose Chief SHOULD be going off to the slammer, if in fact any regulators would simply do their robs. That was Freudian….I meant jobs.

  14. I hope Obama doesnt become Mubarak. But it doesnt look good.



  16. Of course. The weird thing is how systemic and structural corruptive tubes work to channel the average American who becomes implicated in this accidentally, or by criminal intent. Astounding the conditioning that allows everyday people, and supposed experts in the various parts to collectively sink the ship real-time, while we all watch from the deck, LOL.

    The trick is to speak the truth, right before the big sink, so the transition from being in the “same boat”, till they throw the whistle blowers off, will be quickly reunited with all drowning in the oceans of history, as a lesson to anyone paying attention.

    Lets cover a couple strange dynamics, that allowed the “information age” to also be the age of plutonium density retardation and deciet (almost blackhole, LOL), concurrently, hand in hand. very strange…

    What it also points to, is that this systemic evidence of “greed and carrot” architecture, is as predictable as the path the carrot led the nationwide set of American zombies over the cliff of.

    So, predictably, what is a knee-jerk, conditioned response in the American investor psyche (and other fractals), is unfolding and rolling across a different sea of finance, but the winds that drive it are the same, another fractal.

    This will equal [cyclic changes, which aggregate into an overall structural overhaul], and [collections of isolated occurrences which will equal an overall systemic pathology] synergizing into one massive, multiple impact, crash as the destination of the whole, as it tumbles down a century old mountain apparently built for this purpose.

    The only thing that keeps this thing from being widely detected, is a collective zombification, antiquated analysis techniques and telescopic blur.

    1. Political Dementia: Micro-focused distraction equaling “band-aid design” for obvious financial decapitation (as seen in, as one example set, American and other philosophical political debate quagmire and quicksand of the American media talking heads, politicians and “intelligentsia”).

    This means the “experts” are only guiding the followers, into the same blackhole.

    2. Academic and Analytical Retardation: Old linear modeling attempting to be projected one an enormous, multi-level, multi chaotic system dynamism, which is simply beyond 99% of the supposed “experts”, who could barely analyze the past, at 1/100th of this magnitude, from hindsight, much less the future of a true multi-dimensional storm system. (Now, imagine this accidental idiocay passed down the ranks to the average American investor, etc – The carrot’s main appeal salad masters)

    This means the “experts” are only guiding the followers, into the same blackhole.

    3. Closed Information System: Guarded storehouses of the real telling data. Obviously, aside from let’s say global, US directed (or other) military intelligence systems, the international finance intelligence system, is a database you won’t find many poking around in, creating reports of this and that, whipping up Excel pivot tables just for the fun of it. So, the data Real capital Analytics this, and Realpoint that, and Fitch this, and Bloomberg that, are all merely reselling pay per view analytics, which have been prepared, cooked, seasoned to the order of the international system power, NOT the poor blokes surrounding Wall Street and other financial projectionists basing the future, on data that, if you have not access to in whole, accurate, and real-time (or close), is as good as worthl;ess to base any real decisions upon. This also shows why this intelligence system, is not going to be openly distributed, doubted as to whether it actually exists, and only for the use of a limited number, who do know what it points to, and this information, is what is meant, when information, from accurate sources, with the power of affecting it, can be used for.

    Add it all up, and it will just be Gypsy forecasting, or close to, because the data, and intuition, will have limited reliability, unless you could tap the actual whole, and status dimension.

  17. What we need to do is take to the streets here as well. They need to know that we’re serious, and that we’re not going to let our so called government get away with these high crimes against the American populace.

    Inequality is twice as bad here in the US as in Egypt. And we just sit on our hands. Tunisia and Yemeni have it better than America?


    While we were dozing, the government and their corporate masters took everything that wasn’t nailed down, and now they’re grabbing all the land as well. And they no longer even care if the crimes are done in broad daylight, as is happening in VA. Robbed of our rights in broad daylight. This needs to stop right now.

    The FCIC novel points directly to criminality at the top CEO’s, and shrugs it’s shoulders as if there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Each and every elected official needs to hear, in no uncertain terms, that this crisis demands action now, not later, and that each and every one of them will be replaced at the next station stop.

    Enough of the legalized looting of the American people. It’s time to hit the streets and demand that our government either start governing and regulating, or fear the results. It’s time to let president Daley and vice president Obama know that we’re watching, and the we’re mad as hell, and not going to take it anymore.

  18. Bank bailouts explained:

  19. The shameless degree and demeanor of all these people it’s completely unparalleled, again and again they mock the American people’s intelligence with their attempts of taking us for another pillage trip, in conjunction with the rest of the ultimate perpetrators; wall street in my opinion should be banned for eternity from doing “business” in America, Or better yet let’s have it dismantled, and let’s have all it’s member build us by hand a palpable road to a city called ‘NEVER AGAIN”;who needs wall street anyway? They might as well just send “someone” weekly to our homes and collect whatever they want from us. Their thirst for making us addicts to their “products” is such that they are willing to walk over or even use the constitution to hit us on the head with, before they throw it into the fire pit in which all the original mortgage notes are being burned, along with many many American’s dreams. The organized and shameless financial heists must stop at once!!

  20. And the Attorneys General investigation has provided two groundbreaking events: Atty. General Miller backtracked on his claim that “people will be going to jail”, and Lisa Madigan wrote a letter that said “banks should retain 5% of the risk…”

    Your government in action, OR your government inaction.

    We’re DOOMED!

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