Criminal Deterrence: To Lanny Breuer, It Means Pretending to Investigate

By: Friday February 10, 2012 10:15 am

I was just on KPFK in Los Angeles with RJ Eskow, and we have fairly similar ideas about the foreclosure fraud settlement, even though they may sound different. He thinks that we need to use the pressure available to ensure that the settlement is a beginning and not an ending. I’m just trying to be realistic about what the settlement means. But one area we agreed is that the lack of deterrence implied by this settlement is absolutely corrosive for the future. Eskow described it as socially corrosive, and a way that people lose faith in their government. I concur completely.

It’s not just that a failure to prosecute makes it more likely that the same bad actors engage in the same bad actions over and over again. It’s not just that this furthers a financial oligarchy that has been historically responsible for most major economic crises in this country. It’s that a two-tiered system of justice is terrible for civil society.


Dot-Com Conflict-of-Interest Poster Girl Warns America: Think of the Children, Cut Social Security

By: Wednesday March 16, 2011 9:40 am

This is great. Mary Meeker has a report out called USA Inc, telling us all why Social Security benefits should be cut for the good of America. “By 2037, cumulative deficits from Social Security could add another $11.6 trillion to the public debt,” warns the cautious and prudent-sounding Meeker.

I’ll leave it to the wonks to rip apart her latest bag o’ bullshit and her hallmark brand of fact-stuffing, but in case anyone has forgotten about the role Meeker played in the dot-com boom, let me remind you.

Daily Beast’s Tina Brown Untroubled as WaPo by Howie Kurtz’s CNN Conflict

By: Wednesday October 6, 2010 4:40 pm

Those who observe American media, and observe what passes for Legacy Media’s “criticism” of our American media, have long been irritated by the Washington Post’s declaration that Howard Kurtz’s disclosure of his CNN role (host of “Reliable Sources” and media critic) satisfies WaPo readers that he has no conflict between his CNN role and his WaPo role, even when writing about CNN. Moved up the Versailles foodchain to Washington Bureau Chief (of the Daily Beast, but still….) Howie will retain his CNN Sunday hosting role.

NY Times: The Republican Opposition Rag

By: Sunday June 13, 2010 5:00 pm

Clark Hoyt has a really curious final column summarizing his three years as the NYT’s public editor. A lot of it is self-congratulation to the NYT for even having a public editor. But I’m most fascinated by Hoyt’s rebuttal of reader claims that NYT is a “liberal rag.”

Glenn Greenwald and Eliot Spitzer on the Gaza Flotilla

By: Wednesday June 2, 2010 9:30 am

You don’t often get a piece of cable TV this good, so it’s worth transcribing and posting in its entirety. In a rare and contentious eight minute cable news segment, Glenn Greenwald decided to set the record straight with Eliot Spitzer on MSNBC regarding the Gaza flotilla.

Timeline: Follow the AIG Emails

By: Wednesday January 13, 2010 7:01 pm

This is a timeline based on the emails released by Federal Reserve Bank in response to a letter request from Rep. Darrell Issa. These emails show AIG trying to do plain vanilla disclosures, and initially involving the Fed to make sure they were disclosing enough. But the disclosures were inadequate and the Fed did not ensure AIG did make adequate disclosure. The emails released thus far are sufficiently damning and raise a host of suspicions;we have a right to know the full story. Further, because of the push back and forth, it is hardly wild speculation to think there is a smoking gun document out here.

Spitzer: Surprised WH Is Making “Definitive Statements About Geithner’s Involvement” In NY Fed/AIG Scandal

By: Saturday January 9, 2010 7:59 am

A lawyer for the New York Federal Reserve Bank is out with a statement claiming that Timothy Geithner played no role in the incident where lawyers instructed AIG to hide key elements of their payments to counter-parties.

Spitzer, Partnoy, Black Call for AIG Open Source Investigation (and Goldman Implications)

By: Sunday December 20, 2009 4:00 pm

An op-ed in the Sunday New York Times by former investigators and prosecutors Eliot Spitzer, Frank Parnoy, and William Black calls for AIG to put non-privileged e-mails, accounting documents, and financial models on line to allow for an “open source” investigation. The questions they want to examine include:

As fraud investigators, we would like to examine the trading patterns of A.I.G.’s financial products division, and its communications with Goldman Sachs and other bank counterparties who benefited from the bailout. We would like to understand whether the leaders of A.I.G. understood that they were approaching a financial Armageddon, and whether they alerted their counterparties, regulators and shareholders to the impending calamity.

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