Reviewing Danny Schechter's The Crime of Our Time - by Stephen Lendman
Danny Schechter is a media activist, critic, independent filmmaker, and TV producer as well as an author of 10 books and lecturer on media issues. Some call him "The News Dissector," and that's the name of his popular blog on media issues. He's also the co-founder of Media Channel.org that covers the "political, cultural and social impacts of the media," and provides information unavailable in the mainstream.
Schechter's books include The More You Watch The Less You Know, Plunder: Investigating Our Economic Calamity and the Subprime Scandal, and his newest and subject of this review, The Crime of Our Time: Was the Economic Collapse "Indeed, Criminal?"
As a form of economic terrorism, indeed so says Schechter and many others. Ellen Brown, author of Web of Debt, writes: Schechter "establishes the crime's elements, identifies the players, and exposes the weapons that have turned free markets into vehicles for mass manipulation and control."
More still, according to former high-level government and Wall Street insider Catherine Austin Fitts in describing a "financial coup d'etat" that includes inflating multiple market bubbles, pump and dump schemes, naked short selling, precious metals price suppression, and active market intervention by Washington and the Fed that lets powerful insiders game the system, commit massive fraud, and be able to transfer trillions of public wealth to themselves, then get open-ended bailouts when the inevitable crisis surfaces.
In his last book, Plunder, Schechter deconstructed one element of the economy's financialization - the outlandish amounts subprime lending, instrumental in inflating the housing bubble and the economic crisis that followed.
The Crime of Our Time is his latest attempt to explain "the financial collapse as a crime story (and) the high status white-collar crooks" who wreak havoc on "the lives of hundreds of millions worldwide." He quotes from author and labor activist Jonathan Tasini in his new book, The Audacity of Greed, saying:
"Over the past quarter century, we have lived through the greatest looting of wealth in human history." While an elite few profited hugely, "the vast majority of citizens have lived through a period of falling wages, disappearing pensions, and dwindling bank accounts, all of which led to the personal debt crisis that lies at the root of the current financial meltdown."
The fallout cost millions of Americans their jobs, homes, savings, and futures, the result of a Washington - Wall Street criminal cabal and their scandalous conspiracy against the US public. In the Crime of Our Time, Schechter, once again, does a superb job explaining it astutely, thoroughly, and clearly.
Introduction - Our Time and Financial Crime
(1) In Wall Street We Trust
Once again, the major media betrayed the public by cheerleading the inflating market bubbles, ignoring the cause and Wall Street/Washington's role, then downplaying the severity of the crisis that has a long way to run. Instead their reasoning goes: "we are all to blame, guilty of greed, over-spending and under-saving," so "when everyone's at fault, no one can be held responsible."
Yet capitalism's internal contradictions make it crisis-prone, unstable, ungovernable, and self-destructive because of its repeated cycles of booms creating bubbles, creating busts, then depressions, and inevitably decay and demise.
Initially, The New Times deflected attention by focusing on human errors like "wild derivatives, sky-high leverage, (and) a subprime surge," but avoided the core issue of white collar crime and Washington's complicity in it. When it was too late to matter, columnists like Bob Herbert wrote about financial "malefactors" who walk away "with a suspended sentence, and can't wait to get back to their nefarious activities." Where were they when it mattered most?
Still today, the corporate media ignores the crime scene, instead calling criminal bankers "egotistical jerk(s) as trapped as anyone" in their own mess, as much victims as their prey.
(2) Former Bank Regulator William Black Speaks Out