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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/4/09

Fraud ... Rampant, Pervasive Fraud!

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On Friday Bill Moyers, acting almost as if he had just innocently returned from Mars, interviewed William K. Black, former senior bank regulator during the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s. The interview is a blockbuster and not to be missed. In it Mr. Black fires both barrels at the highest placed on Wall Street and their kin elsewhere. The implications from this interview should reverberate for the rest of the year and onward, but the essential question is whether President Obama can take advantage of the disclosures and accusations, or whether he will be buried by them. Black notes that as a result of the Great Depression and the S&L scandals, which as you will recall implicated five senators-the so-called Keating Five-laws were put in place to deal with the mistakes and misdeeds and outright frauds that periodically affect the finance sector in America. Black describes the nature of the deceits, the frauds, and the laws that were trashed to make it possible. At more than one point he says that we have laws on the books to deal with the situation, even this late in the aftermath. To be fair, it appears to me and to the rest of the country that these laws are inadequate by the simple test of whether they were or are able to be enforced. Obviously, they were not, and something has to be done about that matter of course. When asked why Secretaries of the Treasury have advised bailout and confidential activities that are clearly cover-ups of utterly massive fraudulent finance activites, Black says with a good deal of earnest (and a visible trace of understatement) that they act like they do because they are frightened to death of what would happen if it became known widely, publicly, internationally, what a sorry mess Wall Street at the very highest levels has made of itself ... and our country. It needs be said here that Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner are party to the debacle and completely owned and operated by Wall Street and its social milieu. Neither man trusts the hoi polloi and never gave consideration to any methodology for recovery that did not reflexively and intrinsically include restoration of the status quo ante. In a sense that is probably the most cutting irony in a hundred years, FDR's statement that we have nothing to fear but fear itself has now doubled back onto the White House itself where fear has created a public policy, a managerial and class fear that will surely wreak havoc among us and extend this crisis off into the distant future. What Black and Moyers unaccountably missed in their interview amid all the accusations and exclamations of surprise and disgust was a cogent explanation for why the most powerful man on the planet is afraid to death of a collapse on Wall Street that implicates the very highest moguls in rampant fraud. They partially answered this question with the admission the President Obama truly believes that if it were widely known that J.P.Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, CitiCorp, Bank of America, Wells Fargo like Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros are insolvent and incapable of reviving themselves that the crash would be so loud and deep that the country would be thrown into utter chaos for years. I can understand Obama thinking this way when his advisers and predecessors all said or told him their own darkest fears. But, there is at least another side-even to the dark side-and that is whatever the damage is, it is finite, and the intellectual, financial, and moral resources of a nation are much, much greater than the problem. But that is not what Moyers and Black missed, that Obama surely has not. It is quite simple and easy to overlook. Obama's administration is not yet fully in place. There are hold-overs from the eight long years of the Bush administration inside the government, and there are those hold-over notions and attitudes that deregulation was and always will be virtuous. Revolutions, as vivid and kinetic as they might seem in theory and in history books are still processes that take time. Paradigms change completely only when gray, hoary old men and their ilk give up and die. At Justice where Obama's next set of moves will begin, the coast is not yet clear. There is a minefield still in the Department and these fifth columnists must be routed out before any thorough investigation of the massive frauds can be safely and effectively undertaken. And, the FBI accountants must be be reassembled to deal with evidence strewn all over the country and into hidey-holes we can hardly imagine. Meanwhile, as an annoying practical matter, Obama understands that he is a target of racists and that his personal security is more difficult to insure than practically any previous president. This ambiance is a minor problem compared to the array of potential and already-declared enemies within the country he now confronts. What we need to understand and repeat to ourselves daily is that President Obama has stepped in to undertake what is probably the most difficult set of tasks any president has ever undertaken ... excepting Lincoln, perhaps ... because of the great damage to government and justice done by Cheney and Bush. Obama surely knows that Tim Geithner must soon go. He is a class enemy and an embarrassment to his role in government. The quiet Geithner keeps on Wall Street is not going to survive the accusations of Black on Moyers' program ... and the endless ideological yammering of the tantrum-pundits. Larry Summers, who is up to his eyelids in collusions must be removed immediately. Immediately! For the world and the nation, confidence in this administration is even more important than confidence in Wall Street. Obama has not only survived but succeeded in Europe, so he must now understand that and now turn every fiber and synapse of his being into the vanquishing of the financial ponzi moguls and oligarch elites. It will be tough, but we will survive! JB
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James R. Brett, Ph.D. taught Russian History before (and during) a long stint as an academic administrator in faculty research administration. His academic interests are the modern period of Russian History since Peter the Great, Chinese (more...)

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