Occupy Wall Street protest in October 2011 in Chicago. Photo by Chicago Man.
Some Twitter goof named Louis Leo IV, whose profile says
Trial Lawyer, Blogger & Founder of @PplOverPolitics #POPnetwork http://PeopleOverPolitics.Org - Fuck The #NDAARuling! Take Action: http://STOPNDAA.Org
has challenged me on Twitter:
This is over the pieces I have done here, here , here and here challenging the establishment geek opinion about Aaron Swartz, the "Internet freedom fighter" (suicide bomber?) who committed suicide rather than facing six months of jail on charges of computer fraud and tampering AKA hacking.
BTW, I've signed petitions of concern about some aspects of the NDAA, but I find a lot of the leftist shrieking about it to be way overblown. Anyone who writes "people over politics" on their web site lets me know that they favour exactly the kind of "people's politics" that communism was known for. No thanks.
Oh, nonsense. Aaron Swartz deserved to be jailed exactly the six months offered him in the plea-bargain, and whether or not "banksters" deserve to be jailed is a matter for the courts -- which of course law-faring lawyers like this aren't really ultimately interested in, because they favour revolutionary "justice".
This is the kind of cultic thinking you can expect from Anonymous, WikiLeaks and the Swartz fanboyz but it's a completely skewed notion of what real justice is all about.
First of all, the proposition doesn't have to be mutually exclusive. For example, you could have justice for the "banksters," let's say, and yet Swartz could still be guilty of computer hacking and rightly face a sentence -- and as we know, even his big guru, law professor Lawrence Lessig believes he "crossed a line".
But in fact, it isn't true that the "banksters" are never prosecuted. This is one of the big lies that Anonymous constntly purveys on Twitter, and it's worth going through and debunking it here.
First of all, let me point out that I don't have any felt need to keep "banksters" out of jail, if they are guilty. My family lost a condo to Wells Fargo. When my mother died, we discovered she had missed her last payment. We offered to pay it until we could figure out what to do, and they wouldn't accept our payments until after probate which actually took years. Meanwhile, the one-bedroom assisted-living apartment went into foreclosure, and we spent money on lawyers trying to wrest it back. Finally we got it in hand and re-financed it because we had all these other bills to pay on the estate. We tried renting it and couldn't for love nor money -- the housing market collapsed. We ended up getting some fraction of the mortgage for rent; we tried selling it and there were absolutely no takers, not even for a pittance because in the strange mathematics of the recession, new condos were being built and people preferred buying those. We happened to be in ground zero for foreclosures...
Now, why didn't I write a weepy petition against Wells Fargo on changes.org like other people? Why don't I wail about "banksters"? Well, perhaps things could be changed about Wells Fargo -- and when they invaded my neighbourhood here in New York by buying out some other smaller bank, I completely avoided them, but I can't really blame "the Man" for our family's troubles.
Between us, we didn't have the $2000 a month to keep this property going until better times -- isn't that our problem? We're poor -- but we also made choices. Other things were more important than this.
More to the point, why did my parents have to spend their hard-earned savings over more than 40 years of marriage on this condo that they didn't even live in most of the year? My parents were not rich; they were lower middle-class workers who fell out of the middle class, in fact, when my father was laid off from his big company job at Xerox with thousands of other workers in Rochester, NY in the 1970s. They had a house whose mortgage was finally paid and they sold it and took an apartment to enable themselves to travel and do other things. Maybe they should have rented in Florida, too? This wasn't much of an "investment" it turned out -- it was kind of a rip-off. Was it beyond their means? And so on. Life is complicated. "Bankers" are not always to blame. The guy who sold them the assisted-living arrangement wasn't evil; he was their friend and neighbour with whom they likely played golf. All over America this story repeated itself in different forms, with richer or poorer people, but it had to do with the American dream, not greed and evil in every instance.
I simply refuse to accept life as black and white as the Occupy Wall Street goons and Anonymous loons do.
And here Leo claims, like others that "no" people are prosecuted. Nonsense. Here are a bunch of cases just by Googling -- beyond Madoff, who is the textbook case.
Oh, if you Google "Wall Street investors jailed" you won't find it because the propaganda pages have tied up Google search results, but try "Wall Street investors sentenced":
o A former investment manager known as Wall Street's "bad boy" was sentenced Thursday to 12 years in prison.
Ross Mandell was sentenced by Judge Paul Crotty for his conviction at trial last summer on conspiracy and securities fraud charges. The government said he defrauded U.S. and European investors of $140 million and asked that he be sent away for life.
o Raj Rajaratnam, a billionaire investor, once ran the Galleon Group, which became one of the world’s largest hedge funds. On May 11, 2011, he was found guilty of fraud and conspiracy, becoming the most prominent figure convicted in the government’s crackdown on insider trading on Wall Street.
o Two former hedge fund managers were found guilty on Monday of fraud and conspiracy, the latest convictions in the government’s campaign to eliminate illegal conduct on Wall Street trading floors.
After two full days of deliberations, a jury convicted Anthony Chiasson, a co-founder of Level Global Investors, and Todd Newman, a former portfolio manager at Diamondback Capital Management. The two had denied charges that they participated in a conspiracy that made more than $70 million illegally trading technology stocks.
o This past Friday, a judge in New York sentenced Mark Kurland, co-founder of New Castle Partners, a $1 billion hedge fund investment firm with offices in Manhattan, to two years and three months in prison for his role in an insider-trading scheme. U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero also ordered Kurland to forfeit the $900,000 he received through his illegal trades.
o A former top Wall Street executive who gave inside information on bank stocks to an X-rated movie actress was sentenced today to eight months in prison.
James McDermott Jr., 49, turned toward more than 50 spectators at his sentencing and apologized to his wife and two daughters.
“Where I see weakness and cowardice, they saw strength and courage,” he said in a firm voice, which had become a fixture on TV financial programs when he was chief executive of the New York investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.
o Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. director Rajat Gupta is the highest-profile of more than 70 defendants convicted of insider trading in New York federal court in the past three years.
But this month he will likely receive a more lenient sentence than the 11-year-prison term given to Raj Rajaratnam, to whom Mr. Gupta provided his illegal leaks, legal experts say.
The sentence may have reverberations beyond the 63-year-old Mr. Gupta, a former chief of consulting giant McKinsey & Co. It will be widely watched in executive suites nationwide because it will be among the first handed down to a major corporate figure in the recent insider-trading crackdown. Previous sentences have largely involved traders, lawyers, lower-rung corporate employees and others.
Even LIBOR, the stuff of endless libertarian and leftist conspiracy theories, has been punished:
Two former UBS traders have been charged with manipulating international interest rates, and their ex-employers have agreed to pay a total of $1.5 billion in fines, penalties and disgorgement, the FBI said. The case involves manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate, a key factor used in derivatives trading, at UBS Securities Japan Co. Ltd. The company is a subsidiary of Swiss banking giant UBS AG. Officials said two traders - British citizen Tom Alexander William Hayes, 33, and Roger Darin, 41, of Switzerland - are both charged with conspiracy, while Hayes is also charged with wire fraud and price fixing. The FBI said an international investigation revealed that Hayes allegedly began the scheme in 2006, when assigned to the UBS Tokyo office.
So wait. With all these "banksters" of Wall Street -- there more than 70 defendants convicted of insider trading in New York federal court in the past three years -- why is Occupy Wall Street, Anonymous and the other goons still baying for their heads?
It's almost impossible to find out the truth when you search on Google because of their propaganda.
Chief among these agitpropsters has been Matt Taibi, formerly of the eXile, who has always been a big copyleftist and fan of Anonymous tactics against people the copylefists hate. In Rolling Stone, he published an article asking "why the Wall Street traders" weren't sentenced -- but of course they eventually were -- he was just impatient and wanted to string them from the lamp-posts like the other Bolsheviks.
Liberal financial news sites kept asking "why no one was jailed" even when people were jailed in reality.
So what was the problem? Maybe Gupta and Rajaratnam just aren't white enough for them as Indians. They don't fit the stereotype they needed of some rich, WASP-y white guy whom they'd like to nail to the wall?
Or maybe these other guys, even being white and rich, just aren't famous enough? What's the problem?
Well, they want to have certain symbolic figures that they think symbolize those whom they believe is responsible for the recession -- like Jon Corzine.
The libertarians bay even louder for his head than the Occupy Wall Street kids, because he was a Democratic governor of New Jersey along with being CEO of Goldman, Sachs. Then as CEO of MF Global Inc., he lost $1.6 billion of customer money. Yet you hear more from people who didn't lose investments than those who did because he's a whipping boy for their frustration with cronyism.
I have no special feeling for or against Corzine because he has just never been relevant to me. If someone has the goods on him, let him be prosecuted. If you think he's been let off scot-free, then gather the evidence and campaign for his prosecution. Who could stop you? It's not like you're in Russia where you could end up jailed or dead for consumer rights or anti-corruption activism.
But what is REALLY the story here? Is it REAAAAALY about justice?
I don't think so. I think that only if the head of Citibank or something was put away in jail for 50 years would the mob be happy -- and likely not even then.
Because they aren't really about due process, justice and the rule of law -- they are for exploiting the notion of legalism in law-faring -- abusing law to try to fight political battles -- in service to their socialist/leftist/anarchist ideology.
That's what Leo is all about; that's what most twitterers on this subject are all about.
Eric Schurenberg of CBS summed up this problem very well in an article on CBS. Now, for the OWS set, CBS will be evil imperialist Amerikan TV borg that they will think of as corrupt and hand-in-hand with Wall Street. Nonsense. TV as an industry is dying and suffering losses. And there's nothing wrong with making media a business anyway. Hey, how about your friend Al Gore who sold his little-watched lefty Current TV to the Arabs at Al Jazeera?! He is now richer than Romney with that little caper.
Here's what Schurenberg writes:
In a front-page story in this morning's New York Times, Gretchen Morgenson asks the question that has occurred to almost everyone with a pulse since 2008: Why, two years after a horrific financial crisis, have no financial executives gone to jail? Morgenson contrasts the handling of this disaster with the wave of prosecutions that followed the savings and loan fiasco in the 1990s and sent more than 800 bank officials to jail.
In pursuing the inquiry, Morgenson follows a long line of journalists, some of whom have reached damning conclusions. Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, for one, blames the limp law enforcement on cozy relationships in the financial industry between regulators and the regulated. William Greider in The Nation, attributes the absence of perp walks to prosecutors' reluctance at this point in the economic recovery to bring down weakened financial firms with a civil death sentence, like that administered to Arthur Andersen over the Enron scandal. Guilty bankers get a get-out-of-jail card because, as Alain Sherter of BNET puts it, they're "too big to prosecute."
There is one other simple explanation, however. The bankers are probably not criminals.
Wall Street firms' shareholders should have fired the executives who were asleep to the risks their firms were taking and disgraced them, not rewarded them. They should start now to rein the grotesque pay packages that led the shareholders' stewards to take reckless risks. And yes, if executives committed "massive fraud," they should be tried. But despite the fury a nation justfiably feels towards financial executives, criminal fraud is not what seems to have happened-at least not clearly enough to convince a jury.
And that's the size of it. They cannot be found guilty because capitalism is not a crime. Wheeling and dealing on Wall Street is not a crime. It is already regulated. You can argue about how much more it should be regulated, but Occupy Wall Street isn't concerned to keep Wall Street as an institution; they want to dismantle it, and as one of their avowed Commie professors said, they want to "take their stuff" because they think it needs to be forcibly "redistributed". Like Bolsheviks.
I'm completely uninterested in that politicized and revolutionary approach. Even if OWS seized Wall Street's assets, jailed all the investors or even killed them, and redistributed their wealth, it wouldn't bring back my parents' condo. Hell, even if they said they'd send me a check for my parent's condoor the debts we incurred trying to save it paying lawyers and such, I'd tell them to go fuck themselves. That is not how you get justice -- through violence, coercion, destruction.