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America 2012: Justice for All? Really?

Posted by Larry Doyle on August 17, 2012 7:36 AM |

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Really? Why is it that more and more people who deeply love America now seriously doubt that justice for all is truly practiced? What would our founding fathers think?

As each and every financial scandal comes and goes (don’t make me list them, there are too many) without meaningful justice being dispensed, the sense of rage in our nation may simmer but the despair only deepens. 

The overwhelming lack of confidence in our elected officials, regulators, and judicial system to deal fairly and appropriately with financial scoundrels comes with a very real price. We all pay in terms of diminished trust in our markets and confidence in our economy. Nobody in Washington or elsewhere should be surprised that investors and consumers alike are more concerned with protecting their principal than committing it, as is necessary to generate meaningful economic growth.

As case in point, I welcome submitting and highlighting a commentary from a longstanding reader:

Larry,

It’s become painfully clear that NOTHING happens to the big guys as long as they are making campaign contributions. Corzine at MF Global… off the hook ($1.2 billion), JP Morgan…. off the hook. Barclays….off the hook. In the case of Madoff, all the insiders, Picower, JP Morgan, Shana Madoff, the kids, et al, off the hook.

The SEC goes as far as to admit that they are virtually powerless against the big boys. It seems that the only people that are ever held accountable are the VICTIMS of the wrong doing by the big guys (see above) that are stealing their money.

I believe that this country has hit the tipping point where big money buys the legalized victimization of the general population; those naive enough to place their trust in the system.

As a Madoff victim, I have a front row seat to the levels of corruption in government. It goes from the very bottom (local zoning boards) to the very top (the Supreme Court). The corruption isn’t always quid pro quo (at the highest level anyway), it is often the acquiescence to the most expeditious politcally non-interuptive end. An example is the way the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal on the definition of “net equity.”

With the appeal left in place, a customer of a SIPC membered, SEC approved broker, does not know if there is insurance until AFTER the crime has occurred and the attorney for the insurance compay decides whether the insurance company wants to pay it or not (do insurance companies EVER want to pay)?

Perhaps you saw that today the courts agreed that even AIG, which offered fraud insurance in their homeowners’ policies for EXACTLY the Madoff scenario, does not have to pay the stinking $30,000 to their few clients (probably less than 50) who have that coverage (I was one of them).

Yes Larry, from my “front seat” perch, this country looks pretty similar to Cuba and Venezuela.

I don’t know where we have any room to talk about justice.

Let this be the legacy of all those in Washington — on both sides of the aisle — and elsewhere who have presided over the destruction of any sense of fair play and trust in America.

Navigate accordingly.

Larry Doyle

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

  • Carol

    Good Morning Larry,

    I first want to thank you for all that you do to help us understand the finance world so as to better help ourselves and our families.

    Have you seen the latest that the SEC is planning on doing in hopes the public will not realize? So much financial stupidity, greed and no regard for law that it is ruining our nation.

    Please take a look at the article “Quelle Surprise! SEC Plans to Make the World Safer for Fraudsters, Push Through JOBS Act Con-Artist-Friendly Solicitation Rules” written by and posted today byYves Smith with documentation on nakedcapitalism.com (Naked Capitalism)

  • Andrew

    I think the Comrad Corzine debacle says a good deal about where our priorities are in the U.S. I share another reader’s sentiment, I, too, am speechless.

  • Glenn Greenwald position is that although US has always been corrupt, over last 40 years we have been on a downward trajectory in terms of abandoning the ideal of rule-of-law, or equality before the law. The first 3rd of this video addresses exactly that issue: http://www.capitalismwithoutfailure.com/2012/08/glenn-greenwald-two-tier-legal-system.html

    Of course, it all comes back to crony capitalism. Money dictates policy, legislation, oversight, and results in utter lack of accountability.

    I do have a project aimed at confronting this situation. I will be in touch with you about it, Larry.

  • Jay

    I’ve thought that thought many times. . .

  • Rick

    Larry,

    Assume that the level of fraud and criminality is the same as previous years and the disclosure of this stuff is the thing that is different.

    There is no longer a leash on the journalists who want to probe the capitalist side of the equation while the leash is extremely short on those who want to look and the other side of the crony capitalism story, the government side.

    Why do they do it? That hasn’t changed. The driver for the media is the same in both games…fame, fortune, peer group accolades and self righteousness. But with money concentrating due to the ability of the super wealthy (Soros, Lewis, Sandler, Trump, Buffet, Corzine, and on and on) then the easy prey are in the private sector.

    An afterthought…on re reading…Thycides said that while everything in life changes, man’s nature does not…..

    To see how all this plays out in the end look to Russia where megbillionaires end up in jail and Putin & Co. Gets all the stuff. Or how about the Saudis who have built a class system that for now protects them and a 4th estate that is only a wisp of wind that serves the interests of the haves not the have nots….

    Milton Friedman….he’d tell u as would Sowell that the adage that power corrupts etc etc could be interchanged with the words ‘money corrupts’ for what else is it if not power. Only look to academia and the mega sallaries there for folks who have coerced the system, but take no capilatist risk (the lying Cherokee takes down 400k, teaches two classes a week…3 or 6 hours,not sure, and her hubby is also on the harvard dole)
    .
    And that’s where faith and conscience and our adherence to His law comes in. As our culture moves away from Him, so too does our social mores and charitable instincts.

    But culture, which in our case as de Toqueville noted, emanates from our churches (and synagogues) and schools which the barbarians stole from us about 50 years ago to our eternal shame…

  • Small BD

    If the ‘system’ were fair, good ole Mitt would not be in a 13% tax bracket while his healthcare is subsidized by hard working tax payers. We would not be hearing excuses like: “…all this concern over my taxes is preventing us from discussing the substantive issues, such as curing cancer or establishing world peace…”

    The above is only reflective of my opinions. The above quote is fictional.

  • Jay

    Thirteen Techniques for Truth Suppression

    by David Martin

    Strong, credible allegations of high-level criminal activity can bring down a government. When the government lacks an effective, fact-based defense, other techniques must be employed. The success of these techniques depends heavily upon a cooperative, compliant press and a mere token opposition party.

    Dummy up. If it’s not reported, if it’s not news, it didn’t happen.

    Wax indignant. This is also known as the “how dare you?” gambit.

    Characterize the charges as “rumors” or, better yet, “wild rumors.” If, in spite of the news blackout, the public is still able to learn about the suspicious facts, it can only be through “rumors.”

    Knock down straw men. Deal only with the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Even better, create your own straw men.

    Make up wild rumors and give them lead play when you appear to debunk all the charges, real and fanciful alike.

    Call the skeptics names like “conspiracy theorist,” “nut,” “ranter,” “kook,” “crackpot,” and of course, “rumor monger.”

    You must then carefully avoid fair and open debate with any of the people you have thus maligned.

    Impugn motives. Attempt to marginalize the critics by suggesting strongly that they are not really interested in the truth but are simply pursuing a partisan political agenda or are out to make money.

    Invoke authority. Here the controlled press and the sham opposition can be very useful.

    Dismiss the charges as “old news.”

    Come half-clean. This is also known as “confession and avoidance” or “taking the limited hang-out route.” This way, you create the impression of candor and honesty while you admit only to relatively harmless, less-than-criminal “mistakes.” This stratagem often requires the embrace of a fall-back position quite different from the one originally taken.

    Characterize the crimes as impossibly complex and the truth as ultimately unknowable.

    Reason backward, using the deductive method with a vengeance. With thoroughly rigorous deduction, troublesome evidence is irrelevant. For example: We have a completely free press. If they know of evidence that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) had prior knowledge of the Oklahoma City bombing they would have reported it. They haven’t reported it, so there was no prior knowledge by the BATF. Another variation on this theme involves the likelihood of a conspiracy leaker and a press that would report it.

    Require the skeptics to solve the crime completely.

    Change the subject. This technique includes creating and/or reporting a distraction.






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