Big Banks, Government & The Mafia

The truth has a tendency to rip through layers of justification and rationalization and really opens the mind. Thanks to social media for circumventing the flow of information that normally gets filtered and even blocked by controlling media sources.

As mentioned in last weeks infographic, 90% of all media we hear, read, watch and listen to is controlled by six (6) Big Media companies. This means that information that we need to make informed decisions is controlled by someone in a boardroom, or regional office. They are choosing what information flows to us. This was not the intention behind journalism.

However, last night I read a Tweet from Bill Moyers’ program that got my attention, and one I believe will interest many others.

On Sunday (6/24), Bill Moyers was interviewing Yves Smith (Naked Capitalism) and Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone) about Big Finance. During the interview, both of the guests compared financial leaders like Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase to the mafia, and they meant it. Both have written books disclosing the level of corruption within our financial and political system. When asked for specifics, Matt replied:

They are the mafia because the vast criminality on Wall Street now is bribery, theft, fraud, bid-rigging, price-fixing, gambling, loan sharking. All of these things, it’s all organized.

I mean, the story I just wrote about, which was about the systematic rigging of municipal bond auctions, which affected every community in every state in the country and all the major banks were involved, including Chase.

They were rigging the auctions that were designed to create a fair rate of return on the investments that towns were getting on their money they borrowed for municipal bonds. And this is not like something that the mafia does. This is what the mafia does. The mafia has historically, it’s one of their staple businesses, is bid-rigging for construction or garbage or, you know, street cleaning services, whatever it is.

These banker’s are doing exactly the same thing. The only thing that’s different is there’s no violence involved. But their method of control is that they’re ubiquitous. They have this incredible political power that the mafia never had.

An interesting dialogue also took place with Yves Smith when she said that banks should operate like “utilities”. When asked for clarification, she said:

Banks, more than any other business, more than military contractors, live off the government. They depend on government back stopping. They exist only by way of government issued licenses, which if you had open entry you’d see much lower fees. And they get some confidence from the public from the fact that they are regulated. Oh, and the most important thing is they have access to the Federal Reserve and free money.

Yes, the Federal Reserve gives them free money, or our money, and people like Jamie Dimon and his friends give themselves millions in bonuses for scheming people out of billions of dollars. And when the house of cards come tumbling down, guess who gets to bail them out – “we the people”.

And who gets the negative consequences of the growing deficit? Guess who gets to take the hit? The poor and working poor get to suffer the negative consequences of the bankers like Jamie Dimon who made $23.1 million in 2011.

Toward the end of this thought-provoking interview, Bill Moyers draws a parallel between the characteristics of Dimon and his colleagues to sociopaths – “radically deprived of empathy”. Matt’s response was:

The financial destruction across the country, communities going bankrupt, children and soldiers being foreclosed on…that’s all because some guy was sitting up in a skyscraper in Wall Street and is knowingly selling some communities, some municipality, a fraudulent, toxic mortgage-backed security.

I mean, he knows that instrument is going to blow up in six months, a year. But he’s selling it to them anyway. But he doesn’t care, because he can’t see it, you know? I think in the eyes of a lot of these guys if they can’t see the effect, it doesn’t really exist. And to me, that’s classic sociopathic behavior when you’re blind, you’re willingly blind to the consequences.

This video is less than 27 minutes long, and worth every second to those willing to listen to plain simple truths about what is happening right in front of us, and gives us a sample into where this country is going unless we start having honest discussions and witness courageous representation from our elected Congressman, Senators, and President. They’ll have to turn their back on the money, and do what’s right.

However, based on the laughable inquiry into the unsworn testimony of Jamie Dimon by a select few Congressman and Senators, we’re not even close to having these hard-hitting, straightforward discussions.

To paraphrase Yves Smith, “It’s much easier to deny that our leaders our corrupt, than deal with the facts, and make some difficult decisions.”

You can also read the full transcript at Bill Moyers website.

During the video, Matt made a reference to the similarity between Greece and Jefferson County, Alabama. He wanted to clarify his comments in the video:

When I said that the Greek situation was similar to Jefferson County, what I meant was that both deals involved governments getting into complex swap deals to mask current debt problems and/or push them into the future. Obviously the specifics were different (Jefferson County was interest rate swaps, Greece was cross currency swaps), but the basic idea was similar, with similar results, i.e. both deals eventually blew up on politicians who inherited the messes created by predecessors in conjunction with unscrupulous investment banks.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.
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