Wall Street, like the mafia, but more ambitious


38 Responses to “Wall Street, like the mafia, but more ambitious”

  1. Kimmo says:

    Hey Cory, I know incandescent is a pretty good word to describe Taibbi when he talks about the fucking banksters et al, but IIRC, you seem to be wearing it out a bit.

    How about, I dunno, volcanic or something?

    Hey – spitting brimstone.

    As we should all be, over these society-hijacking cunts.

  2. Ian Wood says:

    And Rolling Stone will certainly bring great justice.

    Forgive my cynicism (or don’t, whatever, nobody ever does), but I’ll get enthusiastic when any individual with any actual power who participated in any of these monumental systemic scams pays the slightest price for perpetrating them. When. Not before.

    • Exactly, as long as these banks and their lobbyists have the cash to influence the power brokers in DC, nobody big is going down for any of these crimes no matter how blatant.

      • B E Pratt says:

         Hey! They don’t really need lobbyists. They are their own regulators! Nice work if you can get it.

      • malindrome says:

        Well, it only works when the financial chicanery in question is actually criminal.  Unfortunately, far too much of it absolutely legal.

        • Wreckrob8 says:

          Many things are legal because you cannot legislate against everything undesirable. Everything legal is not necessarily moral or ethical.

          • Daniel Smith says:


          • malindrome says:

            Right, and the power of money in the political system means that socially harmful activity will probably remain unregulated.  So it appears we’re doomed not to learn from history but to repeat it …

          • foobar says:

            Sure you can. Tie corporate charters to acting in the public good. If they’re found to have not done so, revoke the charter automatically.

            It doesn’t even have to disrupt the business. The government can hold it for income, or auction it off.

          • Wreckrob8 says:

            In that case fuck history. We need forms of narrative that we can learn from.

          • Wreckrob8 says:

            @foobar and while lawyers are getting rich defining the public good who gets fucked by corporate greed?

    • taj1f says:

      Absolutely right. They reap billions in ill-gotten profits, pay “mere” millions in fines (which are doubtless prefigured into the “price of doing business) and walk away scot free. Unless We The People can figure out a way to get the money out of politics, and soon, the “American Experiment” will be truly over.

      • Nothing will change as long as  Two-Party Patriots insist that my refusal to vote for the people who make this possible is somehow a bad thing because some Democratic crook may lose to a Republican crook. People get the government they deserve because they insist on re-electing it. There is NO other reason.

    • BarBarSeven says:

      ??? You know, someone has to report this stuff. If the New York Times is not going to do it, then why not Rolling Stone?

  3. Man, where is Robocop when you need him?

  4. αlexander says:

    Thanks for linking to the print version of the article. 

  5. Mitchell Glaser says:

    Tip of the iceberg. Or, possibly a more apt metaphor: there’s never just one cockroach.

    Large institutions of all kinds perpetrate this level of financial rape on us: banks, insurance companies, utilities, oil companies, hospitals… the list goes on and on. Their main weapon is representative government, an inherently corrupt system.

    • BarBarSeven says:

      Yeah, but if you follow the general global economic trend, this kind of behavior just won’t last. It’s slowly dying. Unlike the “Great Depression” this is a slow equalization that I think will help rebalance things in the long run.

  6. Alexander Juhasz says:

    I would just like to mention the awesomeness of the illustrations that go with Taibbi’s RS articles. He’s my dad though.

  7. Hollow says:

    Who said conspiracies don’t exist?

  8. Glen Able says:

    “As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a banker.”

  9. Daniel Smith says:

    Create an atmosphere where the least ethical behavior generates the greatest financial rewards, and in which the “legislators” responsible for writing laws routinely beg for table scraps from the richest people….what could possibly go wrong?

    • Lemoutan says:

      I’m not sure they regard it as ‘going wrong’ when it does exactly what they want. These people don’t actually believe they’re evil. They believe they’re OK guys.

  10. Rayonic says:

    Browsing through the case file ( http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/f261600/261602.htm ), it looks like the municipal bond issuers followed IRS regulations correctly, got defrauded anyway, and now the fraudsters are on trial — albeit years later.

    In other words the system is working as designed.

    The IRS regulations could probably be tightened up, or the bidding process made more open. Harsher penalties could help too, though if they’re too harsh it could scare buyers away from municipal bond reinvestment entirely.

    No system is perfect though. The best way to reduce this kind of fraud on the public is to reduce the amount of money involved and the number of times it changes hands.

  11. echar says:

    Banksters! I’lll let you off easy.  Sharlotte “Grandma Suicide” sells a kit, use them for their intended purpose and you are forgiven.

  12. msbpodcast says:

    This type of collusion by the banksters is what brought down the world’s economy to new depression levels and its still happening. Its really a small cabal of people acting through their minions, the hundreds of thousands of employees of banking institutions, to steal the very land you cumber.

    The banksters lent/borrowed trillions from each other and stuck the people of the entire world with the tab.

    Ask the Europeans where all that money went.

    Ask the average American enterprise or individual where the trillions of dollars of valuation disappeared.

    The answer is that it didn’t exist in the first place except in our minds. Just like the supposed debt doesn’t exist except as fluxes of magnetic oxyde on some disks in the banksters databases.

    The Acropolis, the Coliseum, the Sagrada Familia are all up for sale to raise capital, who’s buying? The transportation systems, the highways and byways, the rivers the railroads and the lands they occupy, are all up for sale, at the buyer’s price. Now that they’re interested in.

    This is a further theft by the banksters who want to own it all.

    The mafia, and criminal states, will threaten you with physical violence.

    The banksters just hand you a pen.

    They won’t be happy until the rules of inheritance are rewritten so that you can inherit your parents your parents/siblings debt. (Of course corporations can just be disolved without attaching liens on the management’s property.)

    • R_Young says:

      I’m a huge fan of your work!  All the italics and bold and ‘cumber’ and conspiracy…  oh!  it makes me giddy!  I feel like the world has both a single great question *and* an answer!

  13. Amelia_G says:

    FWIW, Dan Ariely says he recently tried to test who was more likely to cheat, Wall Street people or Congressional aides in DC. He says the banksters were significantly more likely to cheat. However, he pointed out, the DC subjects were mere aides.
    I haven’t read the new book yet, but at his talk Ariely didn’t mention testing mafiosis in his cheating/corruption study. Wouldn’t it be great if his cross-cultural cheating study managed to include US, Italian and Russian mafiosos. And Somali pirates.

    • malindrome says:

      If I recall correctly, in “Predictably Irrational”, Ariely found that students were significantly more likely to cheat when they knew/believed that the chances of getting caught were small.  (For example, when they graded their own papers.)  

      Interestingly, they also cheated more when they were primed to think in terms of gain-or-loss, rather then right-or-wrong.  Simply asking people to write as many of the ten commandments (or any other moral code, really) before being presented with an opportunity to cheat made a big difference in the incidence of bad behavior.  Maybe Wall Street types should have to swear a version of the Hippocratic Oath?

  14. sgtdoom says:

    Fantastic post, Cory, great stuff and much appreciated.

    To really grasp the historical context of this all, and to better understand real history as opposed to so much revisionism crapola we’ve been exposed to, might I humbly suggest reading the following brilliant — and short — book by Prof. Donald Gibson:

    Battling Wall Street:  The Kennedy Presidency

    Prof. Gibson presents and exhaustively researched explanation of how we got here, and who those Wall Street banksters are intimately connected.


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