Sheriff of Wall Street Kept Hands Off Top Officials
by Stephen Lendman
Wall Street crooks make money the old-fashioned way - stealing it through fraud, grand theft, market manipulation, front-running them, pump-and-dump schemes, scamming investors, bribing politicians, and having its executives in top administration posts making policies facilitating chicanery.
Compared to major Street firms, Bernie Madoff was small-time. So are most other financial swindlers. Key ones plot in Wall Street board rooms, operating unaccountably, making their own rules.
When caught red-handed defrauding customers, at most wrist-slap fines are imposed. No top executives are prosecuted, none imprisoned, none touched by the so-called sheriff of Wall Street - US attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, praised for fearlessly prosecuting financial wrongdoing, targeting smaller fish, not the biggest ones.
He was fired for not resigning when asked, along with 45 other US attorneys, Obama administration holdovers, Trump wanting his own people installed - nothing controversial about it, the way all US administrations operate.
Yet media scoundrel ruckus made over his dismissal was deafening over the weekend, part of relentless Trump bashing for the wrong reasons.
Portraying Bharara as "the scourge of Wall Street" belies reality. Asked why he didn't prosecute top executives involved in the mortgage-backed securities scam, he dismissively said "if we're not bringing a certain kind of case, it's because the evidence is not there."
"(I)t's very difficult (filing charges) if a bank president has in his hands a letter or opinion from a law firm or accountant, saying if you do X, Y and Z when you sell these mortgage-backed securities, you're good."
"Now, it may make you angry. But if you have the opinion, it is a very difficult thing (for a prosecutor) when they say: 'I asked my lawyers to do the best they could to tell me what I'm supposed to do.' "
Most likely, Bharara ignored executive suite crime to have friends in high places help advance his career, perhaps to US attorney general or a Supreme Court seat.
Targeting deep-pocketed administration Wall Street friends would wreck his chances, including in the private sector if it's his eventual career choice.
In the wake of the 2008-09 financial/economic crisis, no top Wall Street executives were charged, prosecuted, convicted or imprisoned for grand theft.
They're free to steal again. They run America by controlling money, credit and debt. They own and operate the misnamed Federal Reserve, recycle their executives in and out of Washington, strip-mine economies for profit, buy politicians like toothpaste, and get what they want at the public's expense - free from accountability.
Goldman Sachs runs Trump's economic and financial program. Wall Street giants want crushing neoliberal harshness continued, America more thirdworldized than already, pillaged for profit, remaining New Deal/Great Society programs ended.
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and public pensions are prime targets. So-called "creeping normalcy" is a way to make major changes seem normal and ordinary.
Class war in America has been ongoing for decades, especially since the neoliberal 90s, benefitting business and rich elites, harming most others.
Middle America is targeted for elimination. Main Street Depression conditions persist. Militarism, favoritism, waste, fraud and other abuses benefit Wall Street, war-profiteers and other special interests at the public's expense.
Powerful monopolies and oligopolies control production, commerce and finance, exploiting nations and people for profit.
Predatory capitalism is too corrupted to fix. Institutionalized inequality reflects it. Corporate crooks are free to do what they want, especially Wall Street bosses.
Prosecutors like Bharara refuse to challenge their criminality. America heads toward becoming a ruler/serf society because nothing is done to stop it.
Finance is warfare by other means - destroying fundamental rights, politicians complicit with monied interests against the general welfare.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.