These are naughty days for America, and not just because we are hell bent to prove that we can go deeper and longer that the Great Depression. We also want credit for producing the most profligate white-collar criminals that the world has ever known. Yesterday, it was Roman Catholic and Orthodox Jewish groups seeking to deny justice to victims of sexual predation suffered at the hands of their ordained priests and rabbis, respectively.
Last night, it was the spectacle of 70 year-old Bernie Madoff providing a 20 minute apology to the court during which be managed to implicate no one. Considering the amount of work involved in perpetrating a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, a single-handed effort would be pretty much impossible. He should therefore be commended, I suppose, for attempting to protect his family (conspirators), but that's a little like complimenting Hitler's love of dogs.
All week, Jim Cramer has been desperately defending himself against the investigative journalism performed by The Daily Show. (Is this really the future of journalism?) Despite a week of soft-pedaling his persona doing softball interviews, Cramer still looked pathetic, outmaneuvered and criminal when Jon Stewart showed clips from 2006 in which CNBC's cheerleader in chief talked about how he had manipulated the stock market. Cramer, of course, called his admission "inarticulate," a word that his attorneys have no doubt been drilling into his head all week.
This morning, The New York Times was good enough to catch me up on a story that The Wall Street Journal broke yesterday: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, appears to have both played the "black" card and unduly used her influence to help a minority-owned bank on which her husband was affiliated to get preferential treatment from TARP. Please note the word 'appearance'. No one has yet proved anything, but when a member of the House Committee on Financial Services neglects to mention that her husband is affiliated with a bank looking for a bailout and declines to comment on whether or not he is still a shareholder, it wreaks of probable cause.
What strikes me in all of this is not only the arrogance but also the ineffectual job being done by public relations and crisis counseling firms. If this is the best that any of them can do, then I would like to invite those of you who are on the verge of getting caught to drop me a line. I'm confident that I can do a better job teaching you how to explain the presence of your hand in the cookie jar than the people who are currently making a living doing spin control. True, I have no experience in the subject, but I have at turning misfortune - job loss and ADHD - into advantage. And let's face it: if Jon Stewart can be the best investigative journalist in America, then there's no reason why I can't be the best spin-doctor.