No matter how hard some politicians and press try to persuade us otherwise, the evidence shows that the banking community is rife with unpunished fraudsters. Its political influence, however, apparently remains undiminished.
None of this will come easy. But this report lights the way. It should be repeated in city after city, in state after state, so that everyone can see just how Wall Street is impoverishing the richest country on Earth.
Local politicians are taking on the big banks. Candidates for major office are adopting populist themes. But it starts at the bottom, not the top, with activists who engage with and crystallize the public's desire for justice.
Here are some notes from a nation in which the wealthy and powerful increasingly act with near impunity and the lesser off just have to "suck on this" -- in the immortal and unwittingly apt phrase of one of our elite pundits.
JPMorgan Chase loves using its research department to push its agenda that puts them in the optimist camp. But take a look at their methodology. The scope of losses gets drastically larger if you change a few arbitrary assumptions.
When bankers think they can get away with rampant fraud and get paid very well to do it, they'll do it. Robert Rubin's best defense is that he really isn't all that bright -- he's either an idiot or a criminal.
Wachovia Bank is accused of laundering $380 billion in Mexican drug cartel money, and is expected to emerge with a slap on the wrist thanks to a government policy which protects megabanks from criminal charges.