“Nobody Committed Any Crimes” (Again)

Remember, once again, our esteemed Libertarian Presidential front-runner’s proclamation (along with President Obama’s) view is that….

The problem with this position is that almost-literally every day we find out more about actual crimes that are either alleged or proved, which leads one to question exactly why any politician or candidate (who, incidentally, requires votes from the people to obtain and hold office) would take this position when clearly the common man is the one who gets repeatedly hosed by this behavior.

Two examples from the last 24 hours – first, Germany’s President has stepped down:

BERLIN — German President Christian Wulff resigned Friday, a day after prosecutors asked parliament to lift his immunity to clear the way for a full investigation into his personal financial dealings.

This appears to stem from an alleged ~$600,000+ loan that was given to him under possible improper circumstances, leading one to question whether it was effectively a bribe.  Of course in order to receive a bribe someone must give one, which is the question I’ve been asking now since the Jefferson County Alabama sewer system derivative debacle came to light and actual prosecutions of bribe takers took place — where are the prosecutions of the bribe givers and those who funded them?

Then there’s this, also from today:

A group of traders and brokers successfully managed to manipulate an interest rate that affects loans around the world, one of the banks being investigated has told regulators.

In a court filing in Ottawa, Canada’s Competition Bureau said a bank it didn’t identify has told the agency’s investigators that people involved in the alleged scheme “were able to move” interest rates.

What’s being discussed here is the Japanese Libor rate.  These international lending rate “quotes” are supposed to be set by actual submitted rates from the member banks.  The allegation is that financial institutions colluded together to manipulate the quotes.

Why is this important?  Because over $300 trillion in derivative contracts are pegged off these rates, an alleged market mechanism, and the derivative exposures multiply moves in the quoted rates by insane percentages due to the leverage involved.  Consequentially, being able to know what the quoted rate will be before it is posted means the institutions in question can literally steal from their customers by entering into contracts at a given strike with knowledge of where it will subsequently trade.

This is functionally identical to playing blackjack against a dealer who has a stacked deck.  He may not always succeed in obtaining the cards he wishes due to the vagaries of the cut and imperfections of his ability to stack the cards, but over time you are going to get robbed, as all he has to do is shift a decent percentage of the hands toward him and any hope you had of a fair gamble at the table is destroyed.

What is being alleged here folks are crimes, not “mistakes”, just as is filing robosigned documents or foreclosing on someone’s house without actually having a clean and documented interest in the note in question.

Greed is not illegal, but knowingly-false representations almost always are, just as it would be unlawful were I to sell you a box allegedly containing a dozen chocolates that in fact had two chocolates in it and ten dog turds painted with a thin veneer of chocolate so as to appear, on casual inspection, to be “Grade AAA” chocolate.

Were I to do the latter I would go to prison, and correctly so, for criminal fraud.

These are crimes and they deserve indictment and prosecution, not only of the firms involved but of the executives on a personal basis that allowed these practices to take place over extended periods of time and obtained, as part of their compensation, the fruits of this poison tree.

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