It Takes a Community
I’m frustrated. I’ve written numerous posts about the crimes committed by Wall Streeters in the run-up to the Great Crash of 2008, and nothing changes. All we get is a deafening silence from Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Attorneys Preet Bharara of New York, Jenny Durkhan of Seattle (home of Washington Mutual), and André Birotte Jr. of Los Angeles (home of Countrywide and New Century, among many others). It took a demand from Democrat Senator Carl Levin and Republican Senator Tom Coburn to get the Department of Justice to open an investigation into Goldman Sachs, and it only happened a few days ago, long after the publication of multiple reports about Goldman’s activities in the run-up to the Great Crash.
The Obama administration isn’t going to prosecute. Treasury Secretary Geithner is only interested in protecting his banker friends and their leech business. John Walsh of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency takes every opportunity to stomp on State banking enforcement. At the federal level, there is a wall of resistance to the idea that rich people should be held accountable for anything.
It’s frustrating. Every time I write one of these posts, a few thousand people read them. Every time Roger Lowenstein (Bloomberg) or Andrew Leonard (Salon) or Floyd Norris (New York Times) explains that the Great Crash was everyone’s fault, so no one will be prosecuted, they get 100 times that many readers, and those readers are the people who have the power to affect the decisions of prosecutors.
One person can’t fix this. This is a job for a community of committed, angry and well-informed people. A community like Firedoglake. I need you to join the FDL Member Association. Click here to learn about our program for sustaining and strengthening this community as a group of activists.
There are things we can do as a group. Here is one idea: getting states to prosecute. It appears that Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York, isn’t afraid of either the limp Geithner or the hostile Walsh. He has requested documents related to the securitization business of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley in what I hope will be the first step towards a criminal prosecution.
But one person can’t do it. If you call your State AG alone, it won’t work. You don’t know your AG, and your AG doesn’t care what you think about legal matters. Some assistant will note your displeasure and pat you on the head and tell you to run along and leave the hard work to the experts.
It takes a community. If we had a group of 10 or 15 lawyers across Tennessee, we would be able to reach out to our AG, Bob Cooper, and make a serious ask. Some of us would know Cooper, and he would answer our call. Most of us would be vaguely known to Cooper. Others would know friends of his. They could call the friends, discuss the matter, and see if they would call Cooper, or at least allow our person to mention their names. Others would know staff people and could call them. We all talk about Schneiderman’s investigation. That puts the matter into perspective. Then, we ask other Tennesseans to call and ask if there is an investigation into the losses incurred by the Tennessee pension funds from garbage-stuffed real estate mortgage-backed securities. The ground would be prepared, and the calls will be noted more intently. People write letters to the editor. People call business reporters, like Getahn Ward of the Tennessean and ask him to look into the matter.
Other people call the Nashville DA, Torry Johnson. Again, we start with lawyers, and then when non-lawyers call, the groundwork is laid, and Johnson listens.
That kind of concerted action has a chance of success. But it doesn’t happen without a community. The community doesn’t happen by chance either. FDL has the strategists, the planners, and the expertise necessary for this kind of effort. We need you, not just for the money, but for the activism.
Please join us and support the FDL community. Lets get something done. Together. (Or, if you prefer to speak directly with one of us about the membership program, call us anytime at 202-709-7498.)