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Wall Street: A Blunder Or A Crime?

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The Pew Economic Policy Group reports the average US household lost $66,000 in stock holdings and $30,000 in real estate values from June 2008 through March 2009 due to the upheaval in world markets.

This brings us close to $100,000 per family. Against that backdrop, it's not hard to see the appeal of Larsson's hero Blomkvist, whose "contempt for his fellow financial journalists" the author encapsulates with stinging clarity:

"A bank director who blows millions on foolhardy speculations should not keep his job. A managing director who plays shell company games should do timeā€¦ The job of the financial journalist was to examine the sharks who created interest crises and speculated away the savings of small investors, to scrutinise company boards with the same merciless zeal with which political reporters pursue the tiniest steps out of line of ministers and members of Parliament."

This is why I identified with Blomkvists's fictional mission; in some ways it captured my own frustrations in a media world for which the 'c-word' - as in financial crime - seems must never be spoken.

The media failed us on the most crucial story of our era. Our newspapers and TV sources contributed to an economic disaster so cynically engineered even billionaire investor Jim Chanos was prompted to ask, "So where are the perp walks? How long does it take before we see any investigations? It boggles the mind that $150 billion is vaporisedā€¦ there haven't been any arrests, any indictments, nor any convictions at any major bank or at any of the government-owned financial institutions Fannie, Freddie and AIG."

I know how hard it is to alarm the public with mere facts. They don't have the context within which to interpret complicated stories. In 2006 I released the film In Debt We Trust, exposing illegal subprime scams and warning of the coming meltdown. It was well reviewed, but no mainstream TV outlet would air it.

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Systemic Failure in Leadership and Oversight - why are all those involved over the last decade not stripped publicly of their Pensions and Privileges?

Financial Crisis Was Avoidable, Report Says

UK, Wednesday January 26, 2011

Lucie McInerney, Sky News Online

The financial crisis that started in 2008 could have been avoided, a draft report by a US panel has concluded.

The report blamed poor decision making in Washington and financial institutions

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, put together to investigate the downturn, said it was due to poor decision-making in Washington and in financial firms.

The commissioners also apportioned blame to regulators for allowing financial institutions to "police themselves".

The report stated: "The crisis was the result of human action and inaction, not Mother Nature or computer models gone haywire.

"The captains of finance and the public stewards of our financial system ignored warnings and failed to question, understand and manage evolving risk within a system essential to the well-being of the American public."

The commission consists of six Democrat members and four Republicans and the report has only been endorsed by the Democrat majority.

The report listed both the former and current heads of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, as regulators who failed to enforce correct procedure in financial institutions.

It also named the government-backed enterprise Fannie Mae, which provides "liquidity and stability in the US housing and mortgage markets", as one of the "instances of governance breakdown and irresponsibility".

It is not clear what, if any, impact the report will have as US President Barack Obama introduced the Dodd-Frank law in the summer to enforce reform in financial regulation.

Edited by erranta
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