By Jeffrey Scott Shapiro
I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for Wall Street at this point.
That’s because I don’t feel the banking industry has acted ethically or even legally in many of the transactions that have occurred during my lifetime.
As a former Washington, D.C. prosecutor, I am disappointed in the United States government’s lack of commitment to prosecuting white-collar crimes more vigorously, and as a lawyer I am bothered that some attorneys have aided and abetted the unethical and criminal practices taking place in the financial sector.
As an American and human being, I am appalled at what people in finance have done to this country and to their fellow countrymen. The word ‘greed’ doesn’t even begin to touch upon what some of these people have done – criminal is more appropriate.
A lot of Americans feel this way, and out of this frustration and feeling of powerlessness arose the Occupy movement, a group that was meant to represent the 99 percent of us who do not engage in the all the sneaky little tricks ‘investment bankers’ use to influence the market in their favor – tricks like asset protection, derivative contracts, collateral debt obligations and futures.
In my opinion, most of that is just a clever way of hiding bad debt, manipulating markets and avoiding taxes by hiding money offshore.
Unfortunately, the Occupy movement did not represent the 99 percent of us who just want to see our commercial lending institutions stop acting like the shadow banking institutions that engage in these unpredictable, high-risk transactions leading our nation to financial ruin.
Instead, what came out of the Occupy movement was a slivered minority, an uncivilized band of rageful communists, anarchists and criminals.
Drug sales, physical assault, sexual assault and threats against police officers and ordinary citizens became the norm at these so-called champions of the people. Nothing that was done at Occupy protests empowered the people. It only hurt people, and that’s literally speaking. Just read the arrest reports.
This journalist already reported some of the worst crimes being committed at Occupy movements around the country last month (insert hyperlink here/ http://tinyurl.com/3mauakw), which included sexual assault, threats and acts of physical violence against both police and civilians.
NYPD officers have already made over a thousand arrests, and Big Government has reported over 400 incidents (insert hyperlink here/http://tinyurl.com/3as58va) from news stories collected across the United States. Recently, the Associated Press reported that a fugitive had been extradited from Kentucky to face murder charges in California after “staying at the anti-Wall Street site in Oakland for at least two weeks.”
As a result of these Occupy crimes, the voice that could have been recognized as protesting Wall Street, white-collar crimes became recognized as a decadent, dangerous and criminal, and that’s because criminal conduct is exactly what happened at Occupy ‘movement’ demonstrations.
Criminal acts never occurred at Tea Party rallies despite the criticism they received, but somehow they became they became rampant at the Occupy protests. Perhaps that’s because the anarchist mentality dominating the Occupy protests was based on the flawed notion that police and authority in general is unnecessary, and most of the people taking part in these demonstrations didn’t care enough to patrol their own territory.
Unfortunately, the result is that anyone wanting to complain about Wall Street is now assumed to sympathize with the criminal Occupy movement, something that can’t possibly be taken seriously now by any educated, law abiding American.
The criminal violence caused at Occupy protests has given Wall Street and its supporters the ability to say, ‘You see what happens when you challenge our place in American society? You need us. When you challenge us, the whole system of law and order comes crashing down.’
That’s not entirely true of course.
The American capitalist system has worked, and the stock market is undeniably a part of it. What Americans don’t need however is white collar crime and shadow bank investment firms taking advantage of legal loopholes or lack of prosecutorial enforcement from Washington.
The Occupy movement has empowered Wall Street by giving Americans something to fear more than the white collar criminals robbing us blind – the street protestor turned violent criminal, endangering innocent women and children.
Strangely, the Occupy movement ended up emulating the very people they initially claimed to be protesting – criminals. Whether crimes are white collar or blue collar, transactional or violent, they are crimes and they deserve to be recognized as such and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The Occupy movement has not hurt Wall Street in any way – it has only empowered it.