We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Monday, February 12. 2007
Rudy Giuliani rose to prominence as a US Attorney going after white collar, mainly high-visibility Wall Street "crime". No doubt this was part of his political plan (nothing wrong with that), EXCEPT that his famous prosecutions which won him the Mayoralty of NYC (which is a bigger and sharper-elbowed organization than many state governments in the US) ended in reversals after years of appeal - after ruining countless lives and careers and marriages, including some folks I knew.
His career was built on fear. When the US Attorney decides to target you, good legal advice is to get down on your knees and pray, because once they have invested some time and money in you, they will be highly motivated to find some way hurt you, no matter what.
Thus, around NY, he is viewed as dangerously ruthless and calculating. Maybe fight fire with fire, and run him against the ruthlessly calculating Hillary. Nice people.
His case against Michael Milken was the most famous of many. People forget that Milken never broke any existing known laws other than the law against getting rich. No, new theories, versions and extensions of law were invented for Rudy's prosecutions. Milken, a financial genius and, in my opinion, probably an honest man, spent two years in jail for nothing. And now his invention, Junk Bonds, are a major capital market, fueling all sorts of growth in our economy.
Rudy is a likeable, charismatic fellow, a true conservative, and he did us all the favor of rescuing NYC from the mess it was in long before the WTC. At the time, the newspapers had been saying that NYC was ungovernable. I would vote for him against any Dem, but I do not respect him. I suspect that he has the heart of a Brooklyn thug. I still feel upset about the lives he destroyed. Maybe that's just politics, life in the big city, etc., but I'd rather not think so.
He of course also deserves credit for his handling the attack on New York, but I swould have expected nothing less of him and would never imagine him going Nagin. Still, his real achievement was bringing Democratic NYC back from decay and anarchy via conservative principles, firmness, persistence, and good cheer.
If you haven't been to NYC recently - go, and see what Rudy - and now Bloomberg - have accomplished.
For the whole story of his Wall Street prosecution days, the Journal of Libertarian Studies has an excellent summary. (I forget how to quote from PDF files.)
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Shame on you.
I have no love for Rudy. It's the fawning at the feet of the greedy and unscrupulous that troubles me.
Isn't America wonderful: make enough money and everybody will sing your virtues!
Perhaps Michael Milken wasn't the best example of Wall Street's amoral world. That he served time is not arguable.
"His reputation was tarnished by an insider trading investigation which culminated in his indictment on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud in 1989. After a plea bargain, Milken was charged with six securities and reporting violations. He was sentenced to ten years in prison, but was released after less than two years."
That from Wikipedia (in my view not the best resource but everyone is using it )
That he was able to plea bargain down from 98, that's 98 counts of rackettering to six securities and reporting violations is a tribute to his lawyers and the flexibility of our judicial system...he still WAS an admitted FELON and did spend two years at Club Fed..he also got out of jail with hundreds and hundreds of millions of tainted dollars.
That U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani moved on Mike Milken was the result of information from another Wall Street biggie. It was with Ivan Boesky, the Wall Street arbitrageur, who had admitted using stolen information to make over a $100 million. What Boesky offered to give in return for this leniency was, among other things, information about the secret dealings of a reclusive financier in Los Angeles-- Michael Robert Milken.
Thus turning to do his sworn duty U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani started to look into the dealings of Michael Milken. The results have already been noted above.
Would a citizenry want a US Attorney to look the other way? Would they want a U.S. Attorney with a lead on possible Wall Street wrongdoing to just walk away?
I don't think so.
Senators on the Banking Committee listened, the Chairman, William Proxmire, opened a special hearing on Wall Street by asking "How much do we really about the corporate takeover game and the complex network of information that circulates among investment bankers, takeover lawyers, corporate raiders, arbitrageurs, stock brokers, junk bond investors and public relations specialists?"
This question, which raised the specter of finding a vast criminal conspiracy behind the battle for corporate control, was directed to Rudolph Giuliani, a prosecutor who had made his reputation proving criminal conspiracies against the Mafia, and Gary Lynch, the Director of the SEC's enforcement division. Senator Proxmire explained that in 1933, the same Senate Banking Committee had "recruited" a young attorney named Ferdinand Pecora to go after "white collar criminals" on Wall Street. Pecora, as the Senate's chosen instrument, went after the villain of that era: The House of Morgan-- who had turned the nation's capital markets into a private preserve.
The Chairman then came to his point: "Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Lynch, you are the Ferdinand Pecoras of the 1980s; through your vigilance, Wall Street is being rid of some of its criminals whose greed has cut a sorry path through our American system." His message--and charge-- was clear. The new Pecoras' target would be Mike Milken, who ironically was responsible for breaching the walls around J.P. Morgan's preserve.
Milken might not be anywhere close to the dirtiest Wall Streeter, but he is a convicted felon and former convict,so some dirt must have stuck.
As for Mr. Giuliani, he has guts and he is tough. He is a leader. How do you not at least consider a man like that for President?
Concerning Mr. Milken's indictments, not a single indictment brought by Rudy stuck. What I recall really happened is that Drexel did its own internal investigation and discovered two "parking" violations, a victimless technical offense, and pointed them out to Rudy as something they had done improperly. Rudy had declared personal war against Milken, so he went to jail for the firm's parking violations. More obnoxious was his handling of the Chase executives he had taken from the bank in handcuffs in front of a wall of cameras, just to drop all charges against them shortly after (with no press release).
Oh how I wish that it was Mr. Giulani as US Attorney that I went to see to report student loan fraud! No, such was not my luck: I was interviewed by a woman from the gay community, who was a Clinton appointee. She told me to go home and mind my own business. However, she did not tell me that she was related to the woman who benefitted the most financially from the fraud! Nope. And, when I went to her boss (R) he told me he was too busy. But, when the gal went back into private practice, her boss put his baby brother into her job as US attorney (Asst). Nice huh? Ahhh, local families--they all drink at the same bar at the top of the bank building.
Apple Pie--there IS the local newspaper. But first, review your insurance policies.
I said I would vote for him.
But read the piece and go over all of his reversals. They were truly running a witch-hunt, and lots of guys got railroaded.
Also, just because people makes a ton of money doesn't make them prima facia criminals. I am thinking of a client of mine who recently sold the chain of gas station-mini-marts which he has been accumulating since age 19, for $76 million, at age 52. Clever, high-school education, extremely hard-working, maybe lucky, surely ambitious - but no criminal.
Cheers for your gas station millionaire. People like him built our country. My dad built his business all over the world, one small project at a time, and tho he died poor, having "too generously" funded his workers' educations and retirement, he had employed hundreds, developed new technology, helped both First and Third world impoverished communities, and died at peace.
Does your compassion for the lives, careers and marriages ruined by Rudy's prosecutions extend to the lives, careers and marriages ruined for those on Wall St. who did not jump on the greed and corruption bandwagon? To those old-fashioned, hard-working, whip-smart young folk who went there hoping to make an honest buck only to discover that you had to be dirty to play? People are quick to sympathise with those who drew the unwarranted attention of the law, but they rarely consider the far more numerous cases of law abiding financial whiz kids who hit invisible barriers and vanished, never to be heard from again, because they had scruples.
I do believe that Micheal Milken wasn't the best example.
I should have used the sons of bitches at Enron who went so far as to build an entirely staged trading floor to impress investors and fund managers who ended up turning 401K's to dust.
And I have no problem at all with people using the system,not abusing the system, such as Chris' father did and your client did.
I can state it no better than Chris did in his last paragraph.
I survived in the business for about 20 years and the slime is deep and wide when you start talking about the top echelons of Wall Street. I've witnessed it. I even passed on millions of dollars because I would not prostitute everything
I learned about honor from the military officers I knew who fought for Duty,Honor,Country.
B, I would recommend you read two time Medal of Honor winner Smedley Butler's book, War is A Racket....you can read it free on the net.
War is a Racket
I know many in this country call passing on the chance for the riches of Croesus is naive. I know the people on Wall Street think that. Poor rubes they think. I'll take what honor I have left.
Many pass on all sorts of chances for all sorts of good reasons. I just refuse to hold rich guy's choices against them. Free country.
Heck, there are a lot more poor and middle-class crooks out there than rich ones.
I also have a very difficult time believing that CEO's who drives companies into bankruptcy are worth 250 million dollar golden parachutes and are still feted by Wall Street, move on to do similar work at another company...
Or that any one man in any company is worth a 500 million dollar bonus.
Who cares? Let's em have it. Why should I care?
Diluted over a stock price, it would be tiny fractions of a penny - and these guys wouldn't do the job anyway without a chance for a good pay-off. I say "Let 'em enjoy it."
BD...does that really sum up your philosophy?
I'm having flashbacks of "Office Space" ...just take the half a penny and put it in the XYZ fund, no one will miss it.
Who cares? I do. The guy down the street too. certainly you've seen the figures on the disparity between Executive pay and worker bee pay over the last decade? And you seem to think that it's just all A-OK.
When William Buckley, Milton Friedman, and several other free market voices write articles about the raping, yes that was one of the words used, raping of the American worker, then it's just all OK by you.
In other words, and please correct me if I'm wrong here on YOUR philosophy is that if they can negotiate a bonus of 500 million with the Board of Directors who hire them then it passes the capitalist test, even if the company loses money? or even if it shows growth?
Yes, I could care less. These guys negotiate their deals, like most white collar people. I think it ends up being more of an envy issue than a practical issue. There is a very competitive market for desirable CEOs with records of achievement. If the Board and the shareholders OK it, fine. None of my business. I don't want their money. Plus they just go out and spend a lot of the dough, and it recycles back into the economy anyway.
Buddy: here are the two local newspapers. They are both operated as seperate entities under one union agreement?
They both combine into one for the Sunday edition. If you copy and paste each of these addresses, I think you will be stunned to see the lack of real investigative journalism that covers the truly important stories for this community. It took months and months to get either one of these papers to take a hard look at the "problems"(corruption) in the state election process. The dems have been in charge in this city for so long now. For your entertainment go here:
However, it would be helpful if we could get an informed summary of the law regarding libel,etc. Perhaps the Barrister would like to follow through with that, including how it pertains to blog sites.
BD, is some of that wealth trickling down to you or do you just live in hopes?
Depends on what you call "records of achievement." Yes, there are some spectacularly successful corporate pirates out there. But would you want your daughter bringing one home? Better watch the silver if so...
Didn't somebody preach against the corrupting influence of a life dedicated to the pursuit of mammon? Here's a random hit with quite a few quotes to call you back to your nobler bird dog nature:
Beginning in March, 2001 (copy/paste):
Finally, on Feb 8, 2007,
After years of questionable ethics, we finally have this:
None trickling down, nor do I want any to, other than in my retirement plan - which I intend to never use for retirement, which seems like death to me.
I did not map out my life to get rich. I mapped it out for other goals, and I have, thus far, gotten most all of them: kids I adore who have been decently educated, a cozy home, dogs, a marriage which has lasted, ability to pay most of my bills most of the time, an occasional (if too rare) vacation, excellent pals, all the books I have time to read, plenty of hunting, a relationship with God, and work which is endlessly challenging. Oh - and a decent music system. No TV in this house.
If other people want to pursue other things, it matters not to me. Good luck to 'em, say I. Go for it! Freedom and capitalism make all of these life choices possible.
BD, I get, understand and somewhat agree with your point. The thing is, you have to be in the know to get the dough. I see it as an incestuous system, open only too those with the right credentials. Brains a lesser part of the equation. I see it right here in my town, an ex Surgeon General, while a good guy, was ineffectual in his position, now 'awarded' with various positions, including a cushy position on 'some' board of directors. Not out of merit, but "name". It is not a fair system, though I whine not, nothing is, right?
BD...we'll I could go on and continue the colloquy but it appears to be one of those situations that aren't reconcilable.
It's not that there aren't highly relevent ethical and economic issues that should be aired but I don't believe it would move you from your position that it's just all cool as long as the board and the shareholders vote it. The nexus there is "the board and the shareholders". Those votes come down to only a dozen or so people, not the millions of shareholders who own a round lot and won't see a dime in dividend income or increase in their shares value because it's been voted away by a dozen people. So we will just be on opposite sides of that issue .. it's what makes horseraces.
I tend to agree with your view.
I believe that income was higher on my list than it was on yours, and income has brought me great delight, choices, and life enrichment. But happiness comes from within. And, like you, in the old Yankee way, I will never retire unless they throw me out. Work is too much fun to quit voluntarily.
Also, you have to watch out for libel on blogs. If you have libel questions, use your email and not a blog, which is public. In general, the subject of libel with "public figures" is a sticky wicket, but who wants to learn about all that the hard way?
Also, to Luther: As Jack Kennedy said, "Life isn't fair." Indeed it isn't, but making the most of one's luck is something everyone can do, and feel proud of doing.
Aristotle said the only reason man works is to gain leisure....... having always been an admirer of Aristotle and already having close to a million in cash with another minimum half million on the way, perhaps a million, I am content to employ my leisurely delights, cars, guns, travel, and eggs benedict and mimosas. Got zero debt too..life is good.
If I'd had a brain earlier I wouldn't have had to make that money thrice over, but one does often times learn the hard way and by golly I gave the hard way a real ride. Now she's all saddle broke and a real fine ride.
I did some more educat'n on Mr. Milken. He was probably the poorest choice I coulda picked. I'll own up to that. He did things never done before and it appears it scared all the children. He became a boogey man. Boskey rolled him for his gain and Rudy used him for his.
Since Mike's release he has been a force for good in the world and that is a great thing, because it could have embittered him forever. He rose above it.
But I still don't like those guys from Enron.
A final word on libel questions: Even email, of course, can be subpoenaed. That's one reason God made telephones and lunch meetings - privacy.
Well, to make you at Maggie's cringe, I am a Libra, seeking balance, that's all. Point taken Mr. B., and I have taken the most as I could and feel no guilt for it. And, no, income has never been a goal for me, I'll be working til I die, and think the better of it. Habu, good for you.
Been watching this thread evolve. Good fun. Very satisfying to see the team of thinkers at work. Agreement on everything not required. Friendly debate is great, and I think we are all open-minded.
Habu: You achieved your dream and your goals. Only in America. Just remember that different people have different dreams. For example, 2-3 days of leisure is plenty for me, but that is family tradition. My gramps retired when he had a stroke at 86, and my Dad retired - but still healthy now, thank God, and able to chop wood and study and drive a tractor - when he had a stroke at 83. Work is in our blood.
If someone wants to make $500 million honestly, God bless 'em. Maybe they will do something wonderful with that money that everyone can enjoy for a long time, that regular folks like me could never do.
Glad you looked further into Milken. Those poor Giuliani guys were every bit as railroaded as Nifong wanted to do. And most were reversed. Mind you - I'd vote for the guy, because I will never let the Best be the enemy of the Good Enuf. I am not holding my breath for the Second Coming of Reagan.
Thanks to all commenters. Y'all make my job here much more fun.
I am glad that you are all so content with your lot in life. You seem a very decent, literate, and deserving bunch. Entertaining too.
However, most of the world does not have the luxury of work that is "too much fun to quit voluntarily." You are privileged to have meaningful work, and you have earned unusual rewards for your work. What about those millions who do the best they can at quite brutal or soul-destroying jobs with nowhere near the return? Will you say quite so airily to them "Life's not fair?!" Not everyone is as smart, succesful, lucky, talented as the bunch of you.
Habu, that quote of Aristotle's wonderfully describes the comfortable lolling of a male lion on a sunny rock, belly full. Okay for a while, but the glory of a lion is its hunting not its leisure.
I'm with most of you in my horror of retirement or no work. Fortunately, as an old fashioned female, I will never have any leisure, even if I can ever afford to stop working. My father used to joke that the women in our family all labor like the wife in Proverbs so that the men can enjoy their leisure, their books, their gentlemen's clubs, their excursions...
It is my old fashioned belief that God gave you those gifts to use them on behalf of others, once you have enjoyed them for a while. On your next vacation, try walking a mile or two along those 4 1/2 foot high passages under the ocean in the coal mines on the coast of Canada. As my then-piratical better half exclaimed with feeling after a tour of the mines on our honeymoon: "A week or two working under these conditions and I'd be a socialist and marching on management with guns!"
I think the sharp dealers who attract the ire are a small minority of the top end of the biz pyramid. Most of the big-money stars are personally spotless, deliberately, conspicuously, so.
As far as shareholder control, don't buy into a company which has disputes with shareholders.
Preferred stock gets first claim on assets, but common stock elects the boards, which hire the officers, and public records will let you know who to steer clear of.
Besides, to whom would you grant authority to limit these private-sector transactions?
Best be the enemy of the Good Enuf.....BD...I just really have always liked that. I said it to the wife this last weekend regarding her addiction to be perfect atsomething that is relatively minor.
I have had some luck, Like most folks it's hills and valleys.
I never set out to make money, it was adventure I wanted and thats where the CIA years came into play. The I wanted to see what Beverly Hills,Manhattan Beach,Venice,Playa del Rey and Marina del Rey were all about. IBM provided that view. Then came the mid thirties and it was time to giddy up so I went into buying and selling mortgages way before most people ever knew how to do it....(folks I'm not trying to brag here just me life)...once in that job I made $25,000 in a five minute phone conversation and another 15 minutes at the closing table. I thought that was a good day. It was. Then to stocks and bonds and now at 59 I work out,ride horses,shoot guns, do the honey-do's and all the grocery shopping. when I transition to Montana full time in two years I'm gonna rustle up some investors and build a trap and skeet range and club ..I think that'll be dandy ...I don't intend to quit working it's just that the reveille doesn't come at the crack of dawn anymore...the wife loves to work andis a wonderful person ..I consider myself a lucky man and I pray that others can find peace in their lives.
A young man once asked J. Paul Getty how he made his money. he replied,
Son, you get up early every day, work as hard as you can, and discover oil. Not a bad Rx.
haw--and Steve Martin's recommendation on "How to Live Like a Millionaire":
"First, get a million dollars...."
Speaking of Steve Martin, have a good chuckle: "The 72 Virgins"
With regards to Aristotle: I am not familiar with your quotation, however I am familiar with another thought from Aristotle. It goes something like this: the surest way to kill a man is to deprive him from doing the work of his heart (soul?). In other words, when you force a human to work endless hours/days in a profession not of his/her own passion you will destroy the human. The labor of one's hand's Aristotle understood to be connected to the self satisfaction of pursuing excellence.
Now that's something I can relate to, Apple Pie, as I get ready for another day at the office. Do you have the exact quote? I was a great deal cheerier and less cranky in the days when I was a young puppy gambolling happily across the countryside, bringing back birds...
I beg to differ. All productive work is ennobling, and all work can be fun if one brings the right spirit to it, and if one is rewarded for effort.
Any opinions here on Eliot Spitzer and his prosecution of Martha Stewart? That looked political to me. I just have a hard time thinking of her as a big time criminal or a danger to anybody or anything. I thought she was mostly guilty of thinking she knew it all and so she did not have to listen to her own lawyer.
I'm with you, Patina. Another person targeted to set an example. But for what? There was no undrlying crime.