Concerns about Murdoch scandal from an “elites v. masses” standpoint

This is NOT about one person’s crime it is about masses seeing a multi-billionaire grovel and liking it, IMO. They see 168 year old publication close and celebrate it’s demise. They see the uber-powerful people resigning and want more. The Prime Minister is cutting an African business trip short and returning to deal with this. He knows this is more than a person(s) crime(s). Recall that, a few months ago, Prince Charles’ car was attacked with windows broken by an angry mob.

As for Americans, people who never worked for Enron or invested in it still screamed at Ken Lay and attacked Jeff Skilling. Thousands who never met or invested with Bernie Maddoff communicated death threats to him. Last month a sitting Congressperson was heckled at his resignation. People screamed for the castration of Dominique Straus-Khan before he was even charged with a crime. Others throw glitter on or pies at public figures.

You may dismiss these as anecdotes but I believe they show a disturbing trend masses of people losing their inhibitions about attacking elite public figures out of fear and anger about their future. I am concerned about this for the elites and for our stability. Nearly anyone on P1 of WSJ and bracketed between private security guards and a driver is a target. The Arab Spring is not only in Middle East; it just takes a different form in democracies.

And to the dwindling few who believe Brooks broke the law, she will be found guilty and punished accordingly is delusional. The elite dictate the rules that the rest of us play by. Question: what’s the easiest way to rob a bank? Have about 200,000 people (TOP .01% wealthiest) all rob it at about the same time and legislate rules to blur the line on what “robbery” means anyway. It is such a harsh term and makes the quants uneasy.

Let’s call it “mark-to-market,” “credit default swaps,” “mortgage-backed securities,” “derivatives” sold to people who are too old or uninformed to adequately assess risk, “private stock sales that the masses never get a sniff at,” “K street lobbyists,” the “revolving door of politics and private business” that allows FCC member Meredith Atwell Baker to approve Comcast’s $13.75 billion deal to acquire control of NBC Universal and then go work for (yes your guessed it) Comcast.

And OK I’ll take on the personal responsibility of mortgages here too (why not I am on a roll). Some say home buyers and real estate investors are 100% responsible for their bad decisions. This is like saying people should be allowed to drive as fast as they want on any road as long as they are responsible enough to handle it. Real estate and driving behavior come from the same area of the brain for most of us (in particular guys… admit it) the ego.

It is often not rational and needs to be held in check by speed limits and intense mortgage approval requirements. These are not infringements of our civil liberties because in mortgages and driving, it is not the person in the car we are worried about, it is the people they hurt/kill when they crash in either situation. So there is some personal responsibility but I mostly blame the loosening of regulation for the mortgage mess and others should not add to the stress of already distressed families by making them believe this is “all their fault.” It is not.

I believe in retirement plan investing (not just saying that because I am in it; but because of the buying power of them) but other than that, keep the Etrade app, cause NYSE, NASDAQ and others have odds more like those of winning the lottery and not as good as gambling. At least at a casino, everyone plays by the same set of rules (except the slots maybe) and heavy regulation and oversight adapts almost as fast as the cheats. I hope the Consumer Protection Bureau can do as well; but have little hope of that without Warren’s leadership.

I am not a conspiracy theorist or a sky is falling type. There are many more people trying to sort this out reasonably than attempting to game the system further. I am really just looking at behaviors and wondering where this road will lead.


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