Rolling Stone Magazine's Matt Taibbi, one of the remaining handful of investigative journalists in the country who has actually earned the right to call themselves a journalist, is to the U.S. financial system what unfiltered, bright sunlight is to bloodthirsty vampires.
hat about the ratings agencies?
That's what "they" always say about the financial crisis and the teeming rat's nest of corruption it left behind. Everybody else got plenty of blame: the greed-fattened banks, the sleeping regulators, the unscrupulous mortgage hucksters like spray-tanned Countrywide ex-CEO Angelo Mozilo.
But what about the ratings agencies? Isn't it true that almost none of the fraud that's swallowed Wall Street in the past decade could have taken place without companies like Moody's and Standard & Poor's rubber-stamping it? Aren't they guilty, too?
Man, are they ever. And a lot more than even the least generous of us suspected.
Thanks to a mountain of evidence gathered for a pair of major lawsuits, documents that for the most part have never been seen by the general public, we now know that the nation's two top ratings companies, Moody's and S&P, have for many years been shameless tools for the banks, willing to give just about anything a high rating in exchange for cash.
In incriminating e-mail after incriminating e-mail, executives and analysts from these companies are caught admitting their entire business model is crooked.
"Lord help our fucking scam . . . this has to be the stupidest place I have worked at," writes one Standard & Poor's executive. "As you know, I had difficulties explaining 'HOW' we got to those numbers since there is no science behind it," confesses a high-ranking S&P analyst. "If we are just going to make it up in order to rate deals, then quants [quantitative analysts] are of precious little value," complains another senior S&P man. "Let's hope we are all wealthy and retired by the time this house of card[s] falters," ruminates one more.
With all of the cumulative evidence to date demonstrating quite decisively that the American economic dynasty is just one big fucking criminal slush fund for the Wall St. grifters and corporatists, their bought and paid for lackeys in Washington, D.C., and the uber-wealthy elites who play the role of pilot fish to the big money boy's shark, why would anyone with an ounce of functioning intellectual capacity question The Gadfly's assertion that maybe this country needs to fail miserably and disastrously before it can ever realize the moral salvation that it so desperately needs to set things straight again?
Quite honestly, The Gadfly isn't even numbed by these revelations any more - and besides - why should The Gadfly worry his beautiful mind over such drudgery? Nobody else seems to give a shit, much less want to enjoin any efforts to change things. All the more reason for why The Gadfly just doesn't get all choked up about the, likely not too distant, prospect of America's empire meeting a comparably mortal denouement none too dissimilar to that of the Roman Empire.
C'est la vie.