September 21, 2010

One of the most oppressive aspects of any totalitarian regime is the inability to talk freely. You just don’t know who is a snitch and when something said innocently can  be twisted into sounding criminal, especially with all the regulations in a totalitarian regime. It could be a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend, or even your child, indoctrinated in totalitarian propaganda at school, that could turn you in.

I contend this is one of the cruelest parts of totalitarianism for the average person. It creates a paranoia about speaking freely. For your own safety, you must keep things bottled up inside. It is a form of solitary confinement.

In a way, it is kind of a very twisted version of the ominous Eagles song, Hotel California: You have freedom of speech to say anything you want anytime you want, just don’t say anything in front of anyone cause you might go to jail.

Anyone who has spent any time with the now elderly people from Eastern Europe, who lived under the old Soviet Union regime, know the paranoia and fear they still carry with them about speaking freely.

Barbara Branden in her book about Ayn Rand, The Passion of Ayn Rand, recounts the story of how Rand’s sister visited Rand in the U.S. from Russia.

Rand rented a limousine to pick up her sister from the airport. Rand’s sister indicated to Rand that she didn’t not want to talk in front of the limousine driver. Back at Rand’s apartment, the sister wouldn’t talk in front of the cleaning lady. What a terrible way to live.

And such a paranoia about speaking freely is slowly moving over America. The lead agency promoting this potential national death of individual spirit is the Securities and Exchange Commission. They may have no idea how to catch a Ponzi scheme operator like Bernie Madoff (even when letters are sent to them warning about Madoff!), but they sure have evil bastard lawyers who know how to protect the agency and expand the worst aspects of totalitarianism.

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Their latest stunts include, as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, slipping in language which exempts them from the Freedom of Information Act. Thus, we don’t get to see what they are up to at all. At the same time, they slipped other language into Dodd-Frank that will pay snitches 30% of all fine money collected by the SEC. In other words, while the SEC couldn’t catch a real crook like Madoff, they are damn good at harassing those who only in the minds of the SEC have done anything wrong, e.g. Martha Stewart and Mark Cuban, and are perfectly willing to payoff those who provide them with leads for the bogus cases that they prefer to bring.

It won’t take long before other agencies catch on to the SEC snitch program and before long the programs will be all over the place. And this being America, their will be some scumbag lawyer who will end up promoting the idea of being a snitch as a great thing to do. I can eventually see “Be a Snitch. Call Me.” billboards.

In fact, it is already happening. Some really distorted thinking lawyer, Stuart Meissner, who not surprisingly worked for the New York State Attorney General’s Office (which was once run by the complete hypocrite, Eliot Spitzer), is about to start running snitch ads in movie theatres.

NyPo explains:

Wanna get rich? Snitch.

That’s the new money-making mantra for folks with access to confidential information on Wall Street.

With the release of Oliver Stone’s new movie, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” in mind, Stuart Meissner, a securities lawyer based in Midtown, is tweaking a message made famous by the first “Wall Street”: that greed is good for people standing on the right side of the law, too.

Uncle Sam recently started offering rich bounties to folks who help put away bad guys — like Gordon Gekko, the central character of Stone’s film, played by Michael Douglas, who goes to jail for insider trading.

Meissner came up with the idea to advertise for snitches who know of illegal activity at their firm. His in-theater ads and fliers will recruit whistleblowers with the promise of riches to come.

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“Having the ad right there with the movie reminds people who have information regarding securities violations, ‘Hey, I can make money and also do a good thing,’ ” said Meissner, who previously worked with the financial crimes unit of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

The ads, which are set to music similar to the theme from “Law & Order,” tell moviegoers they can remain anonymous with their tips if they go through a lawyer.

Welcome to the new USSR.

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