“Let’s all move forward!”
Meridian, Mississippi Mayor Cheri Barry
Mayor Barry apparently loves to make this statement whenever she is asked by the victims of the hate crimes in Meridian, Mississippi, what she is going to do about the crimes that have been committed against them by the former administration AND THE CRIMES WHICH ARE STILL BEING COMMITTED AGAINST THEM TO THIS DAY.
To make an analogy here, for example, you don’t just step over a dead body and say, “That happened in the past; let’s move forward.” For one thing, Christ's Church In Action (CCIA) has a building which was burned by arsonists and is a $75,000.00 loss with no insurance. You don’t just ignore that and say, “Well, the mayor’s administration made sure the police didn’t investigate properly, the perpetrators were allowed to get away to another state because of that, the mayor made sure that nothing was put in the media about the arson against this church so the public scrutiny wouldn’t be there, the victims were harassed repeatedly by the city and slandered for merely trying to get equal protection under the law, the victims were assaulted and threatened, the victims are still being slandered and discriminated against in the city, there are families and children who have been hurt, and the victims still have the burned out building and no help, but we are not going to do anything about it—Let’s just move forward!”
I found an interesting article that appeared in USA Today just last week, regarding a similar situation, in which things done in the past have been investigated, public scrutiny has been brought to bear, and apparent steps are being taken to right the wrongs committed.
It appears that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who could have exposed and prosecuted Bernard Madoff long ago, and failed to do so, on numbers of occasions over a 16-year time period, by not investigating properly, has not tried to skip over what was done and have the attitude of “Let’s all move forward.” You will see from the article that a lengthy investigation was done by the SEC itself (their inspector general) into why the proper investigations into Madoff’s fraud were not done for such a long period of time.
Following is the article from USA TODAY, Thursday, September 3, 2009: (I have highlighted some of the text to emphasize certain points, which I feel relate to the situation in Meridian, Mississippi with the crimes committed by the mayor’s administration. BL)
Inspector general's report blasts SEC over Madoff
450 pages outline 16 years of fumbled scrutiny of suspect trading
By Paul Wiseman
Inexperienced Securities and Exchange Commission investigators bungled repeated opportunities over 16 years to expose Wall Street scam artist Bernard Madoff, the SEC's inspector general revealed in a devastating report released Wednesday.
"Despite numerous credible and detailed complaints, the SEC never properly examined or investigated Madoff's trading," Inspector General David Kotz concluded in a summary of his 450-page report. "Had these efforts been made with appropriate follow-up at any time beginning in June of 1992 … the SEC could have uncovered the Ponzi scheme well before Madoff confessed."
Madoff, whose fraud unraveled in December, was sentenced in June to 150 years in prison for swindling investors out of billions of dollars.
The SEC stumbled despite conducting five investigations and receiving "six substantive complaints" raising "significant red flags" about his operations and investment claims. Kotz found no evidence of "any financial or other inappropriate connection" between Madoff and SEC employees, including a former official who married Madoff's niece.
Some highlights from Kotz's report:
•The SEC botched its first chance to stop Madoff in 1992. Investigating an investment firm controlled by Madoff, the SEC suspected a Ponzi scheme and ordered it to repay investors. But it never checked whether Madoff repaid it with money "from other clients as part of a larger Ponzi scheme."
•Investigators accepted at face value Madoff's assertion that his "gut feel" was responsible for his incredible investment results.
•Madoff thought he'd been caught when investigators asked for his account number at the Depository Trust Corp., which kept trading records. "I thought it was the end, game over," Madoff said. But the investigators never followed up, leaving Madoff "astonished."
•SEC examiners drafted a letter to the National Association of Securities Dealers seeking records that would have exposed Madoff but never sent it, "claiming that it would have been too time-consuming to review the data."
•Madoff, veins popping, bullied investigators, dropped names of the influential people he knew and suggested that he might become SEC chairman.
SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro, who took office after Madoff's exposure, expressed "regret" for the agency's performance and said the SEC has adopted reforms to avoid a repeat.
"There were clearly human failures," says Harvey Pitt, the SEC's chairman from 2001 until 2003. But he says the SEC is "righting the ship dramatically."
"We can't just accept that the SEC messed up and say, 'Let's all move forward,' " says Ronnie Sue Ambrosino, coordinator of a support group for Madoff victims. "It was consistent negligence."
More of BERACHOT’S COMMENTS:
At least in this situation, the SEC did an investigation of itself, did a lengthy report, and admitted failure. And, unlike in the situation with CCIA in Meridian, Mississippi, where there is a media blackout regarding the hate crimes against CCIA (and the newspaper’s publisher, Crystal Dupre, is outright committing illegal acts against CCIA to this day), the SEC/Madoff situation is being reported in the news. I now want to make the analogy between that situation, in which people lost money, and what is being done in Meridian, Mississippi, which involves people’s lives being hurt.
I find it interesting that Cheri Barry, the new mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, unlike the SEC, wants to “skip over” the crimes committed by the former administration of Meridian, Mississippi, and say: “Let’s move forward!” In the USA Today article, Ms. Ambrosino, advocating for the victims in the Madoff situation, makes a very good point: you can’t just accept that wrong was done to people and then “move forward” without doing something about it. Like I said, at least the SEC did a lengthy investigation and admitted failure, and this is being reported in the news media…what is Cheri Barry doing about the numerous crimes committed by the City of Meridian, and what is being done to expose it in the media?
The crimes that were committed have to be addressed and taken care of; the people responsible need to be prosecuted; and public scrutiny needs to be brought to bear. The victims of the Madoff crimes suffered monetary loss; the victims in Meridian, Mississippi have had their lives hurt; they have had hate crimes committed against them…arson, a cover-up of the arson orchestrated and carried out by the former mayor and his administration, death threats, assaults, harassment by the city, failure of the police to properly investigate and protect the victims, discrimination and slander aided and abetted by the former mayor’s administration and police (the discrimination and slander continue to this day, even with the new administration)…I could go on and on.
Whoever is advising this new mayor should try and help her to get a handle on reality, and stop “playing politics” and the "social game.” It appears from the USA Today article that the current SEC chairperson and a past SEC chairman appear to be addressing what was done and taking some necessary measures to see that it is not done again. The article is silent on whether or not the “human failures” will be addressed specifically and disciplined in any way and/or if the people responsible will be admonished and/or removed. The article is also silent on what responsibility falls on the head(s) of the SEC, and it appears that the “underlings” are having the blame put on them. (Do you mean to tell me that “inexperienced” investigators were there for 16 years? And that the superiors at the SEC didn’t know what was happening?)
However, note that the new SEC Chairman is taking steps to see that these things are not repeated. As I said, the article is silent on the specifics of what those steps are, but she is doing something, or at least she says she is. It is interesting to me that she is not just saying, “Let’s move forward,” without taking steps to rectify what was done and making sure that it is not done again. I think we can safely assume that, in addition to this investigation, the people responsible are “shaking in their shoes” and would be afraid to repeat the same “mistakes” over again. But this is only because an investigation has been done into the wrongs committed, and public scrutiny and outrage cannot be avoided due to the media coverage and the truth coming to light.
Remember, also, that Bernard Madoff has been prosecuted and is in jail, unlike the former mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, John Robert Smith, and others, who are freely carrying on their lives as if they never committed a crime. (Apparently, for example, John Robert Smith has accepted a new position as the President and C.E.O. of “Reconnecting America,” an organization that has to do with one of his “loves,” the railroad.) And, many of the people who were involved, whether actively or passively (by “looking the other way”) in John Robert Smith’s administration, are still there working for the city, seeing that he and they and all of the others, have “gotten away” with what they did. They have no fear and no reason to fear repeating the same things.
Imagine if John Robert Smith, as Bernard Madoff, was in jail for what he did (for indeed he would go if investigated according to law and prosecuted according to law), and the new mayor called for a full investigation into everything alleged by the victims. AND if, as it should be, it were reported in the media?
In the Ponzi scheme committed by Bernard Madoff, people were hurt financially. What went on and is going on in Meridian, Mississippi has hurt and is hurting people’s lives, including children’s lives, to this day and is continuing—the harm is much worse. So, for the mayor of Meridian, Mississippi to say, “Let’s just move forward,” is ridiculous. Human lives are much more important than money!
Thus, whoever is advising the mayor should remind her that this is more serious than potholes or money—these are human lives and hate crimes!
Someone ought to make the point to her that trying to “move forward” without doing anything about the past is kind of like trying to get rid of cancer with a band-aid.
In conclusion, I would like to paraphrase the statement at the end of the USA Today article, and relate it to the situation in Meridian, Mississippi:
“We can’t just accept that Mayor John Robert Smith’s administration ‘messed up’ and say, ‘Let’s all move forward!’ (as the new mayor, Cheri Barry, loves to declare). It was consistent criminal activity.”
BERACHOT LEVINE for The Arm of Justice
 For details see articles on this website at the top left of the homepage, starting with: Letter to the City of Meridian-COVERUP OF AND PARTICIPATION IN ARSON, HATE CRIMES, AND PREJUDICE BY CITY GOVERNMENT EXPOSED
BERACHOT LEVINE for The Arm of Justice
 See articles on top left of this website homepage for details, starting with Letter to the City of Meridian-COVERUP OF AND PARTICIPATION IN ARSON, HATE CRIMES, AND PREJUDICE BY CITY GOVERNMENT EXPOSED
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