A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
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Entry forthcoming—B.P. (3/23)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (3/23)
“I’ve had so much coffee today I can see noises” (3/23)
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Entry from March 02, 2012
Enforcement Theater

"Enforcement theater” is when arrests are made and/or lawsuits are filed, providing to the public the “theater” (or “theatrical performance") that the law is being enforced. The reality could be that few people actually get convicted and go to jail. The term “enforcement theater” has been cited in print since at least 2010. The blog Naked Capitalism has frequently written about election-driven “enforcement theater” of financial criminals, pointing out that few white collar workers get any punishment at all.

Other “theater” terms include “security theater,” “grievance theater” and “shutdown theater.”


Kickingcrow’s Weblog
FBI Celebrates That It Prevented FBI’s Own Bomb Plot (Overhype)
by Mike Masnick from the feeling-safer? dept on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 @ 11:38AM
With all of the new security procedures we keep hearing about, it’s important for the government to keep convincing us that we’re under a very real immediate threat that could put us at risk at any moment. Along those lines, you may have heard over the weekend about how the FBI supposedly stopped a terrorism bomb plot in Portland, Oregon. Except it appears more and more people are scratching beneath the surface and realizing that the entire plot appears to have been cooked up by the FBI itself.
(...)
We’ve talked about “security theater,” but this appears to be law enforcement theater, complete with actors and props. Feel safer yet?

FireDogLake
The Schneiderman Gambit: Financial Fraud Unit Appears Designed to Fail, and Grease Skids for Foreclosure Fraud Settlement
By: David Dayen Wednesday January 25, 2012 6:15 am
(...)
“Put it another way: one thing that would convince me that this committee was serious was if the settlement pact was put on hold until the investigation were completed. The fact that the settlement push is in high gear is yet more proof that this committee is yet another bit of regulatory/enforcement theater, just like the Foreclosure Task Force, or the servicer consent decrees (confirmed as an embarrassment via the use of badly conflicted “consultants”), or the current OCC investigation into foreclosure abuses, which excludes all sorts of injuries inflicted upon homeowners, most notably servicer fees abuses and misapplication of payments.”

Naked Capitalism
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Quelle Surprise! Feds Dust off Old Rogue Traders CDO Case to Burnish “Tough on Mortgage Crime” Credentials
Posted by Yves Smith at 2:42 am
The powers that be are in the process of seeing how they can burnish their “tough on bank crime” credentials while not ruffling anyone really important. And the case featured in the Wall Street Journal, “U.S. Plans Charges on Bond Fraud,” illustrates the sort of enforcement theater we are likely to see over the coming months.

Wow! Charges! Better yet, criminal charges! Finally the Administration is getting tough on crime.

Right. It’s tough on crime against banks.
(...)
This is justice Obama style: theater for the masses, free passes for the people at the top.

Naked Capitalism
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Brace Yourself for Election-Driven Enforcement Theater: Token Roughing Up of Crisis Bad Banksters, While Corzine Gets a Free Pass
Posted by Yves Smith at 4:18 am
It’s bad enough that we are being subjected to relentless propaganda about how housing is just about to turn the corner and the state-Federal mortgage settlement is such a great deal for homeowners. In fact, as we’ve stressed, and bond investors such as Pimco have reiterated, the deal is above all a back door bailout of the banks.
(...)
But to add insult to injury, the chump public will be given bread and circuses enforcement theater to distract it from the fact that the banks are getting a sweetheart deal.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Friday, March 02, 2012 • Permalink