Why isn’t Wall St. in jail? And come to think of it, why isn’t Obama?

If we want to understand better what is wrong with the economy and politics, this sheds more than a little light, and confirms the gut instincts of the great majority of people today. Yes, we live in a corporatocracy, and yes, the judges and attorney generals and SEC and the president are steadfastly if not gleefully supportive of their and our rulers. I don’t usually repost other people’s writings, but this article is too hard-hitting and important to pass up.

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Why isn’t Wall St. in jail?

Excerpts from an excellent article by Matt Taibbi, from Rolling Stone:

Financial crooks brought down the world’s economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them

As for President Obama, what is there to be said? Goldman Sachs was his number-one private campaign contributor. He put a Citigroup executive in charge of his economic transition team, and he just named an executive of JP Morgan Chase, the proud owner of $7.7 million in Chase stock, his new chief of staff. “The betrayal that this represents by Obama to everybody is just — we’re not ready to believe it,” says Budde, a classmate of the president from their Columbia days. “He’s really fucking us over like that? Really? That’s really a JP Morgan guy, really?”

Which is not to say that the Obama era has meant an end to law enforcement. On the contrary: In the past few years, the administration has allocated massive amounts of federal resources to catching wrongdoers — of a certain type. Last year, the government deported 393,000 people, at a cost of $5 billion. Since 2007, felony immigration prosecutions along the Mexican border have surged 77 percent; nonfelony prosecutions by 259 percent. In Ohio last month, a single mother was caught lying about where she lived to put her kids into a better school district; the judge in the case tried to sentence her to 10 days in jail for fraud, declaring that letting her go free would “demean the seriousness” of the offenses.

So there you have it. Illegal immigrants: 393,000. Lying moms: one. Bankers: zero. The math makes sense only because the politics are so obvious. You want to win elections, you bang on the jailable class. You build prisons and fill them with people for selling dime bags and stealing CD players. But for stealing a billion dollars? For fraud that puts a million people into foreclosure? Pass. It’s not a crime. Prison is too harsh. Get them to say they’re sorry, and move on. Oh, wait — let’s not even make them say they’re sorry. That’s too mean; let’s just give them a piece of paper with a government stamp on it, officially clearing them of the need to apologize, and make them pay a fine instead. But don’t make them pay it out of their own pockets, and don’t ask them to give back the money they stole. In fact, let them profit from their collective crimes, to the tune of a record $135 billion in pay and benefits last year. What’s next? Taxpayer-funded massages for every Wall Street executive guilty of fraud?

The mental stumbling block, for most Americans, is that financial crimes don’t feel real; you don’t see the culprits waving guns in liquor stores or dragging coeds into bushes. But these frauds are worse than common robberies. They’re crimes of intellectual choice, made by people who are already rich and who have every conceivable social advantage, acting on a simple, cynical calculation: Let’s steal whatever we can, then dare the victims to find the juice to reclaim their money through a captive bureaucracy. They’re attacking the very definition of property — which, after all, depends in part on a legal system that defends everyone’s claims of ownership equally. When that definition becomes tenuous or conditional — when the state simply gives up on the notion of justice — this whole American Dream thing recedes even further from reality.

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail? | Rolling Stone Politics

Obama Goes All Out For Dirty Banker Deal

2 Responses to “Why isn’t Wall St. in jail? And come to think of it, why isn’t Obama?”

  1. jtoddring Says:

    A quote from the Federal Reserve Board member who is supposed to represent the public interest: she was talking about the NY Attorney General who, unlike the 49 other state attorney generals, refused to roll over for the banking elite and play dead.

    Kathryn Wylde, the Fed board member who ostensibly represents the public, said the following about [NY Attorney General] Schneiderman:

    “It is of concern to the industry that instead of trying to facilitate resolving these issues, you seem to be throwing a wrench into it. Wall Street is our Main Street — love ’em or hate ’em. They are important and we have to make sure we are doing everything we can to support them unless they are doing something indefensible.”

    As Matt Taibbi says, if the biggest act of mass theft in recorded history is not indefensible, just what is?

    “This quote leads one to wonder just what Wylde would consider “indefensible,” given that stealing is pretty much the worst thing that a bank can do — and these banks just finished the longest and most orgiastic campaign of stealing in the history of money. Is Wylde waiting for Goldman and Citi to blow up a skyscraper? Dump dioxin into an orphanage? It’s really an incredible quote.”

    And Obama continues to aid and abet, and protect and harbour and actively, vigorously support these same criminals, as do most senators and representatives, along with the major media – who are of course, all owned by the same crooks: the stratospherically rich financial elite who dominate the country and the globe, the economy, the political process, the media….

    As George Carlin said, “You don’t have choice. Choice is an illusion. You don’t have choice – you have *owners*. They *own* you.”

    If we don’t want to live like cattle, or be treated as cattle, then we must act, and we must speak up. And as a line from one of my favorite movies says, “Sooner is better.”

  2. jtoddring Says:

    I would have liked to view Obama as the next Martin Luther King Jr. (I wish we had him now) but I couldn’t believe anything of the kind, even from the beginning of his presidential campaign, much less now. In fact, he is making himself into a virtual antithesis of that great leader and orator: anti-peace, anti-justice, anti-democracy, and an avid supporter of the military-industrial complex and corporate elite, the ruling class, at the expense of the people. The real shame is that so many people were suckered into believing his rhetoric, and due to that, we have lost precious time in the fight for justice, peace, and true democracy. But as Thoreau said, and I am fond of quoting it: “It is never too late to give up our bad habits.” “There is more day yet to dawn.”

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