Now a part of common underworld patois, Willie Sutton's infamous truism best describes what the now retired Eric Holder's successor has just accomplished, and with a straight face, in forthrightly announcing guilty pleas for scores of banksters in such a way as to elevate that long-ago truth in answer to the query as to his bank robber status: 'That's where the money is.'
Indeed, and with a very cynically modern twist of double meaning---'crime pays'.
Especially when the prosecution condones it by choosing not to actually expose the confessed wrongdoers to a jury of their citizen peers.
While it is equally common knowledge that the proverbial ham sandwich may be indicted, it appears that the kosher laws have been enlisted in a perverse attempt at legerdemain most charitably described as ham-handed. Let's simply quote the DOJ Press Release:
"The penalty these banks will now pay is fitting considering the long-running and egregious nature of their anticompetitive conduct. It is commensurate with the pervasive harm done. And it should deter competitors in the future from chasing profits without regard to fairness, to the law, or to the public welfare." [www.justice.gov/opa]
Really? Notice the legalistic language: '...deter competitors...'; who are they? Corporations, as the uber-banks as entities certainly don't have average citizens---you know, organic, unincorporated persons, with navels---competing with them. So, then, what will happen to these competitors if they do 'chase profits' profitably, according to this precedent? [It's duly noted that if the confessed five banks repeat this behavior, 'they will be prosecuted', so says the same Press Release. We'll see, however, when the time comes, inevitably, just what becomes of just prosecution, most likely a really big fine for these misbehaving bad boys at the naughty banks.]
Putting aside the unintended pun in that phrase, 'Chase-ing profits', this is hoodwinking whistling past the graveyard of justice itself, as what has put that once powerful concept to rest, and hardly in peace. Benjamin Disraeli nailed it--and not the coffin in question: 'Justice is truth in action.' Well, the truth is chasing profits is so ingrained in 'too big to jail' capitalism's very pumping heart cells that it has trumped Sutton's sarcastic truth and then some. This will not change, given the corporatization of a world whose sovereign man-made borders have been relegated to mapmakers. Whether driven by abject greed or need, such borders are irrelevant in a global economy where it is this rapacious greed literally creates the cruel need driving emigration and immigration the world over.
Almost exactly a hundred years ago, Theodore Roosevelt, that progressive Republican, took on the rampant power of what is now called 'too big to fail', then called Trusts, hence, the very Anti-Trust laws largely invoked by DOJ's plea deals with these five banks; a historian summed it up well in the NPR Program 'American Experience':
"Two things bothered him most about it. One was just that idea that they were overshadowing the government, that some of these tycoons, such as J. P. Morgan, could presume that they were sovereign equals of the U.S. government. For example, when the first big anti-trust suit under Roosevelt was brought, which was against Morgan's railroad combine, Morgan said, "Send your man to see my man and tell him to fix it up." Roosevelt's answer to that was, "That can not be done. Nobody treats as a sovereign equal to -- of the President. No company can presume to be -- no private interest can presume to be equal to the government. The government must be superior to all of these." [Historian John Cooper]
Alas, where have you gone, Rough Rider, our nation's sovereignty turns its oppressed eyes to you?
Bringing 44 suits, this 'progressive' Republican succeeded in doing what should have been done one hundred years later in the banking 'cartel' (the actual term these 'guilty' called themselves brazenly, in writing)---breaking up several anti-competitive (that word is used by DOJ) enterprises.
In the upcoming election year, it is incumbent upon all moderators and candidates to squarely deal with this absence of imperial banking's new clothing tailored by Congress; it's what TR did, in his 'Square Deal'.