Our state of affairs goes against a pinnacle of American justice, equality before law, facilitating everything from war crimes, to torture, to domestic spying, to a predatory, ravenous Wall Street that feeds on the middle class with impunity.
"The public needs to know that money is still being funneled through HSBC to directly buy guns and bullets to kill our soldiers. Fines are not acceptable. I want a criminal indictment of HSBC executives," [Stern] asserts. "And if I die because of this, my life will have been worthwhile."
Two of the largest banks in the world, which reap massive explicit and implicit subsidies from the government, were criminal enterprises for at least a decade. Each engaged in violations that were vastly larger than Liberty Reserve.
If this deadly dynamic isn't solved -- if the biggest banks aren't broken up, if the Department of Justice doesn't start prosecuting crime in the financial sector -- our country will in the not too distant future see a financial crisis far worse than in 2008.
The Standard Chartered agreement with the Department of Justice actually anticipates dismissals of its crime. It states that if Standard Chartered denies its crimes, it must issue a new statement within five days after the government orders it.
A funny thing, wonderful in its own small way, happened last week. The Senate voted 99-0 in favor of an amendment to end subsidies to too-big-to-fail financial institutions. This vote is a harbinger of things to come -- if the public keeps ratcheting up pressure.
Politicians and regulators serve criminal banks for the very same reason that Willie Sutton robbed them: That's where the money is. If these senators don't figure that out pretty soon, they're going to have to go to the people to raise money.
As our government of the richest and mightiest country in the world is incapable of effecting retribution, we can only implore the divinity: please see to it that really bad things happen to these really bad people.
This is the ultimate Big F'ing Deal: the nation's top prosecutor openly admitting that some people and institutions are so big, wealthy, and powerful that it is the policy of the United States to hesitate to prosecute them no matter how terrible their crime.
I don't understand why people complain about Too Big To Fail. Just because a few companies have metastasized into entities so immense they transcend national boundaries and eclipse the net worth of some countries is no cause for alarm.
With the help of three ghosts, Scrooge finally reached redemption by learning to give to others. As events of the past two weeks have shown, modern bankers have their own ghosts to face: federal prosecutors.
It was just an unfortunate coincidence that the reports were almost juxtaposed -- the reports of the punishment given Stephanie George and that given HSBC and UBS. Stephanie, of course, was not the first.