Tom Englehardt’s 5-30-11 TomDispatch.com article “Welcome to Post-legal America” carries the phrase “too big to jail” from a Common Dreams.org article (5-24-11) of that title by Danny Schechter.
Englehardt may not be overstating to say, “At least in terms of what used to be called ‘foreign policy,’ and more recently ‘national security,’ the United States is now a post-legal society. (And you could certainly include in this mix the ‘too-big-to-jail’ financial and corporate elite.)” He says that a country theoretically ruled by law in which big wrongdoers are not brought to justice and nobody is made to account for serious crimes has become “post-legal.” Questions of lawful action become anachronistic. To ask “Is it legal?” belongs to the twentieth century before Reagan. If you break into someone’s home to steal, you’ll be caught and tried, but if you lead a vast incursion into another country to take oil or force contracts, you can give lectures, write memoirs and hold a professorship. You can kill all the people you want, to give them our Democracy because we’re righteously swayed by unseen people on the right who willfully confuse anything humane, or not immediately profitable to themselves, with socialism.
For example, successful bank-robbing may yield a good living, but would you say it wasn’t a crime subject to prosecution and punishment just as much as the unsuccessful robbery done by one caught in the act? The Supreme Court abets post-legality by failure to rule on cases it ignores. Schechter refers to the recent docudrama, “Too Big To Fail.” (I refer to it as a “cock-u-dream-a” because while it may contain no significant inaccuracies, it “cocks” the viewer to see Paulson and Geithner as heroes for adulation instead of questionable characters to be carefully examined for possible malfeasance, with others.)
The movie dramatization of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s inadequately finished book merely showcased a sequence of events without deep context and background or careful summation and evaluation. Truth requires more than a string of facts presented from second- and third-hand hearsay, even with news accounts and relevant documents. Imaginatively reconstructed conversations give us an illusory basis for understanding the events in question, let alone their ramifications. What’s clear is, few or none of the central figures will ever go to jail. People who can post a billion dollars in bail, and put another billion toward legal defense without impairing their life styles, will delegate their issues to others and never crease a brow with worry.
Or, how about the legalized crime of injecting hundreds of billions of dollars in fake money, as bank credit, by the Federal Reserve. The money’s good only because our Congress agrees with the Fed’s board and the administration to let it be, because it saves the economy from visible failure, though our population will have to give up its blood, sweat, tears, effort and well-being for decades of inflation, faked-up austerity and mass misery to make it sustainable and keep the fat cats happy up in the clouds.
Our economic crisis could have been resolved much more effectively for the whole country if the bailout had been handed to small debtors and homeowners about to be foreclosed instead of thrown into the hands of the big bankers. The little guys would have paid their debts to the lenders, money going into the banking system less directly but more helpfully to the nation. Relief to the little people would have let them keep homes and jobs, freeing their income to go back into the consumer economy. Even the fat cats would have gained in the long run. What prevented it? Fat Cat Ideology! No bad Socialism for middle and lower classes. Only good Socialism for upper and corporate classes. Why top-class support is good and bottom-class support bad? Fat Cats believe false views of life and world which they mistake for reality, as if Might makes Right. This is the whole, right-wing strategy. Get power to screw over everyone else because “We know nobody is right about anything essential but us. Just ask us.”
What else prevented a just solution? Pure greed among the big bankers. They saw a chance to withhold service to the nation in favor of serving themselves, big time! They saw a chance to further the cause of right-wing, ideological elitism, and invested in everything that could be bought, including politicians, agency administrators and judges. Markets fluctuate by nature. Banks wait for a downturn, even a brief one, to buy stocks, bonds, real estate, airplanes or yachts. Then they hold for a while or sell on the next rise. Since they insure against loss, they can’t lose either way.
What’s really wierd is, rightists won’t tell why they are right about things, because for all the right people, everything is obvious. It’s a religion with them, whether secular or a churchy-mixture rooted in scripture. Hence, they can devote their time to telling everyone else what’s wrong with anything liberals and progressives say, do or think. Like old-time, line-holding Marxists, they ‘are’ the truth, the very goal of evolution. Science says evolutionary change can evidence directions or vectors but not particular goals. Goals require us to educe them and entail that we make a leap from scientific logic to a teleological metaphysic past any kind of physics. Ah, Theology! God wants a few rich people to harness and stable the masses and let the poorest die or blow away.
Robert Reich, in his 5-31-11 “The Truth about the U. S. Economy,” explains why we cannot have a vital, growing economy without a healthy, prosperous middle class. He says, the fundamental challenge ahead is to restore the vast, American middle class. However, it looks to me as if our worst troubles will stem from right-wing myopia. Those people feel they ‘are’ the middle class and deserve all blessings and benefits of life to the exclusion of the poor, the sick, the old, unrighteous young, the lazy, wrong-headed, unimaginative and stupid, who comprise The Left. Hope grows dim and will vanish without immediate resurgence of our people, demanding democracy and justice. The right knows, U. S. economy can be grafted on to other countries with globalization. Devil take those left. That’s the rapture and the judgment!