AG Schneiderman: Sound And Fury

That seems to be NC’s read on the MERS suit filed by NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (NB: very long article).  Is all this a “stealth bailout” masquerading as a crackdown?

Probably.

To be fair, what can we really expect of Schneiderman or any other public office holder?  This is not a problem that any “official” can solve.  The root of it is off limits, except to the most fundamental law of the land:  the constitution.  It has to be amended to address this.  That’s something for the people to do, not office holders.

This first comment is poignant, resonant, and disturbing at the same time:

This settlement as framed is the epitome of institutional failure; more accurately of institutional corruption. Since the Soft Coup of 08 when the banks effectively took over the financial assets of the sovereign USA (I say effectively because that is the result, not the process), we have seen a wealth transfer unprecedented in modern history. No crime by the banksters is to egregious to not merely escape prosecution but serve as a _profit_ opportunity for the transgressors against the assets of the state. We have a simulacra of society as usual on the surface but the reality of a radically unconstrained kleptocracy puppeteering bank and legal policy. Oh, it takes them some effort to rig the outcome, but we see the intent by what is pursued.

If you don’t own a bank, your property rights are nil at this point as far as the state in this country is concerned. Nothing will be done inside the Beltway to protect you from magnates of great malfeasance, and everything and anything will be done to protect those who, from the top of the financial hierarchy, loot and abuse you. That is what we see; no fantasy but the facts on the ground.

The end game of this kind of behavior is clear, only the timeframe is opaque. But gross thefts of this kind abetted by all the powers of the state will end the opposite of well. Aristocracies who descend into unrestrained looting of the populace while neutering the legal system get insurgency. How that ends has a diversity of outcomes, but in the end during modern times, those aristocracies lose. It didn’t have to come to this in the US, but it’s hard to see how things will change given the complete defection of the political class as of today from any interest in a common society.

The social world we grew up in this country is dead; let’s face that as fact. It didn’t end in 2001. It’s hard to pick a firm year, let alone date. I’d posit 1997 when the financial predators got themselves excused from legal obligation to the state for their behaviors. But regardless, we’re in a new country: No Country for the 99%. The state is hard at work for the 1%, 24/7/365. And the rest?: “We’re not concerned about them.” Doesn’t matter who uttered the quote, they all believe it, and act accordingly.

The “leaders”, such as state AG’s and congressmen and whatnot,  like judges, only feel genuine pressure from one side.  It’s not that they are not “concerned”, it’s that in some ways they feel as outgunned as anyone else.  Maybe they are.

This situation is exactly the same, adjusted for time and place, as the circumstances leading up to the French Revolution.  The fact that we have a constitution that can peacefully and legally address even these seemingly insurmountable political problems, as opposed to the monarchy the French had, is supposed to make a difference.  But that may be a pipe dream.

“The People” are, of course, an abstraction.  They don’t do anything, because they don’t exist.  In the end this may be the fly in the ointment.  Monarchs, for all their manifest flaws, are at least real human beings.  There is always the chance that they can act benevolently towards their subjects over the objections of their aristocracy.

But a politician in a “democracy” has, on the one hand, his tangible supporters and contributors with whom he socializes and officially interacts at meetings and parties and countless other occasions; and on the other hand there are these “people” he supposedly represents that he doesn’t know at all.  He sees them at isolated events, shakes their hands and tosses off a few phrases to placate them before returning to the real people he actually knows:  his staff, his colleagues, and lobbyists.  How much do you want to blame him for paying attention to what he knows?

I know I keep coming back to this but it’s important:  the failure of democracy that we are witnessing is primarily a failure of the courts and the legal profession.  Because the courts are the place where the dynamic I just described is supposed to be neutralized.  The two warring factions before the bench are supposed to be equals before it, regardless of their status otherwise.  When this ceases to be the case or worse – as has happened in the US now – becomes a farce, you’ve knocked down one of the bearing walls holding the place up.  It takes a while to pan out, but the game is essentially over from there.

What is required right now, and the only thing that can really be done, is a jubilee for the 99% along the lines I have described here and here.  It has to be done with a constitutional amendment precisely because the political institutions institutions have failed, are failing and will continue to fail to the bitter end.  They cannot right themselves.  Even if they wanted to – and they don’t – it’s too late.

But the 99% has neither the training nor the inclination to understand what they can and cannot do with a constitution.  They need to trust lawyers for this, but they can’t and it’s hard to blame them.

Some days I just don’t see any way out, but I dread what is coming.  It’s just Dickens redux.  I don’t relish it at all.

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Filed under financial crisis, Judicial lying/cheating

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