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Greenwald writes: "It all changes radically when the nation's most powerful actors are caught breaking the law."

The logo on the front of a branch of HSBC. (photo: Getty Images)
The logo on the front of a branch of HSBC. (photo: Getty Images)


HSBC: New Poster Child for Two-Tiered Justice System

By Glenn Greenwald, Guardian UK

12 December 12

 

he US is the world's largest prison state, imprisoning more of its citizens than any nation on earth, both in absolute numbers and proportionally. It imprisons people for longer periods of time, more mercilessly, and for more trivial transgressions than any nation in the west. This sprawling penal state has been constructed over decades, by both political parties, and it punishes the poor and racial minorities at overwhelmingly disproportionate rates.

But not everyone is subjected to that system of penal harshness. It all changes radically when the nation's most powerful actors are caught breaking the law. With few exceptions, they are gifted not merely with leniency, but full-scale immunity from criminal punishment. Thus have the most egregious crimes of the last decade been fully shielded from prosecution when committed by those with the greatest political and economic power: the construction of a worldwide torture regime, spying on Americans' communications without the warrants required by criminal law by government agencies and the telecom industry, an aggressive war launched on false pretenses, and massive, systemic financial fraud in the banking and credit industry that triggered the 2008 financial crisis.

This two-tiered justice system was the subject of my last book, "With Liberty and Justice for Some", and what was most striking to me as I traced the recent history of this phenomenon is how explicit it has become. Obviously, those with money and power always enjoyed substantial advantages in the US justice system, but lip service was at least always paid to the core precept of the rule of law: that - regardless of power, position and prestige - all stand equal before the blindness of Lady Justice.

It really is the case that this principle is now not only routinely violated, as was always true, but explicitly repudiated, right out in the open. It is commonplace to hear US elites unblinkingly insisting that those who become sufficiently important and influential are - and should be - immunized from the system of criminal punishment to which everyone else is subjected.

Worse, we are constantly told that immunizing those with the greatest power is not for their good, but for our good, for our collective good: because it's better for all of us if society is free of the disruptions that come from trying to punish the most powerful, if we're free of the deprivations that we would collectively experience if we lose their extraordinary value and contributions by prosecuting them.

This rationale was popularized in 1974 when Gerald Ford explained why Richard Nixon - who built his career as a "law-and-order" politician demanding harsh punishments and unforgiving prosecutions for ordinary criminals - would never see the inside of a courtroom after being caught committing multiple felonies; his pardon was for the good not of Nixon, but of all of us. That was the same reasoning hauled out to justify immunity for officials of the National Security State who tortured and telecom giants who illegally spied on Americans (we need them to keep us safe and can't disrupt them with prosecutions), as well as the refusal to prosecute any Wall Street criminals for their fraud (prosecutions for these financial crimes would disrupt our collective economic recovery).

A new episode unveiled on Tuesday is one of the most vivid examples yet of this mentality. Over the last year, federal investigators found that one of the world's largest banks, HSBC, spent years committing serious crimes, involving money laundering for terrorists; "facilitat[ing] money laundering by Mexican drug cartels"; and "mov[ing] tainted money for Saudi banks tied to terrorist groups". Those investigations uncovered substantial evidence "that senior bank officials were complicit in the illegal activity." As but one example, "an HSBC executive at one point argued that the bank should continue working with the Saudi Al Rajhi bank, which has supported Al Qaeda."

Needless to say, these are the kinds of crimes for which ordinary and powerless people are prosecuted and imprisoned with the greatest aggression possible. If you're Muslim and your conduct gets anywhere near helping a terrorist group, even by accident, you're going to prison for a long, long time. In fact, powerless, obscure, low-level employees are routinely sentenced to long prison terms for engaging in relatively petty money laundering schemes, unrelated to terrorism, and on a scale that is a tiny fraction of what HSBC and its senior officials are alleged to have done.

But not HSBC. On Tuesday, not only did the US Justice Department announce that HSBC would not be criminally prosecuted, but outright claimed that the reason is that they are too important, too instrumental to subject them to such disruptions. In other words, shielding them from the system of criminal sanction to which the rest of us are subject is not for their good, but for our common good. We should not be angry, but grateful, for the extraordinary gift bestowed on the global banking giant:

"US authorities defended their decision not to prosecute HSBC for accepting the tainted money of rogue states and drug lords on Tuesday, insisting that a $1.9bn fine for a litany of offences was preferable to the 'collateral consequences' of taking the bank to court...

"Announcing the record fine at a press conference in New York, assistant attorney general Lanny Breuer said that despite HSBC"s 'blatant failure' to implement anti-money laundering controls and its wilful flouting of US sanctions, the consequences of a criminal prosecution would have been dire.

"Had the US authorities decided to press criminal charges, HSBC would almost certainly have lost its banking licence in the US, the future of the institution would have been under threat and the entire banking system would have been destabilised.

"HSBC, Britain's biggest bank, said it was 'profoundly sorry' for what it called 'past mistakes' that allowed terrorists and narcotics traffickers to move billions around the financial system and circumvent US banking laws...

"As part of the deal, HSBC has undertaken a five-year agreement with the US department of justice under which it will install an independent monitor to assess reformed internal controls. The bank's top executives will defer part of their bonuses for the whole of the five-year period, while bonuses have been clawed back from a number of former and current executives, including those in the US directly involved at the time.

"John Coffee, a professor of law at Columbia Law School in New York, said the fine was consistent with how US regulators have been treating bank infractions in recent years. 'These days they rarely sue individuals in any meaningful way when the entity will settle. This is largely a function of resource constraints, but also risk aversion, and a willingness to take the course of least resistance,' he said."

DOJ officials touted the $1.9 billion fine HSBC would pay, the largest ever for such a case. As the Guardian's Nils Pratley noted, "the sum represents about four weeks' earnings given the bank's pre-tax profits of $21.9bn last year." Unsurprisingly, "the steady upward progress of HSBC's share price since the scandal exploded in July was unaffected on Tuesday morning."

The New York Times Editors this morning announced: "It is a dark day for the rule of law." There is, said the NYT editors, "no doubt that the wrongdoing at HSBC was serious and pervasive." But the bank is simply too big, too powerful, too important to prosecute.

That's not merely a dark day for the rule of law. It's a wholesale repudiation of it. The US government is expressly saying that banking giants reside outside of - above - the rule of law, that they will not be punished when they get caught red-handed committing criminal offenses for which ordinary people are imprisoned for decades. Aside from the grotesque injustice, the signal it sends is as clear as it is destructive: you are free to commit whatever crimes you want without fear of prosecution. And obviously, if the US government would not prosecute these banks on the ground that they're too big and important, it would - yet again, or rather still - never let them fail.

But this case is the opposite of an anomaly. That the most powerful actors should be immunized from the rule of law - not merely treated better, but fully immunized - is a constant, widely affirmed precept in US justice. It's applied to powerful political and private sector actors alike. Over the past four years, the CIA and NSA have received the same gift, as have top Executive Branch officials, as has the telecom industry, as has most of the banking industry. This is how I described it in "With Liberty and Justice for Some":

"To hear our politicians and our press tell it, the conclusion is inescapable: we're far better off when political and financial elites - and they alone - are shielded from criminal accountability.

"It has become a virtual consensus among the elites that their members are so indispensable to the running of American society that vesting them with immunity from prosecution - even for the most egregious crimes - is not only in their interest but in our interest, too. Prosecutions, courtrooms, and prisons, it's hinted - and sometimes even explicitly stated - are for the rabble, like the street-side drug peddlers we occasionally glimpse from our car windows, not for the political and financial leaders who manage our nation and fuel our prosperity.

"It is simply too disruptive, distracting, and unjust, we are told, to subject them to the burden of legal consequences."

That is precisely the rationale explicitly invoked by DOJ officials to justify their decision to protect HSBC from criminal accountability. These are the same officials who previously immunized Bush-era torturers and warrantless eavesdroppers, telecom giants, and Wall Street executives, even as they continue to persecute whistleblowers at record rates and prosecute ordinary citizens - particularly poor and minorities - with extreme harshness even for trivial offenses. The administration that now offers the excuse that HSBC is too big to prosecute is the same one that quite consciously refused to attempt to break up these banks in the aftermath of the "too-big-to-fail" crisis of 2008, as former TARP overseer Neil Barofsky, among others, has spent years arguing.

And, of course, these HSBC-protectors in the Obama DOJ are the same officials responsible for maintaining and expanding what NYT Editorial Page editor Andrew Rosenthal has accurately described as "essentially a separate justice system for Muslims," one in which "the principle of due process is twisted and selectively applied, if it is applied at all." What has been created is not so much a "two-tiered justice system" as a multi-tiered one, entirely dependent on the identity of the alleged offender rather than the crimes of which they are accused.

Having different "justice systems" for citizens based on their status, wealth, power and prestige is exactly what the US founders argued most strenuously had to be avoided (even as they themselves maintained exactly such a system). But here we have in undeniable clarity not merely proof of exactly how this system functions, but also the rotted and fundamentally corrupt precept on which it's based: that some actors are simply too important and too powerful to punish criminally. As the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned in 2010, exempting the largest banks from criminal prosecution has meant that lawlessness and "venality" is now "at a higher level" in the US even than that which prevailed in the pervasively corrupt and lawless privatizing era in Russia.

Having the US government act specially to protect the most powerful factions, particularly banks, was a major impetus that sent people into the streets protesting both as part of the early Tea Party movement as well as the Occupy movement. As well as it should: it is truly difficult to imagine corruption and lawlessness more extreme than having the government explicitly place the most powerful factions above the rule of law even as it continues to subject everyone else to disgracefully harsh "justice". If this HSBC gift makes more manifest this radical corruption, then it will at least have achieved some good.

UPDATE

By coincidence, on the very same day that the DOJ announced that HSBC would not be indicted for its multiple money-laundering felonies, the New York Times published a story featuring the harrowing story of an African-American single mother of three who was sentenced to life imprisonment at the age of 27 for a minor drug offense:

"Stephanie George and Judge Roger Vinson had quite different opinions about the lockbox seized by the police from her home in Pensacola. She insisted she had no idea that a former boyfriend had hidden it in her attic. Judge Vinson considered the lockbox, containing a half-kilogram of cocaine, to be evidence of her guilt.

"But the defendant and the judge fully agreed about the fairness of the sentence he imposed in federal court.

"'Even though you have been involved in drugs and drug dealing,' Judge Vinson told Ms. George, 'your role has basically been as a girlfriend and bag holder and money holder but not actively involved in the drug dealing, so certainly in my judgment it does not warrant a life sentence.'

"Yet the judge had no other option on that morning 15 years ago. As her stunned family watched, Ms. George, then 27, who had never been accused of violence, was led from the courtroom to serve a sentence of life without parole.

"'I remember my mom crying out and asking the Lord why,' said Ms. George, now 42, in an interview at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee. 'Sometimes I still can't believe myself it could happen in America.'"

As the NYT notes - and read her whole story to get the full flavor of it - this is commonplace for the poor and for minorities in the US justice system. Contrast that deeply oppressive, merciless punishment system with the full-scale immunity bestowed on HSBC - along with virtually every powerful and rich lawbreaking faction in America over the last decade - and that is the living, breathing two-tiered US justice system. How this glaringly disparate, and explicitly status-based, treatment under the criminal law does not produce serious social unrest is mystifying.


 

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+63 # maddave 2012-12-12 17:02
Man and boy, I spent five campaigns in Viet Nam and thirty years in the military - for what? For this? In hindsight, I must have been out of my mind!
 
 
+33 # noitall 2012-12-12 17:19
two words "LEONARD PELTIER"!!
 
 
+35 # reiverpacific 2012-12-12 20:02
Quoting noitall:
two words "LEONARD PELTIER"!!

Amen Bro'.!!!!
The same forces of hypocrisy were aligned in illegally extraditing Peltier from Canada and disqualifying the judge who acquitted his two alleged co-assasins of S.A's Williams and Coler, the two FBI agents who invaded a spiritual encampment at Oglala on the flimsy excuse of looking for an Indian kid who'd allegedly stolen a pair of cowboy boots (from who was never disclosed).
The message -"defend your family, friends, people and territory at your peril! We'll get you somehow and work at makin' it look legal after the fact"!
The claim of naming this country as a democracy is more ludicrous by the day.
And may I add the name Bradley Manning to the huge list of those bearing the brunt of the revenge-machine apparatus.
But you know what? THEIR names, like Crazy Horse, William Wallace, Smedley Butler, Garcia Llorca, Aung San Suu Kyi, Cesar Chavez and so many others will survive their cowardly oppressors and gild true history with the light of honest journalism determinedly published by champions like the late, great Howard Zinn.
Fuck 'em; they "Ain't worth the water that runs down the drain" (B. Dylan).
I feel nothing but regret for those of you who have family members fighting in wars of aggression to buttress the cause of sociopathic corporations like this. May they see the light and become activists against them.
Woof -I needed that!
 
 
+38 # fredboy 2012-12-12 17:22
No surprises. When I was an investigative reporter a drug runner facing prosecution said big bankers were funding his operation. That was over 20 years ago. I guess it's just standard--and apparently accepted--pract ice now.
 
 
+12 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-12-12 21:21
The problem is that our nation has lost all sense of morality. We accept all sorts of behavior that should be unthinkable. Lying, cheating and stealing is just fine with us. We seem to lack the community right of disgracing or or shaming people for doing wrong. As long as they don't get caught, it is fine---and even if caught it is fine for the big boys. Our children have taken on this code of behavior. We need to have some rules of behavior that are expected and if not carried out shame and public disgrace should follow. Our members of Congress lie to us all the time and do not hold to their oath to uphold the Constitution. They do not vote in keeping with the opinions of their constituents. Our problem is that of the loss of any generally accepted idea of what is allowable behavior. any thing that makes a profit is good...and this is bad.
 
 
+4 # RLF 2012-12-13 12:54
If their prosecution really would damage the economy, then fine the crap out of them (not just 10% of what they made laundering money but 110%) and then freeze the stock and make the shareholders that profited from the transactions pay a price. They were all complicit, they should all pay. When they expect to make money and not pay attention or look the other way when the co.s they invest in break the law, then they are most certainly complicit.
 
 
+2 # bingers 2012-12-13 20:53
Quoting RLF:
If their prosecution really would damage the economy, then fine the crap out of them (not just 10% of what they made laundering money but 110%) and then freeze the stock and make the shareholders that profited from the transactions pay a price. They were all complicit, they should all pay. When they expect to make money and not pay attention or look the other way when the co.s they invest in break the law, then they are most certainly complicit.


The minimum penalty for money laundering should be at least 5 billion dollars and life imprisonment for every corporate executive and board member without the possibility of parole in a maximum security prison.

Money laundering problem solved!
 
 
+3 # Surflar 2012-12-13 19:38
Wow and we are scrutinized when we try to make minuscule deposits in our personal banks. Is the goal to incarcerate all of us for a supposed free society it sure doesn't seem like it? Seems like if your a big bank or big cartel the feds take you into their circle and you work for them. I still believe the CIA are the biggest drug dealers on earth. That's why it will never be legal because the price will drop and they won't be able to make their ugly deals
 
 
+27 # noitall 2012-12-12 17:29
The absense of justice, the cruelty, the helplessness of the accused, the pain, are all someone else's profit. They've built a huge business around it, to the point where stupid laws like the marijuana prohibition cannot be undone without "economic damage". Just as we must tolerate pollution and rising cancer for fossil fuel corporation profit; we must tolerate thousands locked up in prisons for non-violent crimes, away from their families and life for someone else's profitability. American JUST-US! Its a national embarrassment that most americans are blind to but the rest of the world sees clearly. America has become a sad lot on a lot of fronts.
 
 
+12 # maddave 2012-12-12 22:38
Quote:
we must tolerate thousands locked up in prisons for non-violent crimes
unquote

noitall, you are headed straight in the right direction,but you don't "noitall" by half. That number of those otherwise harmless people that the USA has imprisoned for non-violent, victimless crimes is well into the HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS - pushing a million! Directly and indirectly, The cost for this insane folly is in excess of $70,000,000,000 /year & counting.

Fredboy, above, was spot0on, too. To my knowledge, there has not been even ONE major drug king-pin apprehended and prosecuted in the USA for the past several decades . . . if there ever one even before that. . The ONLY reason that this is possible is that the authorities are not looking for major players, because if we were seriously looking, they'd simply arrest those who are dispensing the bribes and follow the money home.

One does not kill (arrest or prosecute) the goose that delivers the monthly paper sack containing the golden egg.
 
 
+43 # Johnny 2012-12-12 17:29
Corporations are people, says the Supreme Court, and therefore are protected by the Constitution, but they are immune to criminal prosecution because of their donations to the Democratic and Republican parties.
 
 
+25 # Woratnac 2012-12-12 17:46
Recently The Boston Globe ran an excellent series of articles on immigrants oppressed by another parallel injustice system in the US, the one oppressing immigrants. With courts existing within corporate-run jails, summary, draconian judgments are passed by judges who are themselves mere functionaries of US Heimat Sekuritat. The US's abuse of immigrants - like its abuse of "minorities" (fast becoming the US majority, of course) - merely adds to our status as one of the world's outstanding rogue nations. I was considering writing a letter to the Globe saying something much briefer than Greenwald, and then this fantastic article appeared. Thanks! The last sentence is what truly should make us all think.
 
 
+21 # James Marcus 2012-12-12 18:27
Yo! Name-o-Da-Game!
The Law Makers... are The Law Breakers! with Banksta Back-up, and plenty of 'Support'.
The 'Rue of Law' now lies comfortably buried, next to the 'Rules of Accounting'. Rest in Peace.
It's a 'Free-for-All' ( the Privileged and Connected). Screw the rest of you!
 
 
+12 # Nel 2012-12-12 18:34
Well,that's fomenting the law-of-the-jung le. God save the USA.
 
 
+23 # CarolynScarr 2012-12-12 18:40
Two more words Shakir Hamoodi, the Iraqi immigrant who sent money to his family in Iraq, suffering under the sanctions which killed over a million people. He helped his blind mother and his brothers and sisters and helped a few other Iraqi immigrants help their families. No money was ever shown to have gone for armaments or terrorism or anything harmful to the U.S. interests. Yet he is serving a 3 year sentence for breaking the deadly sanctions.

Oh yes, two more words, Geronimo Pratt, who was eventually exonerated after spending years in prison.
And Mumia Abu Jamal, three words for a man who came close to execution and is still in prison for a crime he did not commit.
There are a number of Panthers in prison on false evidence and many who were murdered by the police.
 
 
+12 # Doll 2012-12-12 19:58
You reminded me of Riverbend, the girl Iraqi blogger who had the website, "Baghdad Burning"

Last I heard, she and her brother fled to Syria (This can't be good).

Does anyone know what happened to her and her brother, "E"?
 
 
+26 # sharag 2012-12-12 19:07
I heard this news on the BBC on Tuesday and wondered how many people in the U.S. actually understood it, or even cared. It is stunning in its scope. Not only have they not punished HSBC, but really encouraged them to continue and expand these activities. "Banksters". Al Capone had nothing on these guys.
 
 
+18 # fishermanbob 2012-12-12 19:20
Thanks for the post Glenn. Looks like the same Obama as after his last election. Says one thing but after the election quckly returns to his true form of taking good care of the criminal rich.
 
 
+8 # cordleycoit 2012-12-12 20:27
And the criminals walked away counting their bonus money...Too big to jail.
 
 
+11 # rradiof 2012-12-12 20:38
To the barricades, mes freres. Sharpen the guillotine, because the Republic surely needs a Committee of Public Safety during this Reigh of Terror. Dieu nous aide tous! Over and out.
 
 
+1 # 666 2012-12-13 07:30
sic semper tyrannis
 
 
+3 # JSRaleigh 2012-12-12 22:12
Somewhere there's a kid downloading an MP3 of a song he didn't pay for.
 
 
+2 # robcarter.vn 2012-12-12 22:28
Say folks doesn't anyone agree that the great depression was caused by banks. Wiki says:-
There were multiple causes for the first downturn in 1929. These include the structural weaknesses and specific events that turned it into a major depression and the manner in which the downturn spread from country to country. In relation to the 1929 downturn, historians emphasize structural factors like major bank failures and the stock market crash. In contrast, monetarist economists (such as Barry Eichengreen, Milton Friedman and Peter Temin) point to monetary factors such as actions by the US Federal Reserve that contracted the money supply, as well as Britain's decision to return to the gold standard at pre–World War I parities (US$4.86:£1).
 
 
0 # robcarter.vn 2012-12-12 22:51
Yep & Check out:- Check out 7 Generals sacked since Patton. Or summary hanging Hussein and bullet for bin-Laden or Julien Assange, whilst whitewashing USA War crimes like Me Lai 500 raped/mutilated /murdered including babies. Wiki says:- Rules excuse idiots like " followed rules strictly" or "I followed orders" as in Me Lai Massacre/Murder of near 500 men, women & Children but still excuses Yankee Bias Viz., Mỹ Lai courts-martial was a reversal of the laws of war that were set forth in the Nuremberg and Tokyo War Crimes Tribunals. Secretary of the Army Howard Callaway quoted in The New York Times as stating that "Calley's sentence was reduced because Calley honestly believed that what he did was a part of his orders" —a rationale that stands in direct contradiction of the standards set at Nuremberg and Tokyo, where German and Japanese soldiers were executed for similar acts. (Pasted from ).
 
 
0 # wrknight 2012-12-12 23:09
Equal justice for every dollar. The more dollars, the more justice.
 
 
0 # tm7devils 2012-12-12 23:15
Anarchy is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be immoral.
The actions of our government, in regards to this article, shows that definition to be correct.
If A, then B. Q.E.D.
Democracy, which was on its deathbed, has - as of 12/12/12 - expired.
DNR - because if this is democracy...it' s the last thing we need.
(The Mayans almost got it correct - they only missed by 9 days!)
 
 
+2 # SundownLF 2012-12-12 23:49
I, too, hope that the girl who wrote 'Baghdad Burning, " Riverbend, is okay with her family in - of all places - Syria. What horrible/sad stories she had to tell, and how beautifully she told them.
 
 
-10 # Ralph Averill 2012-12-13 05:20
Punishing a corporation for crimes is like punishing a gun for murder.
 
 
+5 # MJnevetS 2012-12-13 08:59
Quoting Ralph Averill:
Punishing a corporation for crimes is like punishing a gun for murder.
Except, unlike a gun, a corporation is a 'person' per the Citizen's United opinion. As I've said previously on this site, until our government prosecutes the decision-makers of the corporations committing the illegal act, we are merely asking for a continuation of the criminal corporate culture.
 
 
+2 # maddave 2012-12-13 17:07
Oh, yeah, Ralph?
Raze a few corrupt corporations, turn the management and assets over to the otherwise innocent employees and watch the others come to Jesus in a hurry.
 
 
+1 # bingers 2012-12-13 20:58
Quoting Ralph Averill:
Punishing a corporation for crimes is like punishing a gun for murder.


According to the most corrupt Supreme Court in history, corporations are people, so they should get the death penalty and all their corporate level execs should get life in prison.
 
 
+3 # beachboy 2012-12-13 05:44
Dear Glen,
I am as outraged as you are about the banksters and their buddies, as well as Stephanie George and that righteous ass of a judge in notorious Florida, and I don't even live in the US any more...( too dangerous for pol. activists )

...but: the dense media bullshit that's spanning the US from coast to coast is the reason for the stunning silence! Remember: "It's the greatest country on earth!","...und er GOD!",so it's official!- that message with variations is pounded into your unprotected head 24/7
as a working/unemplo yed citizen.
The fog of propaganda is so dense, that 320 million US-Joe&Janes don't know which way is up any more. The rest of the citizens may be well informed, but can't get past the block of an immovable 320 million waste creators. To wit: Cal. Prop. 37 and the lying GMO-industry with their henchmen. In a few weeks, with plenty of money to be grabbed by many, the facts were trampled into mush by the ad industry and the media, who willingly print/bring the shit. Never mind that any intelligent person knows: This will be undemocratic and unhealthy for my kids. Sorry, folks, though you're not the only ones who 'voluntarily' suffer this regimen worldwide, you are the key element by size alone, and the rest of the world has to live with the stink of the diseased, farting elephant ! Thanks, but no thanks to y'all! TGFO! ( Thank God for occupy, to save what honour is left...)
"Have a nice day y'all!"
 
 
+2 # sschnapp 2012-12-13 10:33
Glenn Greenwald is an unrelenting truth-teller. Many thanks!!! This column brought to mind this song by another brilliant truth-teller (especially in his early years) . Copy & paste.
 
 
+2 # tm7devils 2012-12-13 11:39
RE: wrknight,
"Equal justice for every dollar. The more dollars, the more justice."

More justice for whom? When the 2% get an 'out of jail free' card there's no justice for the 99%.
Justice in this "democracy" is a sham.
The 2%, and their toadies(Congres s - for the most part) have no morals, ethics or critical thinking skills...with the real problem being that they don't care if they are epitomized as such. As long as their personal agendas and self-serving needs are met all else is immaterial.
I'd give my last dollar for a benevolent despot!
 
 
+1 # wrknight 2012-12-14 16:13
It's obvious. The more dollars you spend, the more justice you get. So it has to be that those who have the most dollars get the most justice.

Note: There is justice and then there is justice. For some of us, justice means judging right and wrong (i.e., just vs. unjust). For others, justice means getting a favorable judgement from the court (which may just or unjust). It is in the second sense that dollars purchase justice.
 
 
-1 # kibitzer 2012-12-15 23:07
I wonder if this sort of thing is quid pro quo for nobody on the 'Right' - except 'loonies'; branded as such by both the Left AND the 'respectable' Right - saying anything about Obama's clear ineligibility for the office of the president.

The fact that both main political parties tried a total of 8 times between 2003 and the elections of 2008 to get an amendment to the Constitution on this very question - of a citizen not being a, quote, 'natural born' citizen, ineligible for that particular office (and no other) - going through the Congress, and failing each time even to get the attempt out of committee, but then going schtum on the question, speaks volumes.

As for the New York Times editors announcing, on the HSBC fine, "it is a dark day for the rule of law", one is led ineluctably to think of horses and barns.
 
 
-1 # fhunter 2012-12-27 11:56
Mr. Greenwald is a NARROW MINDED little guy, who has no understanding of history.I have lived in Europe under the constant treat of a nuclear war, until Nixon removed the treat for good. I was on Nixon's enemies list, but I had to conclude that the real issue in the 1970s was the nuclear treat and not your petty burglary. Your self centered little brain! Disgusting!
 

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