Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover
we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.
AP’s Today in History for August 28th
Martin Luther King, Jr. gives his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech; Clashes mar the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago; Black teen Emmett Till abducted and killed in Mississippi; Britain’s Prince Charles and Princess Diana granted a divorce.
Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below
White-Collar Criminals Got Off Scot-Free After the 2008 Financial Crisis — and That Helped Fuel President Trump’s Rise
Marshall Auerback, Independent Media Institute
In the aftermath of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, bank officials at HSBC admitted to the Department of Justice that the bank violated the Bank Secrecy Act, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act. This amounted to one of the largest and most destructive money laundering and anti-terror finance sanctions-busting in history. Fines were leveled, but no senior bankers went to jail. In another investigation, the DOJ implicated Deutsche Bank and UBS in a bid-rigging cartel that illegally manipulated LIBOR, the most important global benchmark interest rate. Professor Bill Black estimates that the “dollar amount of deals affected by the collusion range[s] from $300-550 trillion in deals manipulated at any given time.” It was a scandal that may have been history’s largest financial crime, yet the U.S. Department of Justice refused to prosecute any of the elite bank officers involved.
As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 2008 crash, ProPublica’s Jesse Eisinger reminds usthat no top bankers were ever “held accountable for the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression… No one. No top officer from any major bank went to prison.” All of these instances of corporate corruption occurred well before Trump’s election. Trump stands accused of much the same. But how do you make a political case for the latter’s impeachment on the grounds of corporate corruption (even as the president virtually daily violates the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause), given the earlier reticence of multitudes of politicians, regulators, and DOJ officials to prosecute similar white-collar crimes whose impact dwarfed those allegedly committed by America’s 45th president?
It says something about the way we have (to paraphrase the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan) as a society gotten very soft on criminal deviancy that the practices alleged to have been perpetrated by Trump not only in the 2016 election,but also for decades before in his real estate ventures, no longer appear to be disqualifications for the office of the presidency, let alone grounds for impeachment. The previous Obama administration’s embrace of the concept that the systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs), particularly the largest banks, whose senior officials were “too big to jail,” meant that the bankers who grew wealthy from leading the largest and most destructive fraud schemes in banking history got off scot-free. And they also created a context in which the business practices of a candidate like Donald Trump were normalized to a degree that they were considered an insufficient bar to block him from the presidency.
These facts are worth recalling in the context of the recent convictions of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on charges related to bank and tax fraud, and the guilty plea by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who directly implicated the president in campaign finance law violations. As sordid as their actions were, they are small beer compared to what took place in the decade, in which a whole industry literally succumbed to an epidemic of fraud, money laundering, and other forms of malfeasance.
The Democrats’ largely absentee approach to the problem of white-collar crime could well explain why the party and the special independent prosecutor continue their efforts to make the case for “Russian collusion.” The theory being that conspiracy with a foreign power to influence an election will create a sufficient threshold to attain the “high crimes and misdemeanors” standard needed to secure impeachment.
Treason is also sexier than white-collar crime and, in theory, easier to prosecute. But it’s still not a slam dunk. We’re now 18 months into Mueller, and the polls still suggest that the Democrats have not gained sufficient political traction with this issue beyond their base. No smoking gun has yet emerged, or least insufficient evidence to encourage Republicans to abandon their president. Hence, calling for impeachment remains a risky strategy if Mueller fails to deliver the goods, as it will appear to many voters that the Democrats are using the courts to overturn an election result (much as Democrats used to allege during the GOP/Ken Starr-led impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton). But, it’s also hard to make an impeachment case on the basis of white-collar offenses, given the Democratic Party’s historic accommodation of Wall Street criminality.
And until the Democrats come face-to-face with their legacy—their complicity in failing to bring about “change you can believe in” in the aftermath of 2008—it will be harder for them to argue for Trump’s removal on that basis, at least to the degree that is required to secure bipartisan support. A promised “return to normality” isn’t enough, given what “normality” gave us 10 years ago. Democrats can’t enable arsonists, and then complain when the fire spins out of control. But that’s exactly the situation in which we find ourselves today with our modern-day Nero tweeting as Washington, D.C., continues to burn
- What on Earth is Obama doing?
- What The Party ‘Strategists’ Say Is Not What The Voters Want
It’s a class war. The rich are winning
- Two Challenges The Single-Payer Movement Must Address
- If Trump shot Michael Cohen in broad daylight, here’s what Republicans would say
Lawrence Douglas and Alexander George
- Why the Chicago ’68 Convention Matters Today
Something to think about over coffee prozac
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A supermarket customer’s tweet on stickers placed over the opening of bagged deli meats got the attention of New Hampshire’s governor, and a change.
NH1 reports Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith recently took to Twitter to ask that the company, Market Basket, not put the price tag stickers over the zipper of the meat bag. He said it’s impossible to open it without destroying the bag.
Gov. Chris Sununu responded, saying he has to re-bag cheese every time because of the problem.
Market Basket answered that it would speak to its deli departments about it.
On Tuesday, both Smith and Sununu tweeted that the stickers were moved to the bag itself.
Sununu said he was celebrating with grilled cheese for dinner.