Scarcely a day goes by in the United States without a news story about serious ethical/criminal misbehavior by a bank or stock brokerage or credit-rating agency or insurance agency or derivatives firm or some other parasitic financial institution. Most of these firms produce no goods or services useful to human beings, but spend their days engaged in the manipulation of money, credit and markets, employing dozens of kinds of speculation.
Consider the jail time served for civil disobedience by environmental, justice and anti-war activists, in contrast to the lifestyle enjoyed by the wicked ones who crashed the financial system and continue to fund the wounding of our bleeding planet.
The federal and state governments threaten to sue the financial institutions. Sometimes they actually do sue them. And a penalty is paid. And then the next scandal pops up. And another penalty is paid. And so it goes.
Picture this: A fleet of police cars pulls up in front of Bank of America’s Corporate Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. A dozen police officers get out, enter the building, and take the elevator to the offices of the bank’s top executives. Minutes later the president and two vice-presidents—their arms tightly bound in handcuffs behind their back—are paraded through the building in full view of their employees who stare wide-eyed and open-mouthed. The sidewalk is of course fully occupied by the media as the police encircle the building with tape saying “No tresspassing. Crime scene. .”
But remember, just because America has been taken over by mendacious mass-murdering madmen doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time.
William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2; Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower; West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir; Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire. Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org.