"Mr. Taibbi's tale begins inside a Manhattan courtroom last year, as New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. brings the first prosecution against a bank since the 2008 financial meltdown. 'If we've learned anything from the recent mortgage crisis,' Mr. Vance says, 'it's that at some point, these schemes will unravel and taxpayers could be left holding the bag." So which of the nation's many culpable financial institutions is getting its belated comeuppance? A small, family-owned Chinatown operation you've probably never heard of called Abacus Federal Savings Bank. Mr. Taibbi argues that this 'collection of freaked-out immigrant patsies' was guilty of little more than not detecting early enough that some of its non-deadbeat loan clients were underreporting their incomes on mortgage applications.
'Everyone got what they wanted from the Abacus prosecution,' he writes. "The city got to say it was being tough on financial crime. The press got to run a thrilling picture of harsh justice. Mr. Vance got a line to add to his résumé. The only losers were the public, who had no idea that the real culprits for the financial crisis were being set free, while the bank on trial had nothing to do with the losses that had been suffered by almost every ordinary American in the crash.
This technique of whiplash juxtaposition is Mr. Taibbi's main narrative device. Abacus, whose 19 defendants were reportedly chained together for their first perp-walk through the courtroom, is held up against 2008's parade of horribles—Countrywide, Citigroup ,JPMorgan Chase, AIG—each of which, eventually, signed non-prosecution agreements with the Department of Justice, paying massive civil fines for such offenses as mortgage fraud and discriminatory lending practices instead of having the institutions or their employees suffer criminal sanction.
It would be one thing to simply point at such judicial disparity and cry foul. Mr. Taibbi's contribution is to trace the bureaucratic process that created a prosecutorial doctrine that calls for weighing 'collateral consequences'—that is, anything that might hurt innocent bystanders—when deciding whether to bring a case against a corporation. 'Prosecutors may take into account the possibly substantial consequences to a corporation's officers, directors, employees, and shareholders,' reads a 1999 Justice Department memo written by a then obscure lawyer named Eric Holder.By 2009, Mr. Holder's collateral-consequences memo had melded with the concept that some banks were so important to the economy that they were 'too big to fail.' When Mr. Holder's Justice Department announced that it would not prosecute the Swiss bank UBS for its role in the Libor price-fixing scandal but would instead extract a $1.5 billion settlement, the attorney general explained the logic: 'I'm not talking about this case, but in others that we have resolved, the impact on the stability of the financial markets around the world is something that we take into consideration.' Not only were large banks essentially immune from prosecutions, their executives were, too.Such delicate enforcement could not be in sharper contrast, Mr. Taibbi argues, to the routine police and prosecutorial overreach exercised against minority and immigrant populations in the United States."
So, Democrats throw poor people from Chinatown under the bus who didn't donate to the DNC, but give a slap on the wrist to big campaign donors. The blatant double standard reminds me of the horrible anti-Chinese bias displayed in 1960s Barbara Stanwyck TV show "Big Valley" episode "Down Shadow Street", where her sons taunt a Chinese character with a *gasp* chicken!
Wing Lee should have realized that if life hands you chickens, fry them into General Tso and serve with sweet and sour sauce. The above clip from "Big Valley" reminds me of "Monty Python Search for the Holy Grail" scene of the knights who say "Ni!":"oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say ni at will to old ladies. A pestilence is on this land. Even those who arrange and design shrubbery's are under considerable economic stress at this period in history"
Rule 5 Sunday: Formal Affairs
44 minutes ago