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Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:55 AM
Original message
Glenn Greenwald: The Two-Tiered Justice System: Example After Example...
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 10:01 AM by Hissyspit
http://mobile.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/20...

THU, 14 APR 2011 04:15:00 ET

The two-tiered justice system: an illustration
The lack of Wall Street prosecutions reveals the full-scale immunity vested in elites


BY GLENN GREENWALD

Of all the topics on which I've focused, I've likely written most about America's two-tiered justice system -- the way in which political and financial elites now enjoy virtually full-scale legal immunity for even the most egregious lawbreaking, while ordinary Americans, especially the poor and racial and ethnic minorities, are subjected to exactly the opposite treatment: the world's largest prison state and most merciless justice system. That full-scale destruction of the rule of law is also the topic of my forthcoming book. But The New York Times this morning has a long article so perfectly illustrating what I mean by "two-tiered justice system" -- and the way in which it obliterates the core covenant of the American Founding: equality before the law -- that it's impossible for me not to highlight it.

The article's headline tells most of the story: "In Financial Crisis, No Prosecutions of Top Figures." It asks: "why, in the aftermath of a financial mess that generated hundreds of billions in losses, have no high-profile participants in the disaster been prosecuted?" And it recounts that not only have no high-level culprits been indicted (or even subjected to meaningful criminal investigations), but few have suffered any financial repercussions in the form of civil enforcements or other lawsuits. The evidence of rampant criminality that led to the 2008 financial crisis is overwhelming, but perhaps the clearest and most compelling such evidence comes from long-time Wall-Street-servant Alan Greenspan; even he was forced to acknowledge that much of the precipitating conduct was "certainly illegal and clearly criminal" and that "a lot of that stuff was just plain fraud."

Despite that clarity and abundance of the evidence proving pervasive criminality, it's entirely unsurprising that there have been no real criminal investigations or prosecutions. That's because the overarching "principle" of our justice system is that criminal prosecutions are only for ordinary rabble, not for those who are most politically and financially empowered. We have thus created precisely the two-tiered justice system against which the Founders most stridently warned and which contemporary legal scholars all agree is the hallmark of a lawless political culture. Lest there be any doubt about that claim, just consider the following facts and events:

When Bush officials were revealed to have established a worldwide torture regime (including tactics which Obama's Attorney General flatly stated were illegal) and spied on Americans without the warrants required by law (which Obama himself insisted was criminal), what happened? This, from The New York Times, January 11, 2009:

MORE AT LINK - READ THE WHOLE THING

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closeupready Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
1. I agree with many of Greenwald's points here.
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 10:01 AM by closeupready
It's an outrage and I predict you will see a rise in organized crime in response, if history can be a guide to how societies adapt to an unequal, unjust system. A breakdown in civil society, since a civil society can only work if citizens cooperate, and in a system where minorities and others are treated unfairly, you find that they proportionately refuse to cooperate with authorities and instead, turn to each other to see that justice is done.
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dotymed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #1
14. Our Government is organized crime.
All for the "Fat Cats."
Revolution is the ONLY answer.
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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
2. I wish I could rec this 1000 times
And for all the pretty speechs -- this president has BETRAYED the people who put him in office by NOT prosecuting his *buddies*. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if his cabinet members were doing more to run cover for THEIR former co-workers than actually ding the jobs they were appointed to.
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Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. Kick it. nt
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The Doctor. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #2
22. No, it's not that simple.

He has been told, in particular ways, that were he to actually do the will of the people, his term would be abruptly 'limited'. His choice, like so many other leaders, was 'do what we say and have a chance at doing some good' or 'you get what's in the other pocket'.

There is a much more frightening reality than you might be willing to accept.

Right now, Obama is the best hope.
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #22
37. "The other pocket" - I have accepted this reality for a long time,
and been called paranoid and a conspiracy kook whenever I've dared to voice my suspicions out loud.
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loudsue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #2
33. ++++++100,000,000,000 I wish I could rec this more, too.
The two-tier justice system in this country is deplorable.
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:42 AM
Response to Original message
3. Yep
You read this and you have to think: Yep.

And ya know: It is good to be King.

"Step out of line and the man comes and takes you away"
Will this too make the top of the page in our dungeon?
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RadiationTherapy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
4. Like the wall street millionaire pedophile rapist
who had 12 year old sex slaves "delivered to him for his birthday".
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 01:38 PM
Response to Reply #4
38. Huh??? Is this true? It's something I haven't heard of before.
Re ...the wall street millionaire pedophile rapist who had 12 year old sex slaves "delivered to him for his birthday".

What is this bastard's name, and do you have a link to the story? I'm not doubting what you say--I'd just like more information.


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Aerows Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. Jeffery Epstein
He had 3 twelve year old french girls delivered to him on his birthday, and multiple other offenses. He got probation.
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. Thanks - I'm sure Google will tell me everything else I need to know,
or have the stomach for.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:48 AM
Response to Original message
5. You linked to the mobile version
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
6. Many people have asked that question. 'Why have there been
no investigations even of the Biggest Bank Heist in History'?

They did what they did deliberately. The has been more than evidence of that. The least they could get away with is criminal negligence, but with everything that has been revealed we know that they deliberately took risks that were against the law (especially in the mortgage scandal) and then tried to cover them up.

I read somewhere recently that 15% of America's wealth simply disappeared. As Michael Moore asked in 'Capitalism A Love Storty' when he went to Wall St. to collect the people's money, and put yellow criminal tape around it, carrying big sacks 'What happened to our money'??

Yet, no one seems interested in finding out, and to add insult to injury, they are trying to make Americans workers pay their bills.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 02:41 AM
Response to Reply #6
29. You would enjoy Matt Taibbi's Griftopia if you haven't already read it, sabrina 1.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #29
35. I haven't, but thank you for the suggestion, JDPriestly
I will put it on my list. Taibbi was on TV last night with Elliot Spitzer and both of them expressed their opinions on the lack of prosecutions in this scandal. Spitzer especially was outraged and said that if Holder does not begin investigations, he should step down.
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #6
40. "Why have there been no investigations even of the biggest bank heist in history?"
is a question that answers itself. Sure, it opens the door to a lot of other questions, but those questions are more in the nature of supporting evidence, or lack of it. But the basic question answers itself.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
8. Bernie Madoff wasn't prosecuted?
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rfranklin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. He was...because he stole from the rich...
That observation has little relevance to the Wall Streeters that committed massive fraud and received massive bailouts and who are now enjoying fantastic rewards once again.
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Thunderstruck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Exactly. That's like a "duh" one there.
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walldude Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #8
16. LMAO.... Really?
That's your defense for the men responsible for a near global economic collapse? That Madoff is in jail?


Madoff is in jail because he burned RICH PEOPLE.
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JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. Actually, Madoff is in prison because he turned himself in.
His sons played a theater piece for the New York press, claiming he had tearfully confessed that the business in which they had taken part for decades was a scam, and somehow they never noticed. The only reason he did this was because his scam had failed and he was no longer able to meet payments to his suckers. If he'd kept up the payments (kept getting new suckers to pay in) he would still be living on the high hog, but the financial collapse caused investors to become scarce.

Markopoulos believes Madoff preferred prison because he had been ripping off gangsters, and they were going to kill him and his family. They probably did kill his son, but that will never be known. There's a level of professional killing that will only rarely leave evidence.

Obviously it's a joke to even mention him as an example of justice being done for the frauds that caused the infinitely greater financial meltdown of 2007-2009. If anything, he's the exception that proves a rule, in this case: That bankster chiefs don't go to prison any more. He's in prison because he was not a bankster chief.
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Kingofalldems Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #8
17. Defend those rich people--that's the GOP motto!
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JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #8
20. Isn't that a rather solitary figleaf to be waving three years into the banksters' amnesty?
Madoff turned himself in because his scheme had failed. He preferred prison to what his Russian gangster associates were going to do to him for ripping them off.

So saith the world's leading expert on Madoff, Harry Markopoulos, who researched and revealed the scam to the SEC and the Wall Street Journal years before the Ponzi scheme finally failed.

But the SEC and WSJ didn't do shit about it, illustrating the very point that you think you're refuting by mentioning Madoff. He had acted with impunity for decades, even though the main banks also were aware his business was a scam. By turning himself in, Madoff may have also hoped to spare his family, claiming he did it all by himself. (His son killed himself recently, or was suicided.)

Madoff's Ponzi scheme was unrelated to the housing market and derivatives scams that caused the big crash and opened the way for the government bailouts. These frauds totalled thousands of times what Madoff had done. None of those guys have been nailed.

Everyone should watch this fine Oscar-winning documentary right now: Inside Job, dir. Charles Ferguson. Two hours on the Wall Street scams, and somehow he managed to ignore Madoff altogether. Because Madoff was a trifle compared to the main story of the housing, securities and derivatives frauds by Goldman Sachs and the rest of the big Wall Street banks.
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HankyDubs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 12:02 AM
Response to Reply #8
23. the banksters knew what Madoff was up to
and did nothing to stop him. He was a useful scapegoat though.
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upi402 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
9. so...
Obama states publicly that he knows a thing to be illegal, then continues the policy (promulgates it knowingly) and we wonder why the DoJ hides its thumbs???

k/r
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:23 PM
Response to Original message
10. Kicked and recommended.
Thanks for the thread, Hissyspit.
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mrdmk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
11. K & R, for too much and too little at the same time
Incredible!
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pmorlan1 Donating Member (763 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
13. Excellent Post
It's simply amazing to me that we don't have more people here at DU who are upset about our two-tiered system of justice. Every candidate at every debate, press conference, online chat, etc. should be asked what they are going to do about this unequal treatment under law.
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Bake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 07:50 PM
Response to Original message
18. Blankfein (Mr. "Doing God's Work") of Goldman ought to be in chains right now.
But it will never happen.

Bake
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The Wizard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 08:46 PM
Response to Original message
19. They stole national elections
looted the treasury and started a war of aggression, all without consequence. Equal justice under law is a nice slogan, nothing more. Whether we acknowledge it or not, the United States is down the crapper.
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girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 12:16 AM
Response to Original message
24. k & r
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paulkienitz Donating Member (313 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 01:04 AM
Response to Original message
25. actually it has three tiers
elite, suburban, and ghetto.
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Zanzoobar Donating Member (618 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 01:14 AM
Response to Original message
26.  You don't want a one tiered justice system. Trust me.
Somebody would hand you a jillion bucks for making a few simple mistakes, and then where would you be?

Right back in the clubhouse sipping your mint julips. You wouldn't have a chance against the rabble.

It's better this way. You're much better off dumpster diving.
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Kaleko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 02:40 AM
Response to Original message
27. K & R
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 02:41 AM
Response to Original message
28. DUers who have doubts about Greenwald's statements should
spend, let's say a few days, preferably a week of days (not consecutive days) visiting their local criminal courthouse or courtrooms. Watch what the defendants look like. Listen carefully to find out what kinds of offenses are brought up.

Poor people are accused of fraud, of cashing forged checks, of stealing cars, lots of people accused of driving under the influence. Then there are the people who simply lose their tempers. Don't forget the shoplifters (some of them mothers of families), those who are accused of welfare fraud. And then there is drug court, gang members, a lot of assault including spousal assault or assault on some other family member. Of course there are also a few homicide cases and assaults with a deadly weapon. I haven't begun to exhaust the list, but as you can see, most of the crimes are the sort that poor people commit.

Very rarely does a person who committed fraud on a person buying a house or a mortgage get called in and questioned, much less indicted.

Of course, the crimes that are prosecuted are real crimes and need to be prosecuted, but crimes that are much more serious in terms of their detrimental effect on large numbers of people are committed by more influential people, and they are rarely prosecuted.

Just go and watch. Don't expect it to be all that interesting. You won't see many Perry Masons. It's all kind of a cheap, tawdry affair, with few exceptions, it is not a dramatic show.
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 04:26 AM
Response to Original message
30. Well, gee. We wouldn't want "the people" to lose faith in their country...
their government...the system...by an admission - through prosecutions - of criminality.

Snort
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Mnemosyne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 07:16 AM
Response to Original message
31. K&R for truth. n/t
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 08:11 AM
Response to Original message
32. k+r
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Hotler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 09:47 AM
Response to Original message
34. k&r n/t
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Horse with no Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
36. Our criminal justice system is based on picking the low-hanging fruit
People who do not have the money to mount adequate defenses. Hot checks--written for groceries and medical care many times--will land you in jail.

I still have yet to hear an adequate explanation about the difference of writing a hot check and not paying a credit card bill--why one will land you in jail while the other will only land you with credit blemishes. That is the bottom of the class war. People (usually women) who are hanging between the middle and poor classes are generally the most prosecuted for hot checks (not including deliberate fraud schemes or forgeries) trying to juggle household expenses and short paychecks.

Prosecutors use the statistics of these arrests and prosecutions to get re-elected. ALWAYS on the backs of poor people. ALWAYS.
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Capitalocracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 02:36 PM
Response to Original message
42. For those of us who don't have those fancy-schmancy phone thingies
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Overseas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-16-11 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
43. so true. so sad.
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