Monday, December 16, 2019

Not Again

It's time to go down Memory Lane, beginning with a nugget of insight and one of good advice:

PBS' Frontline in 2013 broadcast "The Untouchables," an examination of the Obama Administration's failure to arrest or prosecute any major executive from the financial services industry for the fraud which precipitated the Great Recession. As explained by Glenn Greenwald, the investigation reported that prominent among those pushing the Administration to demand criminal accountability was Joe Biden's replacement in the Senate, then-Senator Ted Kaufman, a Democrat who

worked tirelessly to provide the DOJ with all the funds it needed to ensure probing criminal investigations and even to pressure and compel them to do so. Yet when he and his staff would meet with Breuer and other top DOJ officials, they would proudly tout the small mortgage brokers they were pursuing, in response to which Kafuman and his staff said: "No. Don't show me small-time mortgage guys in California. This is totally about what went on in Wall Street. . . . We are talking about investigating senior level Wall Street executives, even at the Board level"....

As Kaufman and his staffers make clear, Obama officials were plainly uninterested in pursuing criminal accountability for Wall Street. One former staffer to both Biden and Kaufman, Jeff Connaughton, wrote a book in 2011 - "The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins" - devoted to alerting the nation that the Obama DOJ refused even to try to find criminal culprits on Wall Street. In the book, this career-Democratic-aide-turned-whistleblower details how the levers of Washington power are used to shield and protect high-level Wall Street executives, many of whom have close ties to the leaders of both parties and themselves are former high-level government officials. This is a system, he makes clear, that is constituted to ensure that those executives never face real accountability even for their most egregious and destructive crimes.

President Obama and Attorney General Holder thereby demonstrated that when the President (responding to a question about torture and domestic eavesdropping) professed “a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” he was neither lying nor joking. In a wide range of matters, President Obama had no interest in holding anyone accountable.

Chalk this up as yet another factor in Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton, running for a third Obama term.  Hypocrisy did not prevent the GOP nominee from decrying "corruption" and portraying American government as a system that was "rigged" for the rich and powerful against the common man (as in "man").

It was a brilliant con, given that Trump intended to make things far worse so as to benefit the Repub Party and, especially, himself.  The House of Representatives has proceeded with impeachment proceedings which obviously will result in a mixed decision: impeachment and indictment in the House followed by acquittal in the Senate.

This renders stunning the failure of the current Democratic presidential candidates to affirm an intention to apply the "nobody is above the law" mantra to Donald Trump and his gang of criminals, assuming they are turned out of office next November. This could be done in a variety of ways including, but not limited to, announcing that a former Democratic presidential candidate would be on their short list of nominees for Attorney General. 

Impeachment is necessary, but not sufficient.  The real accounting begins once Donald Trump leaves office sometime in 2021.  At that time, President Obama's approach can serve as a guide- by demonstrating how justice is not to be done.

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