How TBTF Has Led to Legalised Plunder
The brazen, legalised and largely unpunished plunder still being perpetrated by a global cartel of financial criminals is undermining the rule of law and hence of a critical concept in democracy as we know it.
The blog below warns that the rule of law — arguably the central pillar of any self-respecting democracy — has lost virtually all its meaning under the sustained assault the voters and taxpayers have suffered since the GFC-Global Financial Crisis of 2007/8 captured regulators, prosecutors and politicians and provoked the worst recession in nearly 80 years.
This piece by Don Quijones, a freelance writer and translator based in Barcelona, Spain is republished with thanks and with his kind permission. Don Quijones’ blog — Raging Bull-Shit — “is a modest attempt to challenge some of the wishful thinking and scrub away the lathers of soft soap peddled by political and business leaders and their loyal mainstream media”.
04/07/2013 by Don Quijones
The 19th century French political theorist and economist Frederic Bastiat once warned that “when plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
For Bastiat, the sole purpose of government was to protect the right of an individual to life, liberty, and property. As such, it is both dangerous and morally wrong for a government to interfere in an individual’s other personal matters. From this, Bastiat concluded that the law cannot defend life, liberty, and property if it promotes “legal or legalised plunder,” which he defined as using government force and laws to take something from one individual and give it to others.
This, unfortunately, is precisely what is happening in the world we live in today. Our governments and central banks are now interfering in virtually every facet of the economic sphere, with one main goal: to ensure that money and the “property” it buys flows upwards from one group of people (i.e. us) to another (i.e. the too-big-to-fail banks).
As recent events have shown, the rule of law — arguably the central pillar of any self-respecting democracy — has lost virtually all its meaning. In the last week the world’s largest superpower has leveraged all its influence on planet Earth to track down one young man with a conscience – including getting its pathetic lickspittle allies in Europe to refuse airspace to the leader of a sovereign South American nation. Meanwhile, a judge in New York withdrew all charges against the UK bank HSBC for its role in laundering vast sums of money for Mexican drug cartels and Middle Eastern terrorist groups, in return for the payment of one-off fine.
So while Snowden is labelled a traitor, HSBC’s slate is wiped spotlessly clean of all the blood once staining it. The crimes never happened, and not a single employee will ever face charges for their part in managing the money of the world’s most violent and blood-thirsty groups. It is yet another example of how the laws of the land and the regulations governing the markets are being openly circumvented to allow banks to continue going about their criminal business. The Justice Department under Eric Holder has become little more than a protection racket for the banks, levying the occasional enabling fee for the crimes they commit.
Put simply, those charged with protecting the integrity of markets from the abuses of financial institutions are instead openly facilitating the abuses, as the London Banker deftly explains in his blog:
“It used to be that the role of the state in financial market regulation was to ensure efficient market operations, promote transparency of prices and liquidity, protect consumers from abusive practices, and to resolve failed companies according to principles of equitable distribution of assets among like classes of creditors. If the role of the state now is to shield HFT, dark pool and OTC markets from transparency, provide liquidity where the market fails, oversee the orderly fleecing of consumers, and to ensure that some creditors of failing firms always win while others always lose, then we no longer have a market economy. And as virtually all these regulatory policies have evolved in the absence of public debate and legislative scrutiny, we also no longer have democratic governance of markets.“
But it’s not just in the markets that the concept of democratic governance has been stripped of all meaning. In national governance itself democracy has become a shell of its former self, an empty word.
The NSA’s global spying and snooping operations recently blown wide open by Snowden’s heroic whistle-blowing are arguably the greatest assault on democratic governance since Adolf Hitler’s Enabling Act of 1933. Indeed, the accusations against the Obama Administration now dwarf the charges levelled against Nixon in the Watergate Scandal.
Crossing the Rubicon
By building the largest ever database of private correspondence and communications, the U.S. has finally and inexorably crossed over to the other side of the Rubicon. The “land of freedom” is no longer a republic or a democracy but instead merely the latest in a long line of ruthless empires.
Since devowing all democratic conventions and mores in the wake of September 11th, the U.S. has, with a little help from its friends, sown death, discord and despair across the Middle East and North Africa — a vast, strategically vital, highly populous area that is now perilously close to full-blown regional war.
And all in the name of a war on an abstract noun called “Terror”. Yet what we’re rarely told is that most of the so-called “terrorist organizations” in the world today were either created or supported militarily/financially at some point by the US government itself. From the “rebels” in Libya to the “freedom fighters” in Syria and even Al Qaeda itself, the U.S. government has provided military and financial aid, guidance and support to the very same terrorist groups we’re supposedly fighting on the home front — a battle in whose name we’re expected to sacrifice all our individual rights and protections.
And is if that were not enough, the NSA, with the help of the UK’s General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), has been bugging the phones and computers of national leaders of countries across the globe — including its supposed allies in Europe.
Put simply, the U.S. government has gone rogue, succumbing to a shadow government that operates in complete secrecy and holds itself and its corporate partners above all laws of all lands. Once a beacon of hope and inspiration for a world grown weary of monarchical tyranny, the U.S. Constitution has been rendered almost entirely meaningless — apart from as a rallying point for those who, like Snowden, continue to see the difference between the rule of law and the law of rule. It is now up to them — and all other supporters of democracy and freedom across the globe — to reclaim the democratic heritage bestowed upon us by the founding fathers – Don Quijones.
- The New Barbarians (pilgrimpassing.com)
- QOTD: Bastiat on Plunder (ritholtz.com)
- Don Quijones: The Financial Takeover Of “Our” Newspapers (nakedcapitalism.com)
- Bastiat: Identify and Abolish (ipocblog.wordpress.com)
- HSBC scandal: Britain’s biggest bank let drug gangs launder
- Europe’s Future – Resignation or Revolution ?
- Euro, Dollar, Democracy — Down the Pan?
- Happy (Global-Debt-Jubilee) New Year to All
- EU’s Sovereign Debt Crisis – Just Cancel It?
- Cyprus: European Economic Heart Attack Ahead?
- Democracy at a Dangerous Crossroad
- The Biggest Financial Crisis in 75 Years
- “The Enemy is the World of Finance” – Hollande
- Financial Napoleons out to Crush Europe
- Crony Capitalism Corroding Democracy
- EuroCrisis: ‘You Can’t Make Up How Bad It Is’
- Bring them to Book (2008) – Who’s Won (2013)?
- Bolivian plane rerouted on Snowden suspicions – USA Today