Above the Law

by Daniel McNeet on May 23, 2012

Good day, good people.

For devotees of the English language: Collybist is a noun. It is a usurer.

“No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man’s permission when we ask him to obey it.” President Theodore Roosevelt 1908 And, this includes presidents of the United States.

Capitalism is an economic system characterized by private or corporation ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision rather than by state control, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are mainly determined in a free market. There appears to be no better business model. It is not the model that is the problems in our society; it is the CEOs who lack a moral sense, pervert it and operate in it which is the problem.

There is no way to legislate against stupidity, greed, dishonesty and the human imagination to circumvent the laws. No contract or law is better than the people involved. The sovereigns lobby the regulators and succeed in removing regulations of the legislation they do not like or want.

In order to create the profit you must obey the law. It appears that JP Morgan did not. Senator Carl Levin who wrote language in Dodd-Frank to prevent Morgan and other Wall Street Firms and banks from doing what Morgan did said, the two billion dollar loss suffered by the bank was because the bank engaged in illegal betting with a portfolio of synthetic swap derivatives, and it was not a hedge against a single investment. Morgan is worth about 1.2 trillion and the loss is manageable, but this is not the point. The point is: Jamie Dimon, the CEO of Morgan and his colleagues violated the law. What if a big bank which cannot manage a loss by violating the law fails?

There is no doubt that banks take risks. It is the nature of the business. Every time they make a loan there is a risk of nonpayment. Also, when they make a proprietary trade or investment there is a risk. Now if a big U.S. bank fails, it is not going to be bailed out. The repercussions due to the illegal activity of the bank could be catastrophic.

It is indeed unfortunate that Gerald Ford pardoned President Nixon. There is no doubt he was guilty of felonies. His arrogance led him to believe he was above the law, and he was not. It set a bad example for presidents to follow. The Cheney administration fronted by George W. Bush comes to mind. He went to war illegally in Iraq and is responsible as a result of that illegal act for the homicides of our military personnel, the military personnel of Iraq and all civilians. When is he going to be prosecuted? Bush’s lack of prosecution is another bad example of the presidents who believe they are above the law, and they are not.

Until chief executive officers of the big corporations, the sovereigns, in America who commit felonies are indicted, prosecuted, found guilty and sent to prison for long terms, they will all believe they are above the law and continue to commit crimes. This is a bad role model.

The CEOs of Wall Street firms and banks committed the crimes of defrauding their customers and other felonies. Wall Street and the banks are responsible for the 2008 recession. They corrupted the raters of securities. The rating companies either did not do their job of due diligence, or they conspired to rate the toxic derivatives as triple A for profit so they could be sold to any customer including pension funds, trusts, municipalities and others whom by law could only buy triple A securities. They had a total disregard for the consequences to others who suffered as result of their perfidy. The reason they violated the law is: they worshiped and still worship the money god — Greed. Their motto: “Thou shalt have no other god before money.” The culture is corrupt. They are without a moral sense. Nothing has changed today. It is still greed first, shareholders second and customers and society last.

The nonprosecution of those whom commit crimes in the sovereigns sets a bad example for all of the honest capitalists whom might be tempted but might be deterred by sending the law breakers to prison for long terms. At least the honest among us might have a second thought and decide to stay honest. Eighty to eighty-five percent of all people employed in the U.S. are employed by companies which have less than five hundred employees. As a result of the illegal activities of Wall Street and the banks these small companies suffered and so did the people who had worked for these companies.

Pfizer, Amgen and GlaxoSmithKline were fined billions of dollars for intentionally selling pharmaceuticals off brand. No CEOs were prosecuted for their crimes. The fines were miniscule in relation to the billions of dollars of profits they made by intentionally violating the law. And this is of course why they did it. They believe they are above the law, violated it knowingly and intentionally because of their disregard for the rule of law and the health of their victims.

Capitalism is the best system, but it is also includes some of the worst people — predators. The good people among us whom rob the poor are the worst of the lot. An example of collybists comes to mind if their conduct was not legal in some states. Lenders including major credit card companies and pay-day lenders have become today’s loan sharks. They are charging high-rates of interest and interest on late fees which can make the interest rate six hundred percent a year. According to Gary Rivlin who wrote Broke USA said “. . . the poor pay an effective surcharge of about thirty billion a year for the financial and banking services they use.” It is always an amoral few who cause the suffering of the innocent.

What I would like to know is: What is the total of the bribes paid to and perquisites enjoyed by legislators, not disguised as campaign contributions, to pass these usury laws for the benefit of the corporations whom prey on the most vulnerable in our society.

Another group of humanitarians is described by Kim Bobo in her book Wage Theft in America. The employers in the private sector reap one hundred billion dollars annually by requiring workers to work hours without being paid, failing to pay minimum wage and refusing to honor overtime pay differentials.

Also, the culture of Congress and politics is corrupt. No one believes money given to the members and politicians by lobbyists and big corporations are not bribes. And for a member or politician to tell the public the money did not influence his or her vote only compounds the corruption — lying. Now, that we are in the era of super PACs, political action committees, which can give as much money as they want to any candidate without disclosing the donors, it prompts this question. What is the reward to be for the donors? For sure it is not for good government, but what is it? Does it have anything to do with return on investment, ROI? For sure.

I do not believe in the good fairy, the Easter bunny or Santa Claus. But, I do believe in Eric Holder the U.S. Attorney General. He is a good man. I hope he is investigating the above law breakers. But all of my dreams and hopes have not come true in the past either. Fortunately, the sun will rise again.

What is your thought on the contribution prison sentences for CEOs who violate the law would make to the changing of the corrupt culture which now exists?

Contacting me with comments and constructive criticisms with honesty and pleasantness their constant companions will always be welcomed.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Maggie October 5, 2015 at 2:12 pm

I love that picture that you have on this page and I’m wondering if it’s in public domain or can be used for my school’s yearbook. Can you please contact me if we can or cannot use it.
Thank you very much
Maggie Boing Clubs Editor


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