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The Other Side of the Tracks blog by Word Press

Justice Not Applicable

The weekly socio-political commentary from activist, Perry Redd

The weekly socio-political commentary from activist, Perry Redd

The Other Side of the Tracks

A Socially Speaking commentary by Perry Redd

What I want is for people to go to jail…why?  Because “corporations are people, my friend.”  Oh, now you’ve got selective amnesia.  When Mitt Romney said that during the 2012 presidential election, you were all for the new mantra for capitalism.  So if I defer to you on this, then breaking the law—again and again—means that some body needs to go to jail.

We live in a country where, punishment is meted out in accordance to the crime (or not, if you’re Black), so why aren’t tons of JP Morgan Chase executives filling prison cells in the record settlement secured by the US Justice Department?  More importantly, why are we not flooding the congressional switchboards, crashing the President’s website and shutting down American streets in protest?  I’ll tell you why…’cause you’ve been bought.

For years, we’ve been ten steps removed of the ill and evil deeds of the corporate raiders of Wall Street.  We never feel that what they do to make themselves rich has any relevance to your life—until it their conduct makes itself relevant in your life…like credit card fees or foreclosure on your home.  Then, and only then, do you see that what Jamie Dimon does can make your life pure hell.  I really wish you would wake up.

The nation’s largest bank will pay a record $13 billion…and rightfully so.  The deal includes $4 billion for unspecified consumer relief and $9 billion in fines and other payments. The $9 billion includes a $4 billion accord with the Federal Housing Finance Agency over the bank’s sale of mortgage-backed securities. The proposed accord will probably require the bank to cooperate in criminal investigations of individuals tied to wrongdoing associated with the bank’s mortgage practices. The deal, which may be announced next week, also includes pending inquiries by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

With all that said, I have to remind you that Americans of all ilk go to jail for much less harmful conduct every day.  The pact, which isn’t yet final, doesn’t include a release of potential criminal liability for the bank, at the insistence of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Holder told JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon during talks that such a release wouldn’t be forthcoming as part of any deal.  In other words, he may have stolen the American public blind, but he isn’t going to do a day in jail for it.

Why won’t Dimon go to jail?  Oh, simply because JP Morgan is a corporation—and in this case, a corporation isn’t a “person.”  So if I read the tealeaves correctly, corporations are not people now.  In the same vein of the Citizens United case, we are screwed again by the same people who wrote laws to convict and imprison low-level drug offenders, three-strike offenders and deny reparative settlements for wrongly convicted and incarcerated men all over America (see The Innocence Project). 

Although this is a record settlement, you need to know that justice will not be applied here. This settlement would be more than half of JPMorgan’s record $21.3 billion in profits last year. Some portions of the deal, like relief to homeowners, would probably be tax deductible. That doesn’t make sense to me.  JP Morgan still gets tax relief in all of this.

Why, oh why should these mobsters in suits get any relief?  They’ve discriminated against Black homeowners, caused the overall subprime collapse of the US housing market and made false statements and omitted material facts in selling $33 billion in mortgage bonds to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from Sept. 7, 2005, through Sept. 19, 2007.  The company has so far paid more than $1 billion to five different regulators to settle allegations involving a more than $6.2 billion trading loss last year.

Hell, the false statements alone are contempt of court (I know, after serving an additional nine months in federal prison—as a “person!”) and anyone else would have been held accountable.  If the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice, then why isn’t it bending over the United States?  This failure to imprison these thieves is antithetical to the claim of “American Exceptionalism.”  If you hear anyone making that claim ever again, slap ‘em in the mouth one time for me!  There’s nothing exceptional about stealing from the working class.

You’ve got to ask, how these people—who run the corporation—are able to duck jail time? Executives at JPMorgan, Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns Cos., which were acquired by JPMorgan in 2008, knowingly misrepresented the quality of the loans underlying the bonds, among other things.  I didn’t make that up; that’s what the lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan says.

So, when will we get sick & tired of being sick & tired?  It’s a frontal assault on our intelligence to swallow the rhetoric that “corporations are people” and corporations can’t go to jail.  If that’s the logic, then the corporation—executives, staff, employees, janitors, desk furniture, home and satellite offices, files, filing cabinets—all need to be incarcerated! That, my friend, would fit the definition of applied justice.

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