Guest Post: Too Big To Jail

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by John Aziz of Azizonomics blog,

What’s worse than unjust and ineffective laws like the failed War on Drugs and the failed sanctions on Iran?

Unjust and ineffective laws that apply to ordinary folks, but not to banksters:

When the Justice Department announced its record $1.9 billion settlement against British bank HSBC last week, prosecutors called it a powerful blow to a dysfunctional institution accused of laundering money for Iran, Libya and Mexico’s murderous drug cartels.


But to some former federal prosecutors, it was only the latest case of the government stopping short of bringing criminal money laundering charges against a big bank or its executives, at least in part on the rationale that such prosecutions could be devastating enough to cause such banks to fail.


They say it sounds a lot like the “too big to fail” meme that kept big but sickly banks alive on the support of taxpayer-funded bailouts. In these cases, they call it, “Too big to jail.”

This stings. It should sting anyone who cares about the idea of equality in front of the law, anyone who cares about the basic rule of law, anyone who doesn’t want to see their society devolve into a festering pool of feudalism.

According to the most recent data, there were 197,050 sentenced prisoners under federal jurisdiction of which 94,600 were serving time for drug offenses.There were 1,362,028 sentenced prisoners under state jurisdiction of which 237,000 were serving time for drug offenses. That’s over 300,000 individuals serving time currently for drugs offenses, in addition to over one million currently on probation. Now I don’t agree with the War on Drugs at all. But big banks are deemed too “systemically important” to be held to the same standard as the huge and disproportionately black population of low-level drug users.


If the Drug War laws don’t apply to the big banks — if Wall Street bankers who have broken the law can’t go to prison too — then how is incarcerating low-level drug users really much different to chattel slavery?

And not only do private prison companies pocket massive profits from the taxpayers’ purse for running the prisons, but prisoners are a pool of ultra-cheap indentured labour.

As Todd Curl notes:

Prisons in the United States used to be institutions of actual reform and rehabilitation. Men who entered a prison, would often learn a trade and have a usable skill to earn a legitimate living upon release. The recidivism rates have sharply increased as job and education programs within prisons–especially private prisons–have steadily declined. This is not to say that skills are not acquired in these private prisons, quite the contrary. In many of these private prisons, inmates are contracted as telemarketers, among other things, for many large corporations. These prisoners can earn as much as 75 cents an hour for their job–sometimes under 40 cents. What’s the payoff one might ask? For one, corporations get very cheap—third world cheap—labor that cannot unionize, cannot call in sick and cannot complain without fear of time added to their sentence or retaliation from guards who overworked and underpaid themselves, and risk losing their livelihood if an “uppity” prisoner refuses their indentured corporate servitude.

The War on Drugs is descending from tragedy into farce. Poor black drug users are fair game for the slave labour business. Rich Wall Street bankers who launder drug money? Nope.

In May I asked:

Have the 2008 bailouts cemented a new feudal aristocracy of bankers, financiers and too-big-to-fail zombies, alongside a serf class that exists to fund the excesses of the financial and corporate elite?


Only time will tell.

Time is telling.

Once a certain segment of society becomes protected from criminal liability, that society has travelled a long way down the road to feudalism, to a caste system, to serfdom.

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francis_sawyer's picture

Slap the cuffs on some bank teller trainees to show everybody you mean business about cleaning house...

AlaricBalth's picture

Jon Corzine is the poster child for To Big to Jail!

kralizec's picture

Auction that honor off to the highest bidder!  Win-win!  ;)

Zer0head's picture

posted yesterday but if you think it's only drugs get ready for internet crime and serious time - think about it Ten Years of hard time, nightly sodomization, having the shit kicked out of you on a regular basis, forced marriage to bubba  10 fucking years

Hollywood hacker sentenced to 10 years

 Christopher Chaney, 36, was sentenced in Los Angeles after US District Judge S James Otero heard from a tearful Johansson in a videotaped statement.  The actress said she had felt "truly humiliated and embarrassed" when topless photographs she took of herself


LawsofPhysics's picture

Real consequences for real bad behavior.  gee, what a novel concept.

Chief KnocAHoma's picture

New start joint venture seeks capital partners. Our growing company already makes the best guillotine on the market.

The unique and patented design insures a slow, painful death to scumbag bankers, politcos and fiat whores. By using a dull rusty and underweighted blade, the executioner is usually required to make multiple drops to separate the head from the corpse, and the offender usually survives the first two attempts.

Your mobs will be delighted as they watch those responsible for bringing so much suffering to the World die a very slow and painful death.

Demand for our product is so strong new capital is required to build a state of the art factory right on Wall Street. Call today for a prospectus.

The Juggernaut's picture

"What if America's prison population, the largest in the world, was the result of a cruel and unusual way for a country to be free? What if half the prison population never harmed anyone but themselves?"  - Judge Andrew Napolitano

Careless Whisper's picture

the failed War on Drugs

I think your premise may be off. Maybe the War on Drugs hasn't failed at all, but is working as planned; Allowing for a black market in drugs, while at the same time providing for funding of law enforcement personnel, equipment, money laundering, and prison "guests". 

TimmyB's picture

Let's not forget that added "benefit" that the Drug War allows the state to strip the right to vote from felons.

What a great system. In the poor sections of town the police stop and frisk everyone, although it is well known that the better off sections of town have the same portion of drug users. Because only the poor get searched, only the poor get sent to jail for these drug offenses. Because these poor people are now exfelons, the state gets to take the right to vote away from them so they have no political power at all.

mr_T's picture

Max Keiser has talked about this business model many times.
modern Gulag..

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

"embarassed" ... she looked as good in those photos as any other average porn star, what's she complaining about? Pffff we have real world problems to worry about like billion dollar bank heists from former governors & CEO of Goldman Sachs, this isn't important.

dark pools of soros's picture

if you read the whole story you will see that guy was outta control...  not just celebs 

eatthebanksters's picture

As long as our leaders refuse to lead by example (or the examples that they set are corrupt) and as long as they use expedience over princlple to make decisions, socitey will decay.  When the little people finally figure out that the big people are abusing their authority there will be a great deal of anger.  For now, the little people are happy in their ignorance.  The good old US of A is no longer a haven for hard working self reliant and industrious people looking to create a better lifestyle for themselves. It is a society of a corrupt govenrment who coddles the rich and gives just enough to a dependent society to quell the noises of disatisfaction.

NotApplicable's picture

Gotta love the journalist phrasing the MFG crime as "reportedly lost."

Scum on scum. I wonder just how many layers there are?

otto skorzeny's picture

how is that motherfucker not dead?

LongSoupLine's picture

Yup, Corzine....

And the entire staff at Bear, Goldman, Lehman, SEC, CFTC and every other fucking puke out there.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Next up, the "war on guns".   Grow up people, humanity itself is an unsustainable ponzi.  The real power brokers would never use all that captured labor for a purpose now, would they...

...better go ask the man of the year about this.  His predecessors certainly had some thoughts on this.

Ignatius's picture

I spend a fair amount of time trying to get people to take another look at 9/11. But it can be a difficult 'sell' as people are inclined to deny the conspiracy involved to pull it off.

Then this big turd called the 'HSBC Settlement' drops right in the punch bowl drenching everyone.

No denying it, "Yep, there's definately a turd in the punch."

The initial act of 9/11 killed near 3,000.

The Mexican drug cartels -- let's call them HSBC's 'partners' -- yearly kill 10,000+ in Mexico.

But HSBC pays a fine, gets a clean punch bowl and walks....

Right in our face.  No conspiracy.  Right in our face.

I'd be more cynical, but I just can't keep up.

Uncle Remus's picture

"On a long enough timeline..."

Tick-tock assholes.


MeelionDollerBogus's picture

we're on the same fucking timeline. Tick-tock for us too.

Uncle Remus's picture

Opportunity is usually fleeting.

Flakmeister's picture

Yes, it is all but corporate feudalism.... Corporate officers are the new nobility and the positions will soon be all but hereditary...

Spastica Rex's picture


Fucking everybody thinks they're "entitled" to what they have and more.

The 21st Century is going to be a big wake up call for a large portion of the Western "middle class." Those who remain "successful" will have the highest skills in manipulating patronage. Kind of like now.

Shizzmoney's picture

Nepotism is RAMPANT in corporations (including mine).

And according to business publications, 55% of those corporations, fail. 

See: The United States

alien-IQ's picture

As Matt Taibbi once wrote: "The day you put a Lloyd Blankfien type in a real pound-me-in-the-ass prison, all this bullshit will stop overnight".

francis_sawyer's picture

 "how is incarcerating low-level drug users really much different to chattel slavery?"


Penny ante drug dealers make for good slave labor (because they've had their fingernails dirty once or twice)... There's not a banker in the world who would be any good with a mop or a mattock in his hands... All you'd end up getting is another Andy Dusfrene who ends up helping some crooked warden to embezzle money...

Learn more and know less's picture

yep, at the price a few prison govenors making hay with good accountants, is well worth a few big name banksters getting gang banged in the prison showers.  gaol the bitchez

A Lunatic's picture

Money talks and the bullshitters continue to walk.........

Benjamin Glutton's picture

Uncle Sam must feel totally humiliated...

madcows's picture

It's only a crime if you can't pay the "Fee".  Cheat the LIBOR rate, pay a "Fee".  But, take a loaf of bread w/o paying and you go to jail. 

The bankers and politicians are part of the NWO.  You, are not.

alien-IQ's picture

"It's a big fuckin club, and you ain't in it"
George Carlin

Chupacabra-322's picture

"Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice . . . you don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own, and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought, and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying . . . lobbying, to get what they want . . .

Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want . . . they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that . . . that doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fuckin' years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers . . .

Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your fuckin' retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They’ll get it . . . they’ll get it all from you sooner or later cause they own this fuckin' place.

It’s a big club and you ain't in it. You and I are not in The big club. By the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table has tilted folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Good honest hard-working people . . . white collar, blue collar it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue, these are people of modest means . . . continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t give a fuck about you . . . they don’t give a fuck about you.

They don’t care about you at all . . . at all . . . at all, and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their assholes everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth. It’s called the American Dream cause you have to be asleep to believe it . . .”



-George Carlin – “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.”

alien-IQ's picture

That man was brilliant. A real gem.

darteaus's picture

Anybody know what this guy's talking about?

FerretBrain's picture

I cried the day George died.  Such a rare combination of humor and cutting social commentary.

alien-IQ's picture

The closest thing we have now to that level of social commentary in a comedian is Doug Stanhope. And while I like him a lot...he's still no George Carlin.

Shizzmoney's picture

Ditto with Joe Rogan....but those guys free thinking social commentary usually comes off-stage, during their podcasts.

Unfortunately, the masses respond to social commentary that's entertaining in a way that the dumb can understand. 

Bill Hicks was hilarious, but he also made incredible points, which is why he was hilarious ON STAGE.

It seems as if corporations like Viacom, as well as coemdy agents, don't look for those type of comics anymore.  Al they want are stereotypical types who go for cheap laughter with dick jokes.

alien-IQ's picture

Oh yeah, Bill Hicks was something special. I agree about Rogan mainly limiting his social commentary to his podcasts, but Stanhope doesn't pull his punches in his live performances. He says what he wants...which is why he has not achieved the kind of success he deserves.

Hopefully, there are a few young comics out there now sharpening their teeth on what's going on in the world and maybe, just maybe...we'll someday see another young George Carlin. (and that's my stab at optimism for the day...that was back to my regularly scheduled cynicism)

Cheduba's picture

RIP George Carlin.  I know for a fact you helped to wake up millions of people and the world will be a much better place because of your efforts.

buzzsaw99's picture

economic oppression caused by the kleptocrats is the cause of much institutionalization.

Dr. Engali's picture

What a fucked up world we live in. A guy goes to jail for having a bag of weed and the bank gets to use him as slave labor to help push a product  when they helped  put him there in the first place.  Meanwhile the bankers are running all over the world with hookers and blow wherever they go. Unfuckingbelievable.

dark pools of soros's picture

laws are like spiderwebs..  they catch the bugs and let the hawks fly free

GMadScientist's picture

But you can reach the top of your profession
If you become the leader of the land
For murder is the sport of the elected
And you don't need to lift a finger of your hand

Because it's murder by numbers, one, two, three
It's as easy to learn as your ABC's

Quinvarius's picture

If you want these guys to be punished, you have to take personal responsibility.  The Gestapo never arrested the SS.

Uncle Remus's picture

At least they have decent taste in pinups. Friends, wardrobe and personal grooming, not so much.