1. Eric Holder’s Longtime
Excuse for Not Prosecuting
Banks Just Crashed and Burned
2. Et Tu, Bernie?
3. Charge Abu Zubaydah With a Crime or Free Him
4. Bernie's 7 legacies
This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, July 13, 2016.
is a crisis log. There are 4 items with 4 dotted links: Item
is about Eric Holder, about whom I am less sympathetic than the writer
of the article: I think he is a conscious fraud who made a career
because he advertized (already in 1999) that he is a conscious fraud; item 2 is about Robert Scheer's reaction to Bernie's
support for Hillary: I think Scheer is correct; item 3
is about Abu Zubaydah and is brief and continues a review I wrote
yesterday; and item 4 is about Bernie's legacies in
Reich's eyes, and it turns out that I agree with roughly half of them (more
1. Eric Holder’s
Longtime Excuse for Not Prosecuting Banks Just Crashed and Burned
first item today is by David Dayen on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Eric Holder has long insisted that he
tried really hard when he was attorney general to make criminal cases
against big banks in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis. His excuse,
which he made again just
last month, was that Justice Department prosecutors didn’t have
enough evidence to bring charges.
Many critics have long suspected that
was bullshit, and that Holder, for a combination of political,
self-serving, and craven reasons, held his department back.
A new, thoroughly-documented
report from the House Financial Services Committee supports
that theory. It recounts how career prosecutors in 2012 wanted to
criminally charge the global bank HSBC for facilitating money
laundering for Mexican drug lords and terrorist groups. But Holder said
I believe Eric Holder is a sick and
corrupt fraud, and I don't need to consult the HSBC evidence, though I
agree it supports my beliefs.
The point about Holder is that he
advertized his eager wish to be corrupted already in 1999, long
before being nominated by Obama, probably - it seems to me - because
of his 1999 advertizement.
This is from Wikipedia on Eric
Holder minus footnotes but with my bolding:
Prosecution rates against crimes by
large financial institutions are at 20-year lows. Holder has also
endorsed the notion that prosecutors, when deciding to pursue
white-collar crimes, should give special consideration to "collateral
consequences" of bringing charges against large corporate institutions,
as outlined in a 1999 memorandum by Holder. Nearly a decade later
Holder, as head of the Department of Justice, put this into practice
and has demonstrated the weight "collateral consequences" has by
repeatedly sought and reached deferred prosecution and non-prosecution
agreements and settlements with large financial institutions such
as J.P. Morgan Chase, HSBC, Countrywide Mortgage, Wells Fargo, Goldman
Sachs, and others where the institution pays a fine or penalty but
faces no criminal charges and admits no wrongdoing. Whereas in the
previous decade the Bush administration's Department of Justice often
sought criminal charges against individuals of large institutions
regardless of "collateral consequences" such as cases involving Enron, Adelphia Communications
Corporation, Tyco International, and others.
I am sorry, but if a lawyer advertizes his
eager willingness not to
prosecute any large corporate institution, and especially banks, and
then gets nominated
in a top governmental position, with many bankers holding temporary powerful jobs
before going back to the better paying banks, I think these two facts
correlated (at least).
Then again, the HSBC is one good instance
of how incredibly far Holder went to save it from any criminal
charges and to admit no wrongdoing:
The history: From 2006 to 2010, HSBC
failed to monitor billions of dollars of U.S. dollar purchases with
drug trafficking proceeds in Mexico. It also conducted business going
back to the mid-1990s on behalf of customers in Cuba, Iran, Libya,
Sudan, and Burma, while they were under sanctions. Such transactions
were banned by U.S. law.
But - said Holder, in my reconstruction:
'This bank is BIG! These bank managers are RICH! I can't
attack a big bank! I won't attack my rich friends! They will
give me a rich job as soon as I leave here if I served them well!!'
And so this is what happened (and forget about a bunch of lawyers
bullshitting about "the global economy": pure bullshit ):
I say it was a pure and intentional fake
by Holder, who simply did as he said he would in 1999: He would not
lay down the law on any large financial institution. He refused
to. The managers of big banks could do as they pleased,
possibly for the price of returning part
of their profits, but that was the extent of "the responsibility" Eric
Holder was exacting: 'If you give me part of your profits, I will sign
an official paper that says you committed no crime and you need not
admit any wrongdoing. Deal, my good friends?!'
The report documents how Holder and his
top associates were concerned about the impact that prosecuting HSBC
would have on the global economy. And, in particular, they worried that
a guilty plea would trigger a hearing over whether to revoke HSBC’s
charter to do banking in the United States.
According to internal documents, the DOJ
then went dark for nearly two months, refusing to participate in
interagency calls about HSBC. Finally,on November 7, Holder presented
HSBC with a “take it or leave it” offer of a deferred prosecution
agreement, which would involve a cash settlement and future monitoring
No guilty plea was required.
But even the “take it or leave it” offer
was apparently not the last word. HSBC was able to negotiate for nearly
a month after Holder presented that offer, getting more favorable terms
in the ultimate $1.9 billion deferred prosecution agreement, announced
on December 11, 2012.
I think Eric Holder was and is a conscious mega-corrupt fraud.
2. Et Tu, Bernie?
The second item is by Robert Scheer on Truthdig:
This starts as follows - and this is one of very
many reactions to Bernie Sanders' support of Hillary Clinton:
What an embarrassment for Bernie Sanders
and those, myself included, who thought he would not descend so
cravenly into the swamp of political sellout.
It is one thing to hold one’s nose and
vote for Hillary Clinton as the lesser evil. It is quite another to
suddenly absolve the Clintons and other top Democrats who have, as
Sanders repeatedly pointed out during his campaign, contributed so much
to the national crisis.
Yes, that seems fair to me. Here is in
some more detail what happened:
Yes, indeed. I think Sanders should
have attacked Bill Clinton, as he did in his campaign, simply because
Bill Clinton bears a great amount of responsibility for the
enormous frauds that the big banks committed in 2008/2009.
As Sanders repeatedly pointed out during
his campaign, it was former President Bill Clinton’s radical
deregulation of Wall Street that legalized the new, gilded age of Wall
Street theft. But now we have the new Sanders, reinvented as a
Democratic Party hack, insisting that this unfettered greed was
exclusively enabled by the Republican leadership of the economy under
George W. Bush.
Sanders’ speech made no reference to
breaking up the too-big-to-fail banks that packaged and marketed
fraudulent collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) in the trillions of
dollars to an unsuspecting world. It was Bill Clinton’s signature on
Futures Modernization Act that prevented the regulation of any of
those suspect CDOs and the phony credit default swaps that pretended to
Here is some more on Bill Clinton:
Of course Bill Clinton bears a major
responsibility for the banking crisis, for his decisions
enabled it. What are the reasons for Sanders' - quite radical!
- change of tune?
Do the bipartisan policies of financial
deregulation, lousy trade agreements and tax loopholes that defined the
Clinton presidency have nothing to do with the massive resentment in
this country over a rigged economy that has fueled both the Sanders and
Trump campaigns? Or was the electoral revolt against the establishment
of both political parties merely the achievement of particularly
effective populists of the right and left?
That would now seem to be the Sanders
message. The progressive protest he led was not much of a political
revolution if he believes the Democratic leadership that has held power
for two-thirds of the past 24 years could now so easily accommodate it.
What he has bought into is that the revolt on the Republican side is so
irrationally hardcore that Hillary Clinton is now our only bulwark
against an imminent variant of American fascist rule.
I think Scheer is right in his saying that Sanders believes "that Hillary Clinton is now our only bulwark against an
imminent variant of American fascist rule" and
that he - therefore - should do all he can to stop Trump
gaining the presidency.
And Sanders has a point. But even so, there is also this:
“I have known Hillary Clinton for 25
years,” the new Bernie gushes. “I remember her as a great first lady
who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed
to play, as she helped lead the fight for universal health care. I
served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce
advocate for the rights of children.”
A regular Eleanor Roosevelt, except that
as first lady, Hillary Clinton turned health care over to the insurance
companies and supported her husband’s so-called “welfare reform” that
gutted the federal Aid
to Families with Dependent Children program.
Bernie, stop with the fawning. It’s not
I agree with Robert Scheer. And why should
This is a recommended article.
3. Charge Abu Zubaydah With a Crime or Free Him
The third item is by John Kiriakou on Truthdig:
This ends as follows and is the only
bit I will quote from this article, that continues an item I reviewed yesterday.
Also, I should say that Kiriakou wrote before the following bit
"acknowledged that Abu Zubaydah was a bad guy":
I agree - though I should add that this
un-American unconstitutionality now exists for 14 years, which
may suggest to some that quite a few things have radically
changed in the USA, and grown a lot worse.
What Zubaydah did not do,
though, was help plan the Sept. 11 attacks. He did not plot with
al-Qaida fighters in the West to launch new attacks on the United
States and its allies. He did not bomb the USS Cole. He did not blow up
American embassies in West Africa. And he never pledged fealty to Osama
So why is the CIA holding him at Guantanamo
and treating him as one of the world’s most dangerous criminals? Why
did the CIA say, according to the torture report, that Abu Zubaydah
should “remain in isolation and incommunicado for the remainder of his
life?” Why isn’t he being released?
That’s the discussion the Obama
administration should be having. Zubaydah is not the international
archcriminal that Bush, then-Vice President Dick Cheney and then-CIA
chief George Tenet said he was. They were wrong. As a result, Zubaydah
has endured torture, solitary confinement, transfers to secret prisons
around the world and unlawful detention. He has never been charged with
a crime. He has never faced his accusers in a court of law. He has
never been allowed to defend himself.
That’s unconstitutional. It’s
un-American. Abu Zubaydah either should be charged with a crime or
released. There are no other alternatives.
The fourth and last item today is by Robert Reich on his site:
I will copy and discuss the seven legacies
of Sanders that Reich sees, but skip the comments of Reich. If you want
to read those, click the last dotted link.
Reich starts thus:
I think it is a pity Sanders' campaign is
over. I explain it by repeating Scheer's point (see item
2) "that Hillary
Clinton is now our only bulwark against an imminent variant of American
but I do think it is a pity, were it only because I think Hillary
Clinton is just like Obama: She'll say anything to get elected, and she will
forget everything she promised after she is elected.
Bernie Sanders’s campaign is now
officially over, but the movement he began is still just beginning.
He’s provided it seven big legacies:
First, Bernie has helped open America’s
eyes to the power of big money corrupting our democracy and thereby
rigging our economy to its advantage and everyone else’s disadvantage.
But otherwise I agree with the first point. Here is the second point:
Second, Bernie has shown that
it’s possible to win elections without depending on big money from
corporations, Wall Street, and billionaires.
I also agree with that (though I suspect he
was the last who could do this). Then there is this:
Third, Bernie has educated
millions of Americans about why we must have a single-payer health-care
system and free tuition at public universities, and why we must
resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act and bust up the biggest banks.
Hm. He probably did, but I also think that
"the American voters" should be intelligent enough to work
these things out themselves, and that if they are not, something
should be said about it, for these really are elementary things. Next,
there is this:
Fourth, the Sanders campaign has
brought millions of young people into politics, ignited their energy
and enthusiasm and idealism.
Yes, he probably did - but then young people should
be interested in politics, and if he did bring millions to politics, it
shows how lame they were, while it
is also not at all certain many will remain interested in politics now
that Sanders failed. Then there is this:
Fifth, the movement Bernie
ignited has pushed Hillary Clinton to take more progressive positions
on issues ranging from the minimum wage to the Trans Pacific
Partnership, the XL Pipeline, Wall Street, and Social Security.
I am sorry, but (i) Hillary Clinton is very
conservative and (ii) is completely unreliable, and therefore I refuse
to believe that she will continue to believe when she is
elected what she says she believes now. There is also this:
Sixth, he’s taught Americans how
undemocratic the Democratic Party’s system for picking candidates
No, I don't think so. For one thing, the
undemocratic "Democratic Party" successfully prevented him from
winning the presidential candidacy , and for
another thing, anyone reasoning about the Democrats' system for picking candidates would have found that this
extremely undemocratic rule of superdelegates
(<- Wikipedia) dates back to the early 1980ies. The final
point is this:
Seventh is the real possibility
Bernie has inspired of a third party (...)
No, hardly. And "third parties" (i) exist
since a long time (but indeed can't make it in elections, and
not through not trying) and (ii) have been discussed a long
time. (They aren't funded well, and that is the usual end of them, as far as winning big elections are concerned.)
I'd say I agree (more than not) with about half of Reich's points and
disagree (more than not) with the other half.
Well... what shall I say? I think Burke is appropriate: "If you despair, just work on". 
talking about the economy are about as credible as econo- mists talking
about medicine, who are as credible as medical persons talking about
the law: Most of them know shit outside their own
The whole idea that lawyers are capable of (i) rationally
weighing the economic world-wide (!) "collateral consequences" is utter
nonsense, and the whole idea that these weighings should instruct
them to give up practising the law as it is in the law books
(!!), are both complete bullshit.
Incidentally, I refer you to May 1, 2016, where there is an article by
Fitrakis and Wasserman who pointed out that the American elections may
be (and possibly have been) stolen, by manipulating the voting machines
or the counting of votes, both of which are easy to program.
And these counts are
done by private firms.
I am not saying they were stolen, but they may have been, and
this is one reason why I am not convinced Sanders is right when
he said that Clinton won "fair and square".
 Why? Because your despair is rarely
based on an accurate and well tested idea about the situation you
despair about, and even if it is, working on as you did is probably the