Greenwald: "The most revealing fact of the Obama presidency is the lack of a single prosecution of Wall Street execs for the massive fraud that caused the 2008 crisis. As long as we maintain impunity, no rational person should expect anything other than pervasive elite corruption and lawbreaking."
This kind of accountability is virtually inconceivable in the U.S. Many people love to hail President Obama for ending torture and CIA black sites; aside from the reasons that’s untrue in its own right, the reality is the opposite: by so aggressively shielding the torturers from all forms of legal accountability (criminal, civil and international), the incentive has been created to do it again. The same is true of illegal spying, and systemic financial fraud, and all of the other elite crimes over the last decade that wreaked such destruction. That a New York Times reporter can so bluntly set forth the rules of American justice for elites in this manner with so little notice or objection is an indicator of how normalized this has all become.
As always with any discussion of elite immunity, it’s crucial to note that what makes this development such a particularly warped travesty is that the very same elites who enjoy this immunity have created the world’s largest, and the Western world’s most oppressive and merciless, penal state for ordinary citizens. Because we have removed the fear of punishment for elites which the rule of law was designed to impose, something else needs to replace that fear as a constraint on elite behavior; the only viable candidate that I can see is the sort of mass citizen disruptions that have been seen in many Western cities and for which the Occupy movement provided a preliminary template. Fear of sparking that type of citizen unrest — through limitless elite corruption — can be a meaningful constraint on its continuation.