Think of this as Volume 14, Number 28 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
Lately I've grown as angry as the gang at Firedoglake.
It happens whenever I turn on CNBC, or read any business newspaper. There is an assumption that the Obama Administration is "anti-business," "proven" when gazillionaires like Jaime Dimon (right) switch financial support to Republicans because of the FinReg bill.
I think most Americans believe Jaime Dimon and his Wall Street pals should be pounding rocks with Bernie Madoff, not pontificating on TV, and certainly not deciding who our leaders should be. I think most feel the same way about BP chairman Tony Heyward.
I think they're right.
Regulation is not "anti-business." Regulation is crime prevention. A properly-regulated market does not "stifle innovation." It is not "socialism." Imagine Las Vegas without casino regulation. That's today's Wall Street.
A center of the conservative ideology that has ruled this country for a generation is that a law that keeps you from destroying someone with a gun must be rigorously enforced, while one that keeps you from doing the same thing with a pen hurts the economy.
A central tenet of conservative tactics is that you attack someone at their strength, or what they think is their strength.
I think we're on to A Clue here.
What the President lacks is a mass constituency which understands that crime is bad, and that we are all subject to its temptations. Taking cops off the street or keeping them from doing their jobs, will not reduce crime.
What's true on 125th Street is also true on Wall Street.
The great scandal of the last generation is not just that regulation was neutered, either repealed or corrupted because ideology demanded it, but that courts were neutered as well. This enabled anyone with wealth, their own or shareholders', to act above the law. They could destroy people, communities, even whole ecosystems and know they would never be called to account, either because their acts were not defined as crimes, prosecution had been prevented, or courts would rule the law unenforceable through some "loophole."
This is what Nixon complained about in the 1960s. Baby boomers, acting like the laws didn't apply to them, smoking pot and ignoring authority, the example spreading out into places where a lack of income or morality made greater crimes commonplace.
Law and order, he demanded. And after a long, twilight struggle, we got it. Street crime is down, way down. Most of those inclined toward street crime are either behind bars, under strict surveillance, or seriously afraid of getting caught.
Well, the kids grew up. They went Republican. But their behavior hasn't changed much. Most of today's "business leaders," the people telling us that it's "anti-business" to seek fair markets or enforced laws, are Baby Boomers.
We need to see these people for what they really are. Dirty. Fucking. Hippies. And we need a mass movement demanding an end to crime in the suites, an end to this attitude of impunity on the part of our business leaders.
Such a movement would not be anti-business, as the enablers at Forbes and CNBC claim. It would be pro-business. Just anti- crime.
When any person, or any group, stands above the law, the law cannot be respected, society is corrupted, and gradually civilization withers away. That's what this new "conservatism," which is in fact "corporatism," has given us. Instead of being ruled by Kings or Generals or Big Brother government, we're ruled by the Forbes 400, who have no boundaries, who can do what they want.
Here is a basic law of "the market" conservatives are so enamored of. Free competition demands you get away with anything you can get away with. It demands you run close to the ragged edge of the law, or of regulation. The businessman who does this has an advantage over those bound by morality and will, in time, crush them.
It's the same thing your parents said a generation ago about pot. When one law is ignored, in time they're all ignored.
That's what has happened in this country. That's the reality of our time. We are ruled by a new criminal class, one surrounded by lawyers, flacks, and accountants, who not only believe they have a right to rape our land, kill our people and destroy our Constitution, but consider it a positive economic boon, necessary for "economic growth."
Their enablers and avatars are all over our airwaves, and I am increasingly disgusted by them. I think you are, too. But if we can just understand among ourselves, and proclaim, that this movement is not against business but against crime, we can prevail over time.
Now it's true this can be overdone. When government gets too powerful it can destroy incentive. But we have a recourse in that case. It's called democracy. We can vote against big government, and install new leaders who will adjust the balance.
Any government that is less powerful than one institution, or one class, has lost its authority. If Mexico's government can be mastered by drug dealers, then it's the drug dealers who rule Mexico. If America's government can be mastered by Wall Street or big business, then we are ruled by Wall Street and big business.
There is nothing new here. But the balance between law enforcement and those against whom the laws must be enforced has grown seriously out of whack in this country. Jaime Dimon is President, not Barack Obama.
If law and order is to mean anything, then democracy must rule. Those we freely give authority to, through our votes, must be able to speak for us, against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
So the frame is simple. We demand law and order. We need a government powerful enough to put anyone in jail, and take out any corupt institution.
Equal justice under law means just that. I am Jaime Dimon's equal under the law. Government must be able to make that so.
Otherwise free markets are just another word for nothing left to lose.