By Richard Eskow: It's a real-life disaster movie,
one that's left neighborhoods in ruins all across the country, killed thousands of people, and ruined millions of lives. You might call it a "Banknado." Yes, we know the Sharknado craze ended about ten days ago. The sci-fi movie's premise of tornadoes filled with deadly sharks has probably passed its cultural sell-by date. But we'll use the metaphor anyway, because it's just so apt: Wall Street's a whirlwind filled with predators descending a hapless population. And while our leaders stand idly by, the teeth-filled twisters keep falling from the sky. Look out below! Goldman Sachs was recently found to be manipulating aluminum prices by buying up large amounts of metal, what are the banks we rescued doing in the commodities business, anyway? and then shuffling the stuff from warehouse to warehouse to jack up its price by a fraction of a penny at a time. By taking advantage of a regulatory loophole in this way, Goldman's making billions at everyone else's expense. Goldman's gamesmanship, which may be legal but certainly isn't ethical, follows evidence of Goldman crimes and misdeeds that range from investor fraud to perjury by its chief executives. JPMorgan Chase has committed widespread energy fraud, according to recent revelations. Enron played games with energy prices, too, remember? Chase is pre-emptively leaking stories to the press that it's willing to pay half a billion dollars to settle fraud charges. Since when do criminals negotiate their way out of their crimes with other people's money? Since this Administration decided to let them, in the wake of revelations that bank fraud led to the 2008 crisis. The perpetrators don't just go free. They keep their ill-gotten gains. In JPM's case, we're told that the executive behind the misdeeds won't even be fired or disciplined, despite a range of accusations that included false testimony. Past crimes by JPMorgan Chase employees include bribery which led to the bankruptcy of Jefferson County, Alabama, the "London Whale" case which involves investor fraud and what appear to be deceptive public statements by CEO Jamie Dimon, widespread perjury and forgery in commission of foreclosure fraud which includes a unit of temp employees called the "Burger King kids", and other repeated fraudulent activity. HSBC acted even more heinously, by laundering money for the Mexican drug cartels which have murdered tens of thousands of people. Yet that bank, like the others, was given a free pass by the Justice Department. Attorney General Eric Holder even made this de facto immunity explicit by stating that "if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge against lawbreaking banks, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy."