In fact, every time Pastor Washer exhorts a woman in his congregation to dress in a manner that hides her breasts, hips and her “Georgia O’Keeffe,” Chris Gent, chairman of Big Pharma Goliath GlaxoSmithKline, and Marilyn A. Hewson, President and CEO of Lockheed “Drones” Martin, practically do cartwheels on their multimillion-dollar manicured lawns.
Because all three major businesspeople know that so long as theological nutjobs like Washer can successfully distract the tens of millions of U.S. conservative Christians with polemics against cleavage, business booms.
And precisely what business am I referring to? Not financial services. Not pharmaceutical manufacturing. Not military-industrial-complex juggernautery. I mean the business of crime.
Come, come. “Crime” is such a coarse term. After all, all three of the multinational, megalithic companies mentioned above usually go well out of their way to settle with the United States government before anything resembling an actual courtroom judgment.
Case in point GlaxoSmithKline, which last July agreed to pay $3 BILLION “to resolve its criminal and civil liability arising from the company’s unlawful promotion of certain prescription drugs, its failure to report certain safety data,” etc., et al. (Actually, in this case, GSK formally pled guilty. Wonder of wonders! But take a guess how many GSK executives went to prison.)
Then there’s Lockheed Martin, which since 1995 has had its hand caught in the federal misdeed cookie jar no less than 59 times to the tune of more than $606 MILLION in penalties.
But all of that is child’s play compared to J.P. Morgan Chase, which last October “reached a tentative deal … to pay $13 BILLION to end a number of civil investigations into its sale of mortgage securities before the 2008 financial crisis.” And for the cherry on the sundae, there was this month’s $2 BILLION penalty for JPMC’s part in the Bernie Madoff scandal.
All told, J.P. Morgan Chase has racked up $20 billion in I IZ NAUTY I OWE Us to Uncle Sam in the past 12 months. Yet that didn’t prevent the JPMC Board from awarding Mr. Dimon a bump in salary to the tune of $20 million per year. Who says crime—I mean settlement—doesn’t pay?
Why stop there? The Pastor Washer “Hide Your Boobs” Fan Club is way bigger than you can possibly imagine!
In October 1996, Gary R. Spratling, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, wrote:
“In particular, the historic $100 MILLION fine imposed on Archer Daniels Midland Company for its role in two international antitrust conspiracies has been described as a wake-up call heard in board rooms around the world. … After ADM’s guilty plea and fine in October 1996, I predicted that the Division would regularly obtain fines over $10 MILLION.”
One might say that Mr. Spratling was something of an under-estimator. Since 2008, the DOJ Antitrust Division has filed more than 300 cases and “elicited $4.2 BILLION in criminal fines.”
And don’t think that Pastor Washer’s fan base is limited just to American corporations. Washer has corporate devotees across the Pond, as well. Take French oil “supermajor” Total, which last May agreed to pony up nearly $400 million ($245 million to the U.S. Department of Justice and $153 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) in “settled charges” for such dignified actions as “paying $60 million in bribes to Iranian government officials from 1995-2004 to get oil and natural gas rights in the country.”
But who’s counting? As long as the Christian Right electorate is busy making sure every human female calf is covered, the world is an economic antediluvian laissez-faire bukkake fest.
Hey, it’s Charles Holliday, Chairman of Bank of America. He wants to personally thank Pastor Washer. Yeah, sure, his venerable institution may merely be on the verge of racking up $2.1 BILLION in fines “for selling fraudulent loans that precipitated the Great Recession.” But that’s peanuts. BOA just reported $3.4 BILLION alone in quarterly profits!
Hey, over here! Over here! Don’t forget us! We love Pastor Washer too!
HSBC Holdings: $1.92 BILLION in fines “for allowing itself to be used to launder a river of drug money flowing out of Mexico and other banking lapses.” Actually, get this: HSBC then had the audacity “to float” interest on customer accounts to make up the lost moolah. But, hey, why be a halfway sinner?
CR Intrinsic Investors: $600 MILLION to the SEC to settle “charges that it participated in an insider trading scheme involving a clinical trial for an Alzheimer’s drug being jointly developed by two pharmaceutical companies.”
Ah, a familiar face. BP: $4 BILLION “in penalties for the 2010 oil well blowout and spill in the Gulf of Mexico that left 11 workers dead and fouled hundreds of miles of shoreline.”
Trust me, we could do this all day.
In 2010, the Justice Department collected $2.072 BILLION in fines from ne’er-do-good companies, which is just part of $3.4 BILLION overall in judgments and settlements. But that’s nothing, really, compared to the $62 BILLION the country’s largest banks agreed to settle from 2010 to 2012, according to Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah.
Meanwhile, the Right Reverend Washer and pastors at pulpits all across the Fruited Plain rail against textile camel toe and the thousand other peccadillos that flesh is heir to.
They beseech their congregations to elect Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann and the entire Cloud of Charismatic Christian Witnesses. And each time these voters send one of these anti-regulation, biblical-literalist, same-sex-marriage-hater, gun-in-every-toddler-pocket idiots to Washington, civilization concedes a step to the big business lampreys that have parasitically attached themselves to fundamentalist social policy.
Trust me, these blood-sucking corporations are fully aware of one fact: so long as Evangelicals and ultra-conservative Christians clamor for Creationism and decry décolletage, quarter after quarter, they’ll be in the black.
Yeah, Pastor Washer, continue your Holy Ghost campaign against Maidenform. Wall Street is ready to offer you nothing but big support.
Wake up, America. November 4, 2014, is right around the corner.
By the way, if you’re curious where these gazillions of dollars in criminal payoffs go—and if you want to become even more depressed—I highly recommend you read Lynn Stuart Parramore’s fascinating article “When Giant Banks Pay Fines, Where Does the Money Go?”
Her article is journalism at its damned finest.
Yeah, one final fine to report. Only $73,000 for smuggling nearly 40,000 piranhas into New York City?! J.P. Morgan Chase should hire this guy as a consultant!
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