A Rancid Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Trial Balloon, Herbert Obamavilles, What Digby Said & The Import of the Occupy Movement
I do not usually just post simply to repeat what another somewhat similarly situated blogger has said. But late this afternoon/early this evening, I was struck by two things almost simultaneously. Right as I read Gretchen Morgenson’s latest article in the NYT on the latest and most refined parameters of the foreclosure fraud settlement, I also saw a post by Digby. The intersection of the two was crushing, but probably oh so true.
First, the latest Foreclosure Fraud Settlement trial balloon being floated by the “State Attorney Generals”. There have been several such trial balloons floated on this before; all sunk like lead weights. This is absolutely a similar sack of shit; from Morgenson at the NYT:
Cutting to the chase: if you thought this was the deal that would hold banks accountable for filing phony documents in courts, foreclosing without showing they had the legal right to do so and generally running roughshod over anyone who opposed them, you are likely to be disappointed.
This may not qualify as a shock. Accountability has been mostly A.W.O.L. in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. A handful of state attorneys general became so troubled by the direction this deal was taking that they dropped out of the talks. Officials from Delaware, New York, Massachusetts and Nevada feared that the settlement would preclude further investigations, and would wind up being a gift to the banks.
It looks as if they were right to worry. As things stand, the settlement, said to total about $25 billion, would cost banks very little in actual cash — $3.5 billion to $5 billion. A dozen or so financial companies would contribute that money.
The rest — an estimated $20 billion — would consist of credits to banks that agree to reduce a predetermined dollar amount of principal owed on mortgages that they own or service for private investors. How many credits would accrue to a bank is unclear, but the amount would be based on a formula agreed to by the negotiators. A bank that writes down a second lien, for example, would receive a different amount from one that writes down a first lien.
Sure, $5 billion in cash isn’t nada. But government officials have held out this deal as the penalty for years of what they saw as unlawful foreclosure practices. A few billion spread among a dozen or so institutions wouldn’t seem a heavy burden, especially when considering the harm that was done.
The banks contend that they have seen no evidence that they evicted homeowners who were paying their mortgages. Then again, state and federal officials conducted few, if any, in-depth investigations before sitting down to cut a deal.
Shaun Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said the settlement, which is still being worked out, would hold banks accountable. “We continue to make progress toward the key goals of the settlement, which are to establish strong protections for homeowners in the way their loans are serviced across every type of loan and to ensure real relief for homeowners, including the most substantial principal writedown that has occurred throughout this crisis.”
Read the full piece, there is much more there.
Yes, this is certainly just a trial balloon, and just the latest one at that. But it is infuriating, because it is the same old sell out crap repackaged and trying to be shoved down the public’s throat yet again. And who wants to sell this shit sandwich the most? Barack Obama and his band of Masters of the Universe, that’s who. It is also, of course, the fervent desire of Wall Street and their bought and paid for pols like Chuck Schumer.
Which is exactly why elected state Attorney General politicians (Hi Tom Miller), who are also generally on the political make, are so focused on getting a craven deal done, no matter how badly it screws the public and economy. If anybody has ever had any doubt as to why California AG Kamala Harris has been so slow, and so weak, in the matter this is exactly why. Harris is a political climber, and her fortunes and fame ride with the 1% and the politicians like Obama and Schumer that they control like circus monkeys.
Which brings me back to what Digby said. Digby, playing a notably tin-eared editorial by the Los Angeles Times off of a scathing comment on the American elite by Frank Rich, said:
That the LA Times is clutching its pearls over fig trees and grass while nearly 3,000 people have been arrested at Occupations all over the country world says just about everything you need to know about disconnect between elites and everybody else.
Yeah, that about sums it up. Do go read the full description of the “Hoovervilles” and what they really comprised, because it is far too close to home with the current time and place we occupy. By the same token, it is hard for many in the comfortably ensconsed traditional middle class to see just how heinous the situation is, and how necessary the “Occupy” movement may really be.
Trust me. I know, I am one of the uncomfortable. My natural predilections are within the system and rules. That, however, is no longer perhaps enough. Many of you reading this post may not be on Twitter, and thus may not have seen it; but I have in the last couple of days straightened out more than one pundit on the, and sometimes unfortunately so, real protection reach of the 1st Amendment. It is far less a prophylactic protection than most, and certainly the vocal proponents of the Occupy Movement, think.
Without belaboring the minutiae, the clear law of the land for over 70 years, ever since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Cox v. New Hampshire, is:
Civil liberties, as guaranteed by the Constitution, imply the existence of an organized society maintaining public order without which liberty itself would be lost in the excesses of unrestrained abuses. The authority of a municipality to impose regulations in order to assure the safety and convenience of the people in the use of public highways has never been regarded as inconsistent with civil liberties but rather as one of the means of safeguarding the good order upon which they ultimately depend.
If a municipality has authority to control the use of its public streets for parades or processions, as it undoubtedly has, it cannot be denied authority to give consideration, without unfair discrimination, to time, place and manner in relation to the other proper uses of the streets. We find it impossible to say that the limited authority conferred by the licensing provisions of the statute in question as thus construed by the state court contravened any constitutional right.
There is a long line of cases that ultimately extend the ability of cities and municipalities right to reasonably regulate time and place of free speech expression, so long as said regulation is content neutral, to public parks and all other sorts of publicly controlled spaces.
But those are “the rules”. When the politicians and corporate masters no longer are willing to play by the rules, how much longer can the “99%” afford to honor them? When the so called leaders will not abide by the norms and constricts of law, why should the average man still be held to the same?
Again, I fully admit just how much I struggle with saying the above. I really do; it is uncomfortable and discomfiting. I could go on, but my own thoughts pale in comparison with those similarly situated who have experienced first hand what the import and truth of the Occupy movement is.
I ask, indeed implore, you read this long, but telling, account from The Awl by Lili Loofbourow entitled “The Livestream Ended: How I Got Off My Computer And Onto The Street At Occupy Oakland”. There is literally too much to excerpt, and it would take away from the critically important slow progression the writer lays out for you, the reader.
So, while “the rules” may militate otherwise, and while “our Constitutional rights” go nowhere near as far as the psyched up Occupiers cry, there is something raw and necessary about the “Occupy” movement. It is necessary because the rules and “adults in the room” have sold their souls, and our lives, down the river of greed.
If not “the 99%”, then who? If not now, then when? It is time.
*standing on chair clapping wildly*
i’ve been struggling with it too bmaz. thank you so very much
@Suzanne: Amen, Suzanne!
The big problem is that the MOTU don’t think they should have to take a haircut, and think the overblown home values of the bubble should be borne by the homeowners alone. One of the interesting developments of the European financial crisis in the latest round is that it looks like the *banks* will have to take a 50% haircut on the Greek debt. But here in the good ole’ USA, the banks disdain haircuts, and want to bill the public for entering into overblown mortgages. That is why the work of the State AGs in NY and Delaware (Bo Biden was on the Rachel Maddow show [TRMS] last night) is so important. And speaking of TRMS, I hope you saw her long segment on Eliot Spitzer and the Banksters on the 27th. Amongst other diamonds, Rachel cataloged the sorry list of wrist slaps and decline-to-indict “investigations” that the Feds have been doing– although she also highlighted a few of the folks (the very few) that the Feds have held accountable. It seems the DOJ is a lost cause, and that our hopes rest on Schneidermann and Biden and a few others. God speed to them!
I’m still hoping that you’re wrong about California’s AG, Harris. Last I heard, I thought that she had decided to opt out of the 47 state settlement, and was going to do her own investigation. What happened to that?
Bob in AZ
@Bob Schacht: I think it is mostly for show; Harris still mostly pitches the need for settlement and “importance” of the multi state settlement. She is not formaly separated from it.
Speaking of Eliot Spitzer:
They still don’t get it.
Bob in AZ
Makes me almost wistful for President George H Walker Bush – at least Keating and many more banksters went to jail. And if memory serves did not the Savings and Loans pay back most of the money through the Resolution Trust Fund ? Then I remember that Neil Bush skated and BCCI crew was never indicted either ,,,
God Speed to Bo Biden indeed
Yes. To me, the Occupy movement needs to pay more attention to the general precepts of civil disobedience. There is real value in being willing to stand up and knowingly break the law, facing arrest in order to bring attention to the injustices that prompt the behavior. The key, of course, is remaining nonviolent while doing this, even in the face of local police forces that have become frighteningly militarized.
Falsely claiming that the movement is subject to no local ordinances or regulation can come off as trying to appropriate for the movement a slice of the same legal immunity that the movement is protesting when it applies to the government and the MOTU’s.
This generation’s bastion of citizens willing to calmly stand in the face of police chemical weapons and “nonlethal” ammunition have the opportunity to take their place in history alongside those who braved the firehoses and police dogs of the early 60’s in the large civil rights demonstrations. By remaining non-violent, even in the face of extreme provocation, they can make a very powerful statement that will win many over to the cause.
Thanks, bmaz, for pointing out that “It is time”. It’s only a seven or eight mile drive to my local Occupy movement. It is time for me to get off my ass and go spend some time there.
Great post bmaz. Thanks for the links to Digby and Lili Loofbourow, both well worth the read.
I would quibble with this bit though:
Not so much as in the current interpretation of our legal code, for which I will always defer to your expertise, but for what seems to me to be the slow (and not so slow) decoupling of our rights defined in the Constitution versus modern interpretation.
For example, it is quite clearly stated in the 4th amendment that I have a right to be free from searches of my person, place, and things, unless the government has probable cause for a reasonable suspicion and they got a judge to agree and hand them a search warrant.
The fact that over the years judges, legislators, and executives have infringed on my Constitutional right did not make it go away in principle, just in practice. The 4th amendment still appears in the Constitution. It hasn’t been repealed. But, most people go along with modern infringements, as much because they feel powerless to stop them as due to any real consent.
Part of the insidious nature of our corporate coup, is that over time the 1% have managed to convince the other 99% that there isn’t anything they can do to stop the relentless erosion of our rights, our democracy, and our economy.
And yet, as the framers noted, politicians only derive their power from the consent of the governed. When we withdraw our consent, they will lose the power they currently possess.
Part of what I find so invigorating about the Arab Spring and American Fall is the global realization that modern technology provides us the tools we need to reimagine our structures of governance. We no longer need to be bound by 18th century architecture and technology. That in and of itself opens up a vast array of possibilities to genuinely improve the representativeness of our governments.
It is time to sweep away our sclerotic electoral system as it exists in its current millionaires-only-club form and replace it with something that better reflects the demographics of our nation. There are myriad ways to get there and I don’t have any particular solution to sell. But I think, as Lili’s post shows, the debate and discussion growing out of the Occupy movement may lead us to a much much better place.
i have just finished reading your post as well as the one from the thoughtful woman in oakland… i have to say i relate all too well to the sentiments expressed… i am a spectator myself, albeit a very well-informed and perceptive one, who now finds himself at a turning point…
ever since watching the al jazeera live stream from cairo earlier this year (from kosovo, of all places), i have thrilled to see a resurgence of populist spirit across the globe… when the occupy movement started and took hold here in the u.s., my first thoughts were that i had been waiting the better part of my 64 years to see this kind of energy blossom…
for over 35 years, i have taught a deep respect for ordinary people and the common good and attempted to demonstrate those principles in my own life… over the past 10 years, i have been working for development projects that bring me into close contact with the ordinary people in places like kosovo, macedonia, jordan and afghanistan, people who only want what we all want – the ability to feed and clothe their families and to live their daily lives with some sense of safety and security…
returning to the u.s. after long periods outside the country has always been particularly difficult… being slapped in the face with such political and ideological hypocrisy, such mindless consumption, such over-the-top self-indulgence and such vehement denial of reality, has always left me struggling with a sense of deep despair over my country’s future… the occupy movement is the first time i’ve allowed myself to feel any tingle of hope since the entire notion of hope was burned out of my neurons after being left at the altar by my two-timing fiance, barack obama…
now, like lili in oakland and like you, bmaz, as i find myself back in the u.s. for what appears to be an extended period of time, i must decide if i want to continue to plant my aging ass in front of my laptop or do i want to dust myself off and get busy working for the future of my country and my countrymen…
p.s. i plan to attend the occupy reno general assembly this afternoon…
And, yes, I DO take it personally
Don’t overthink it. The constitution is gone. Revoked. N/A. You’re not getting it back. This is not a legitimate state.
@phred: “The American Fall”– what an ominous double entendre. You have my vote for the shiny hubcap.
Bob in AZ
@simple: That is a complete load of crap. The Constitutional government in the US is still quite strong; but it, like ant democratic form of government can be co-opted and corrupted. And so ours has been. You, I and every other citizen that has stood by and allowed this is responsible. It can be changed; but mindlessly spewing bullshit won’t get it done.
Phred @7 – No, the ability to reasonably restrict time and place on 1st Amendment expression is nothing new at all, and goes back over 70 years like I indicated.
bmaz, I sure would find it helpful if you [in your free time — bahahaha] could write up an primer for what a “real” settlement [or prosecution] would look like.
The reference to Greece’s 50% haircut is a good start, but currently all we’ve got out there is the Bad Guys’ crappy proposal, and objections [like the excellent ones here]. I feel like we also need something POSITIVE to promote and rally behind.
@Bob Schacht: Thanks Bob, but ominous is in the eye of the beholder : ) I did use fall rather than autumn intentionally, but I meant it mostly in a seasonal, cyclical renewal sort of way. While I do hope the trappings of our global corporate empire do fall away, my hope is for rebirth, renewal, and a new flowering of our democracy.
There are lots of natural metaphors to draw from, falling leaves and spring buds, lobsters and snakes shedding the too-small shells and skins that prevent further growth, as there are anthropological ones such as the way farmers look back on the previous season, make adjustments, and plan for the next.
The idea that our government must remain the same runs counter to the way the natural world and human societies actually function. So a little fall, a little renewal, from time to time is a good and healthy thing to be celebrated and enjoyed : )
Of course, maybe I am unduly optimistic ; )
@bmaz: That’s why I used “slow, and not so slow”. The slow bit was in reference to the fact that we have tolerated an infringement on our 1st amendment rights for 70 years, the 4th amendment has only recently been utterly obliterated.
Nonetheless, all of this is subject to interpretation. There is nothing stopping our society from a reinterpretation of our Constitutional rights that broadens, rather than restricts them, just for a change of pace.
They don’t really look, either. There are a lot of stories – in blogs, and some in the news, showing banks doing just that.
There was also a post just the other day at dKos, containing a letter from a realtor who had had a property available as a short sale for more than a year, and every offer was rejected by the bank, including one that was cash.
You see the results every day, in small stuff: the drivers who ignore traffic rules because they won’t be cited, or the people who jaywalk figuring they won’t get caught. Or the people who don’t buy tickets for the subway, because the turnstiles don’t block them.
Many thanks for referring us to the story by Lili Loofbourow.
The insight she is missing — that explains almost everything in this case — is that democracy does not scale. All the problems of disenfranchisement that Lili describes are caused by excessive scale.
I’ve been saying that for years, but the Red Left will not listen. They want their big revolution. But that’s not going to happen, because this ain’t 1911.
Thanks for putting this up, blazing. The issue as to being reasonable and content neutral is impacted by some of what is going on as well. Nashville has been interesting to watch. The gov tried to put on an arbitrary curfew for the legislative plaza only (don’t want to inconvenience anyone other than the protestor) and there was a round of arrests. Judge dismissed them all and said gov didn’t have the authority to do what he did. Gov made a few changes and tried again, and judge dismissed again, saying gov could not impose that http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupy-nashville-gov-haslams-unconstituitional-cur/
Now with two judicial rulings, gov isn’t backing off, but the state police aren’t showing up to enforce his curfew. Perhaps because there is an I in Bivens?
@Mauimom: We should first be talking real prosecution before we get to real settlement. So start by charging the robosigners with fraud, then work up from there. Go after Countrywide for not conveying the notes with their mortgages. And certainly not settling, bc while that doesn’t happen, local lawyers in state after state are showing the extent of the corruption here.
Ultimately, though, there shouldn’t be a settlement, as any fair settlement would require so much more than the banks have as working capital. What should happen is to break up the banks (at least BoA and Citi, which are insolvent), and then do a right to rent in the houses.
As you highlight by putting the title in quotes, the proper plural of “attorney general” is “attorneys general”. It’s rather like gins & tonic instead of gin and tonics. In this case, that might be misleading. The preferred drink will be champagne, and there may be no more than one state attorney general willing to sign off on this blatant, expensive, debilitating and criminality-enabling “settlement” in an election year.
The one thing such a giveaway hopes to settle is the banks’ liability on all fronts under any theory of criminal or civil liability, state or federal. It’s what they are holding out for, though they would prefer to pay nothing for the privilege, which would make the taxpayers make another giant public subsidy to so-called private banks.
There might be one other giveaway, since the DoJ and its state counterparts seem willing to give away the public purse at the nod of a banker’s head. That is to privatize the oversight of any “settlement” and to hand the “oversight” contract on a no bid, no audit basis to John Ashcroft. Rest assured, there will be no clawback, no restoration of liability should the banks fail to meet any promises incorporated into the settlement (assuming there are any in the first place).
Once again, Mr. Obama is proving that he is more rightwing than his opponents; it’s just that he can string two sentences together without overheating or foaming at the mouth.
This “settlement” is to public accountability for civil and criminal liability as Dicks Cheney and Nixon are to good government and the restrained use of executive power. It is the antithesis of accountability for banks that put national and international economies at risk. It reinforces, will worsen and ensure the continued use of flawed, fraudulent business models, which depend on endless subsidies from state and federal taxpayers, from every mortgaged homeowner, every neighborhood, and every state land registry agency.
Its adoption would be an impeachable offense. The list of reasons is long. At the top would be two things: its overt disdain for the rule of law and its theft of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of personal and public resources in order to subsidize private unearned profits.
It really is that bad. And I still NEVER see anything about compensation to all the county recorders offices who were defrauded by the banksters’ use of MERS. What about that?
@emptywheel: And as we’ve said before, the threat of prosecution has no reach or legitimacy unless and until the state has conducted a reasonable, thorough investigation of the alleged wrongful or criminal conduct.
As with Ford’s pardon of Nixon, this sort of negligible cost settlement has, among its goals, precluding or stopping any and all investigations. Shutting off investigations prevents the facts from being documented and catalogued. That’s necessary to avoid what could well be a trillion dollars in liability or more for securities frauds, foreclosure frauds, and so on. The knock-on effects would take a decade or more to sort out.
Mr. Obama and his peers desperately want not to muss the hair of the MOTU. Credible investigations would do just that. So Mr. Obama would rather nuke the taxpayer than his patrons. The latter can then pretend not much was wrong, less needs to be fixed, and profits, like spice, must flow.
That process does not bode well for aggrieved homeowners, each of whom deserve a piece of that $20 billion pie. Individual slices are likely to be paper thin, and will take years to serve. Banks, after all, are better than health insurance companies at delaying reviews and settlements, and in misreading agreements, not to mention inserting disallowed or illegal charges and fees into the mix.
As huge as this is – for people, homeowners, neighborhoods, state budgets, the defeat of the rule of law and how that enables further corruption in the corporate-political complex – it is only one area of discontent. We still have a jobless recovery. State cuts in public employment, services and higher education budgets are just being felt. Employment discrimination for reasons of sex, age, current unemployment, credit score, health history, undesirable Internet history, ad nauseum is increasing. The “asset-wage-future for me and my kids” gap between the top 1% and the 99’ers is getting bigger.
We’re going into an election year. Neither “side” wants to own any of that, much less adjust legislation, rules and policies to correct any of it. In part, it’s because the divide is not between left and right, but between have and have not.
The government’s likely response will be to increase repression. Denver arrested at least 20 Occupy protesters today; its police used tear gas, “rubber” bullets and riot squads. It is not alone. Local law enforcement is awash in federally-funded toys for “enforcement” and staff with too much testosterone not to use them. That way lies madness.
The government can wise up and reconsider its role as handmaiden to the wealthy. One can hope. More likely, it won’t, and people will start remembering how we got the weekend, minority civil rights, living wages, Social Security, the right to form unions, the right to vote. They will start demanding a government that lives up to its Constitution, not one that uses it for fly paper.
Mr. Obama is not a guy given to playing chicken. At the first sign of an oncoming head lamp, he parks his car and asks if he can park the other guy’s. That is, as long as he’s driving a better car than Mr. Obama’s. It’s getting time to close the parking lot, to remind him that the price of office is the cost of public support and a government responsive to public needs. Lip service and further electioneering lies are not likely to be productive to that end. Neither is dumping on the public while rewarding and excusing the wealthiest among us and calling it “shared sacrifice”. That’s not envy of the rich. It is basic humanity, something not much in evidence inside the Beltway.
We are unaware of the deals going on among the elite, bankers, global entities, our President and politicians, and I suspect our economic situation is extremely dire, and possibly not solvable by any historic means or by cabinet or Fed members entusted with this responsibility, however, never outlining the real reasons nor aggresively holding the guilty responsible is going to lead to revolution. We can only believe that too many of the power elite are guilty, and that our President if not involved in the scheme is involved in the cover up.
I believe 2/3 of us have lost faith in our elected officials, and all institutions, including the financial exchanges.
We no longer have quality journalism, real news costs money. We better get our act together and dump our politicions, almost en masse, as both partieea have been corrupted.
I don’t think it’s gonna happen. Not until people with pitchforks and torches are at the gates, and maybe not even then.
Mr Alleged Constitutional Lawyer’s campaign has been trying to get California activists to help out now in Nevada, for next year’s election. Right before a bunch of local elections in CA. That isn’t the action of someone (or someone’s aides and staff) who’s going to help the little people.
@P J Evans:
Yep and how sad it will come to that. There will be a slight down trend during the winter but as another 2m loose UI before 3-12. Well if they aren’t angry then they have the govt. of choice.
There is a term in today’s otherwise good post, that causes me heartburn: “play by the rules”. This entered our national discourse in the 1992 presidential campaign when Bill Clinton wished to ingratiate himself with working folk. He spoke of them as “those who work hard and play by the rules”. As anyone paying attention understands, these folk are not “playing”; they are living. The phrase “playing by the rules” evokes notions of children’s games that, that although still constituting play, nevertheless involve rigid guidelines, such as 3 strikes only, 5 cards are dealt, taking turns, etc., but it’s all for fun, as well as training for the big time of adulthood. In adult life there are complex arrays of rules, especially those called laws. Violating them can result in serious penalties, such as imprisonment or death. This is no game, and certainly not play. To speak of following laws as play, even in metaphor, is to trivialize the rule of law itself. It seems the vernacular one would expect from the member of a privileged group, that regards itself as beyond any consequences of “the game”.
@rg: It is a phrase used by lawyers on both sides and judges in every courthouse across the land every day. The very people who live the rule of law, or try to anyway. I see nothing wrong with it. Semantics and phrasing are not the problem; we should be so luck as it was that trivial.
@bmaz: Clinton didn’t see anything wrong with it either, nor I suppose any who have become inured to its use. I stand by what I said, and only ask others to consider it.
Personally, I am weary from the grief I feel for the death of most everything I have believed in, but within a short time there will be mobs of people who have nothing to loose,who wil act against the injustices, and the arbitrary rule of law, I can only hope that they discern who the enemy is,P J Evans:
I’m glad bmaz mentioned Hoovervilles. Yeah, just like now, they were protesting because the man at the top, the policymaker, was giving them his rear.
Interesting connection with Tea Party who also protested Obama. But the difference is that the TP walked into the vacuum that O created for them: both the TP and Obama are on the same side: austerity and authoritarianism.
Remember, Remember, the 5th of November
Remember how Occupy Portland started with a parade headed by its Mayor and ~10,000 marchers?
Regarding the police raid of Jamison Park on Oct. 30, 2011 …
From http://twitter.com/#!/OccupyNorthWest/status/130883700454989826 :
From http://twitter.com/#!/OccupyOregon/status/130562671358640128 :
The tune that has kept running through my head, off and on, the last decade or so has been “New Speedway Boogie”. It’s particularly strong right now.
One way or another, one way or the other.
[Note to mods: How come when I refresh a page at Emptywheel, the refresher forgets where I was and drops me somewhere back in the middle? Unless I made careful note of the last entry before refreshing, I’m lost.– Bob in AZ]
Everybody Says Don’t. Starts at about the 7:21 mark, and I inexorably thought of this post. I picked this video because the quality was good. This also points to the genius of the 99% in being able to encompass a great many different 1% groups.
“I fully admit just how much I struggle with saying the above. I really do; it is uncomfortable and discomfiting.”
You know, that’s pretty much the core of my occasional quibble with your commentary. Obey The Law is just the flip side of Following Orders. Jackson @ Nuremberg had to account for laws tailored-made to make Nazi crimes “legal” – and the Nazis might have been more meticulous to polish that veneer than the US oligarchs and their retainers.
It is a big issue. Not even the Founders’ more respectful view of revolutionary justice – juries of peers instead of judges, nullification – can resolve this dilemma. I suppose that the closest to a “solution” is the civil disobedience approach – your disobey the law, intentionally, and you accept being held accountable – you take a stand and set an example. And sometimes, you evade the corrupted institutions and the law of oppression until after the revolution. The Founders tried to account for their lawbreaking, but they did not voluntarily submit to the King’s courts.
Consider that you are living in a nation founded in an act of treason – maybe it can provide some guidance.