Monday, October 19, 2009

How Tired Are We? How Little Shame Have They?

As Madeline Kahn sighed in Blazing Saddles: I'm soooooooo tired. Beulahman echoes her sentiments at his blog (where I stole this historic performance) as he exposes the economic/financial lies of the last 40 years (since Nixon took the U.S. off the gold standard). Today I think this is worthwhile considering seriously for more than the obvious reasons (emphasis marks added - Ed.).

But even more important is this nagging feeling I have that it appears that Americans are so far gone into oblivion, or more likely, are too caught up in their own life’s struggles to be able to care fully: hoping that what is apparent to many of us will work itself out and then we can move on with our consumer society and in-debt ourselves to the rest of the world even more deeply. Maybe you are watching more TV than spend time on the intertubes, so your view will be clouded by all their fluffy talk. But as George Washington points out, “Happy Talk, Can NOT Fix The Economy“.

This “Happy Talk” is bogus because (of) the leadership (Big Money, not the pols, themselves, for the pols only do the bidding of Big Money). This is glaringly obvious if you simply do a cursory view of their campaign finances at OpenSecrets. Nobody takes the kind of money that Big Money gives these crooks without indebtedness. Guido the Enforcer doesn’t like it when the pawn Pols take money, then spit in the face of The Don. George lays out the procession of corruption below (although the grip of Big Money has had a handhold since way before Nixon):

We're all tired of being on the case (for years) of exposing the frauds and not having it make one iota of difference in our lives. On a personal note, today I got the final notice of the lien placed on my last storage unit. This signifies the end of the line for me. It's the symbolic end of being able to reclaim any part of my former life. And the new one will undoubtedly involve something much more severe than merely living on the street.
Dear Ms. S, We need to contact you about your past due bill for your storage unit. Your account will soon go into lien status immediately due to an unpaid remaining balance of $430.40. Please contact M** immediately to settle your balance to prevent any further action.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel except for that lonesome freight train coming through at 100 miles per hour from the other way bearing down on US.

Outing denizens of his own ex-backyard, Ralph Nader asks quite impolitely:

What planet is Congressman Barney Frank on, anyway? It is the planet of the banks and other financial firms that keep his campaign coffers humming, as their chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. On his extraterrestrial perch, camouflaged by his witty and irreverent observations, he sees the agony of gouged, debt-ridden consumers and homeowners, but his actions do not measure up.

As of this writing before the final set of hearings, Mr. Frank has dropped key provisions from a proposal to establish an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).

The banks did not want a consumer right of action against companies violating standards for their mortgages, credit and debit cards, or payday and installment loans. Barney said sure!

The banks want a weak oversight panel consisting of their toady regulators, who failed repeatedly and miserably in the past decade to stave off the collapse of Wall Street and its economically lethal consequences for workers and consumers. Barney said sure!

The banks want their buddies in Congress to drop the standard of reasonableness by which the new consumer protection agency can go after wildly gouging fees and deceptive practices, such as the check overdraft racket that rakes in $40 billion for the banks. Barney said, sure, sure!

The American Bankers Association is crowing like a thousand roosters. The five biggest banks - now even bigger after the collapse, their taxpayer bailout and their acquisitions - are crowing the loudest.

And why not? They speculated with retirement and other savings of the American people. Trillions of dollars were drained from the accounts and looted from these innocents.

. . . Most stunning to Americans, right or left, who follow these big money boys is that they are developing more speculative derivative packages, loaded with luscious fees, such as securitized bets on life insurance policies. Does this remind you of the kind of financial wheeling and dealing that sank Wall Street and the economy last year?

. . . As long as the top banking bosses get their huge bonuses and their mismanaged, corrupted banks get their taxpayer bailouts, because they are too big to fail, they will continue pushing their devastating greed with impunity.

The issue is not only shame. The issue is guilt and for that, prosecution, conviction and incarceration are the remedies. That is the only prospect that sobers up the corporate crooks.

Adequate prosecution budgets, tougher corporate criminal laws and a government going for law and order - none of these are in any legislative proposals or in the hearts and minds of our Washington representatives.

Paul Craig Roberts has crossed that line also by delineating the treason clearly in his latest: The Rich Have Stolen The Economy.

Bloomberg reports that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s closest aides earned millions of dollars a year working for Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and other Wall Street firms. Bloomberg reports that none of these aides faced Senate confirmation. Yet, they are overseeing the handout of hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer funds to their former employers.

The gifts of billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money provided the banks with an abundance of low cost capital that has boosted the banks’ profits, while the taxpayers who provided the capital are increasingly unemployed and homeless. JPMorgan Chase announced that it has earned $3.6 billion in the third quarter of this year. Goldman Sachs has made so much money during this year of economic crisis that enormous bonuses are in the works. London Evening Standard reports that Goldman Sachs’ “5,500 London staff can look forward to record average payouts of around 500,000 pounds ($800,000) each. Senior executives will get bonuses of several million pounds each with the highest paid as much as 10 million pounds ($16 million).“

In the event the banksters can’t figure out how to enjoy the riches, the Financial Times is offering a new magazine--”How To Spend It.” New York City’s retailers are praying for some of it, suffering a 15.3% vacancy rate on Fifth Avenue.

Statistician John Williams (shadowstats.com) reports that retail sales adjusted for inflation have declined to the level of 10 years ago: “Virtually 10 years worth of real retail sales growth has been destroyed in the still unfolding depression.”

Fortune Magazine brags to US that:

Goldman Sachs is having a banner year, and is getting a big boost from government programs.

It's probably cold comfort, but Goldman Sachs couldn't have done it without your help.

Even al-Jazeera knows what we don't (emphasis marks added - Ed.):

Goldman Sachs' profits mostly came from trading in bonds, currencies and commodities US bank Goldman Sachs has posted third-quarter profits that are more than three times the earnings it made at the same time last year.

Goldman, which received billions of dollars in US taxpayer money at the height of the global financial crisis, reported on Thursday that it earned $3.03bn in the July-September period, or $5.25 a share, bettering predictions of $4.24 a share by analysts.

The banking giant earned $810m, or $1.81 a share, during its fiscal third quarter of last year, which ended in August.

While Goldman usually devotes about 50 per cent of net earnings to pay and benefits, its strong third-quarter performance allowed it to drop the ratio of compensation to revenue to about 43 per cent, while still setting aside $5.4bn.

Robert Becker reminds us that:

In a stunning 1906 Cosmopolitan expose, journalist David Graham Phillips made history with his headline, “The Treason of the Senate.” He then justified his condemnation of mercenary senators, then cherrypicked by states and owned by nefarious Trusts:

Treason is a strong word, but not too strong, rather too weak, to characterize the situation in which the Senate is the eager, resourceful, indefatigable agent of interests as hostile to the American people as any invading army could be.

By 1914, the 17th Amendment mandated senators be popularly elected but, judging by today’s unevolved results, we have not yet salvaged one of the Founders' worst blunders. This American replica of the House of Lords, our least democratic, least representative organ, lives on, still the blockage after all these years.

You’d think franchising ex-slave descendants, non-land-owning men and wise women would save us? Yet our pretend elections, especially when counting votes tests southern I.Q.’s, only obscure contemporary 1906-style corruption. We pay senators from, say, Oklahoma as dumb as posts, as willfully ignorant about science and economics as history, hence easy pickings for modern “trusts” run by smarter executives.

Beyond the energy, mining, banking and endless war cartels, robber barons of health will spend $400 million fighting reform just this year, on top of $50 million channeled to Senate Finance committee members. None dare call that treason, just good business.

And if you don't believe me, even the con artists at CNBC aren't afraid to say that (emphasis marks added - Ed.):

This global recession will turn into a "full-blown depression," Nicu Harajchi, CEO of N1 Asset Management, said Friday, adding that global stimulus hasn't come down to Main Street.

Wall Street is making money, while consumers aren't, Harajchi told CNBC. "We have seen the G20 coming out with cross border capital injections of $5 trillion this year. . . But a lot of this money hasn't really come down to Main Street," he said.

"When it comes down to corporate America, corporate Europe or even in Asia, in Japan, we are not seeing Main Street making any money," he said. "Consumers are losing their jobs. They are struggling with their mortgages, with their credit. And we are just seeing this continuing."

The $5 trillion injection is "monetary expansion," according to Harajchi. "At some point, which we believe to be 2010/11, some of the central banks are going to recall some of that money and that will turn from monetary expansion to monetary contraction."

He also said he doesn't see the corporates or the public "being able to pay back that debt."

"We see 2010 becoming a much more risky year than 2009," he said.

Harajchi said unemployment data are "a leading indicator" instead of a lagging indicator.

It certainly was for me.

Suzan __________________

2 comments:

Serving Patriot said...

Suzan,

I'm sending good vibes your way in the hope that you can hang on a bit longer, friend.

SP

Suzan said...

Thank you, friend.

I have until next week.

Cheers!

S