Category Archives: History

Knocked Out!


 

January 19, 2014

It’s 2:00AM and another American Citizens has been knocked out!  A 70-year-old man is left lying in a parking lot, after being attacked by thugs, playing the “Knockout” game.  http://bit.ly/1f2tVO3

This amounts to no less than “terrorism” on our streets.  Predominately black “youths” are running wild on American streets attacking women and the elderly at will.

Where is the outrage from President Obama?

  • Where is Attorney General Eric Holder who is so quick to prosecute hate crimes against “one” white idiot that has done this?
  • Where is the outrage from the black community?
  • The Congressional Black Caucus?
  • The black community leaders?

As an American you have every right to arm and protect yourself. Ultimately that is your responsibility, not the governments. They cannot nor should not have a cop on every corner.

But the above-mentioned government servants hold some of the highest offices in the land, and they should stop being racist cowards and use their official positions to speak out against these acts of terrorism by these thugs. (Thugz is the term they prefer)

Now – before you go pushing the “hate” button, because I called out the race of people doing this, let me inform you that I am an equal opportunity observer.

I know that it was fanatic radical Muslims that flew airplanes into the Twin Towers.

I know that the majority of mass killings using rifles and bombs in schools, movie theaters, public streets, Gov. buildings, political speeches, and military installations are Caucasians. (Generally)

I don’t care for those types of people either!  But for God’s sake, do these idiots really expect other people to not fear them, or at the very least not profile them?

It is considered “racism” for a white woman to pull her pocketbook in tight against her body, when approaching a black person on the street.  Blacks feel that store detectives are “stalking them”.  A black person doesn’t trust a white government worker.  English as a 2nd language people speak their native tongue and have the audacity to feel slighted because those that don’t understand, have a look of confusion on their faces.

Perhaps it would do some good, if all these special groups of minorities and the majority went back to Vigilantism.

Since we cannot get groups like CAIR or the Congressional Black Caucus or the head organizations of any of these peoples to publicly disavow these hate-filled actions of hurt and death – maybe a good old-fashioned Vigilante group should speak for them.  Wow!  Talk about a “Knockout Game”.

When it hits the news that a group of black vigilantes has “taken it to the shed” on one of these street punks that committed such a heinous crime, then maybe they will see the smiles and knowing glances from other ethnic groups return.  How about after an illegal alien beats a rap on a technicality – we see a photo of the bum lying in the street with some serious hurt surrounding him, and proof that his own peoples are responsible for said condition. (And, they’re coming back if he does it again)  White shooters that make it to prison are doomed to a life of rape and serial butt kicking’s at any given moment, so we can feel a little bit of revenge for this fools actions.

It has become painfully (as in Knocked Out) obvious, that our police protection cannot work all the time.  The police cannot protect you from getting assaulted – but they can lock the fool up that does it – if they can find him/her and you press charges.  Afterwards the judge slaps a fine on the offender and a few weeks in county jail, and this idiot is released into the mainstream to do it again.  What this offender is not afraid of is “the system”.  However, when this released offender gets his/her butt kicked by vigilantes, with the threat of a return visit, they start to think twice, before re-offending.

For those that can’t stomach the word “vigilantism” – I offer up “Mob Justice”.  You know what it is – and it makes you cringe that someone could suggest that there really is a good reason to desire it.  I have serious doubts that any of these street punks would like to have to answer to a few of these men.

It’s nothing personal – just business!

Don’t mess with them or their people and they won’t mess with you.  It’s a damn shame that these punks would come to fear vigilante or mob justice more than the local law authorities, but they need to “Respect” something/someone.

Seeing or reading about “the knockout game” makes my blood boil every time I hear about young men attacking women and the elderly. There must be “Recourse”!  Just like the situation with “voter fraud”, we hear of the occasional arrest of a person that has been charged in “the knockout game”.  What we don’t hear about or see is the actual penalty the offender must pay or is paying.  Perhaps if this kind of “breaking story” could find its way to the 6:00 O’clock News on television, every night for a week or month (just like Obamacare) – citizens of our nation would feel more comfortable that something is being done to curtail such frightening and deadly activities by these terrorist amongst us.  If not – bring on the vigilantes.

Job Cuts and Healthcare for a Dying Nation


When it comes to job cuts… every schoolboy knows that private sector companies are converting their workforce to part time because of ObamaCare.

Lots of people that have insurance are seeing their premiums double because of ObamaCare.

People that don’t have insurance have to either buy expensive insurance or pay a big fine.

Citizens that have neither money nor jobs get free doctor and hospital service.. Good thing for that, eh?

All of these wonderful societal improvements brought to you by the people who gave all of the free worlds manufacturing, by way of Most Favored Nation Trade Status, to China, a slave state.  And now these very people who gave us this ruin, are going to tell us that they have the competence and credibility to fix the economy.

Is it any wonder that they don’t want us to have guns?

I Stand with Senator Cruz!

George Washington and Our Founders had balls on steroids!  They only had one third of the country standing with them in 1776. The guys with guts made things much better for us and made History!  Why?  Because ( THE GUYS WITH BALLS,  WHO WIN AGAINST ALL ODDS, ALWAYS MAKE HISTORY )

300 Greek Spartans held back 10″s of thousands of Persians! WE STILL HEAR ABOUT THE 300 GUYS AND THEIR LEADER, AND THE SIMULTANEAOUS NAVEL BATTLE THAT THE GREEKS WON!!  Thanks to the 300 guys who sacrificed their lives!!

Thank you Senator Cruz and those with him – DAMN THE TORPEDOS, FULL SPEED AHEAD!!

God help them to turn America ” Back ” to being THE country of Freedom / Liberty and the pursuit of happiness with ” MINIMAL ” (GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE!)

The Democrat Party wants to enslave all the non-welfare population under the guise of some sort of hermaphrodite “health care” system that is nothing more than a cover for the IRS to confiscate everything the non-welfare class owns.  “Come on down to the plantations now, and your future social security, homes and finances will belong to us.”  Ask any Union boss and they will tell you it’s ok – they’re doing it for you and the common good, as well as “the law of the land.”  Afterwards, you can have a nice conversation with a  scarecrow – this will be as logical and make as much sense.

Democrats wrote and passed the Unaffordable Healthcare Act, without one vote from the Republican party. The Republican party represents about half of the country… And had no say!  No Democrat read the bill.  No Democrat bothered to consider the true cost of the bill.  No Democrat wants to be required to submit themselves to this bill’s requirements, and gave themselves along with Unions and certain corporations an exemption from it.

Ted Cruz and Mike Lee fought to fulfill the campaign promises every Republican made, and their actions have been revelatory for all of us.  The Democrat Party and the RINO’s that pretend to not hear or listen to their constituents had best heed the “Ides of 2014.”  It’s closer than you think!

The Sell Out of Our Nation Begins


The sell out happened years ago.  As a matter of fact, its an entire different argument as to when it actually happened.  Only theory can point at it’s beginning but never with a fact that can’t be argued by anyone wishing to do so.  The end result is that the entire nation started fighting each other and no one really knows what they are fighting for.  They think they do, but they don’t. They have enough of a mental picture to carry them from disagreement to disagreement until they bore themselves and the argument temporarily goes away. Liberals never have facts and conservatives refuse to show them, instead telling them to look facts up for themselves which they will never do.  So talking points and liberal headlines is the basis of their poor arguments.  Everyone loves a pushover, so conservatives always wind up in these one sided battles.  Meanwhile we lose the war because we don’t recognize how our own constitution works.
Example:  Has anyone noticed that the Republican House of Representatives sent a bona fide Bill to Congress for approval and the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid determined it wasn’t worth reading and ‘TABLED” it?
Seriously???  He tabled it.
That means that one man stopped the entire judicial process the same as if the President had Vetoed a passed bill.  So now the way business used to be done with the House sending a bill to Congress and Congress votes on it and says yes or no, is now being stopped by one man.  One senator speaking for the entire nation, determines what a body of law such as the US Senate can deliberate and debate on.
AND THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES ARE OK WITH THIS?????
How about a agency called Moodys that the President or Democrat Party uses to threaten the credit rating of the nation.  How scary is that?  The very people that passed out Triple A (AAA) ratings like candy to Wall Street Bankers on their garbage CDO’s and was one of the biggest contributors  of the financial meltdown in 08.  Now these techno thugs are calling the shots by threatening the financial well being of our nation and triggering another meltdown worldwide.  As soon as the Liberals get what they want, this patriotic agency will blow the whistle and call it all back.  They’ll claim a mistake was made and that everything is actually cool again.  After the all clear has put everything back to normal, no one will remember anything.  And America will accept this farce as just something that happened.  Nothing to see here, keep moving.
Then we have a very tired Republican House and members of the Party that have presented 6 bills to Congress (if you count McConnells plan  or that of the Gang of 6) all in search of a deal.
A Deal???
Our nation is becoming insolvent and our politicians are looking for a deal.  A deal is a mixture of compromise and politics and generally does only 10% of what it is supposed to do.  The Democrats haven’t brought anything to the table except Obama and Reid that are still trying to get the Bush Tax Cuts abolished.  To them it doesn’t matter that just a few months ago they struck a Deal to keep them in place.  Obama hated taking that butt kicking in front of the whole nation, but he’s damned determined to get his way and re-elected if it bankrupts the whole nation to do it!  Meanwhile the nation is divided and at each others throats and over what?  They don’t fully know except for one thing “Don’t give in to the other side”.  Democrats never offer any ideas, they simply say what they want and until they get exactly that, everything else is a NO.  No plans, no ideas, no compromise, no nothing.  So why do Republicans feel they have to continue to do all the work and take all the blame?  What really sucks is they know that all they really need to do is stand there with their arms crossed after having passed a bill in the House and sent it to Congress.  They should be just about done being the fall guy for Harry Reid.
The question is:  WHY DO THEY DO IT?  Is is just to be fighting? They don’t need to!  the whole country and world looks to them to do this but they don’t have to!  They’re inviting blame on themselves by even playing Harry Reids game!
While all this is happening, there will be enablers out there amongst both parties fighting to keep this socialistic beast alive or from making it back.  What are we going to call it this time ladies and gentlemen?  The COLD CIVIL WAR.  It doesn’t even matter as most people truly won’t even know the real reason they’re fighting!  See ya at the other great farce:
ELECTION DAY – Who can steal the day and have the best story and loudest chearleaders after having done so?
Brian Gray

NEWT – NOT GUILTY


Presented as something to think about while the GOP attempts to eat themselves and American voters drown in the water cooler.

 
First of all, what exactly were the charges against Newt? David Bonior (a Democrat) brought 75 charges against Newt – and 74 of them were found to have NO MERIT WHATSOEVER. The last charge, whether Newt funded his college class “Renewing American Civilization” properly, was too complicated a tax issue for the committee to investigate on its own, so they brought in an outside tax expert to investigate. Two charges arose out of this investigation.

 
The first ‘charge’ from the ethics committee is that he “may have” violated tax law by using tax-deductible contributions from nonprofit organizations to teach an allegedly partisan college course.

 
The lectures never mentioned the words “Republicans” or “Democrats,” and one entire session was spent praising FDR. Is that “partisan?” Not only has a former commissioner of the IRS has come forward and said that no tax laws were violated, but an Ethics Committee lawyer even gave approval for the class before Newt started it.  But then, as now, Gingrich had several overlapping projects going on. And Democrats alleged that Gingrich used the college course to promote a political agenda.

 
The second ‘charge’ from the committee is that, in the course of the investigation, Newt provided false information to the committee. Do you know what this “false information” is? What’s funny is that the Ethics Committee itself approved the course Newt taught, the same course that started this whole “ethics violation” farce. Newt wasn’t even paid for the course. In any case, I am not getting into all the details of the whole ethics violation mess, and the incredible double standard shown, since that would warrant a separate blog. I just find it odd that the Ethics Committee turned around and slammed Newt with a $300,000 penalty for something that they had approved!  In addition, if a reprimand was enough “punishment” for Barney Frank, who was charged by the same committee with fixing 30 parking tickets, and writing a misleading probation letter on behalf of child pornographer, cocaine dealer, male prostitute and lover Steven Gobie, why did Newt get slammed with such a harsher penalty?

 
The only reason that Rep. David Bonior and other Democrats filed 75 ethics charges against Speaker Gingrich in the first place is because Newt filed and forced former Democrat Speaker Jim Wright to resign in 1988. The whole ethics violation farce was about nothing but revenge. Bonior and the Democrats wanted revenge for Jim Wright and for losing the House in 1994 and 1996.

 
Newt could have legally used campaign funds or a defense trust fund to pay the ethics penalty or sued the lawyers who he said misled him into what he calls a technical ethics violation. He has the legal right to do any of those things. But did he? No. Gingrich said he and his wife decided he had “a moral obligation to pay the $300,000 out of personal funds.” So, he took out an 8 year loan at prime plus 1.5 – which was about 10% interest. By taking out this type of loan from Dole, not only would he be relieving the taxpayers of paying for the penalty fine, but Newt would then not be beholden to any bank, lending institute, etc. Thus, he wouldn’t have to worry about conflicts every time a banking issue came before him.

 
The attacks, both personally and professionally were capitol hill payback. In May 1988, Gingrich, along with 77 other House members, brought ethics charges against Democratic Speaker Jim Wright, who was alleged to have used a book deal to circumvent campaign-finance laws and House ethics rules.  Nine years later, “the Hill” sought their revenge.

 
In the summer of 1997 several House Republicans attempted to replace Newt as Speaker, claiming Gingrich’s public image was a liability.  The attempted “coup” began July 9 with a meeting of Republican conference chairman John Boehner of Ohio and Republican leadership chairman Bill Paxon of New York. (John Boehners judgment has always been questionable)

 
On July 11, Gingrich met with senior Republican leadership to assess the situation. He explained that under no circumstance would he step down. If he was voted out, there would be a new election for Speaker, which would allow for the possibility that Democrats—along with dissenting Republicans—would vote in Dick Gephardt (a Democrat) as Speaker.

 
Democrats blamed Newt for the government shutdown of 1994-95.  Gingrich and the incoming Republican majority’s promise to slow the rate of government spending conflicted with the president’s agenda for Medicare, education, the environment and public health, leading to a temporary shutdown of the federal government.  Republican amendments would have limited appeals by death-row inmates, made it harder to issue health, safety and environmental regulations, and would have committed the president to a seven-year balanced budget. During the crisis, Gingrich’s public image suffered from the perception that the Republicans’ hardline budget stance owed partly to a snub by Clinton during the flight to and from Israeli leader Rabin’s funeral in Israel.  That perception developed after the trip when Gingrich told reporters he was dissatisfied that Clinton had not invited him to discuss the budget during the flight. He complained of being instructed to use the plane’s rear exit to deplane, saying the snub was “part of why you ended up with us sending down a tougher continuing resolution”.

 
Newt “caused the government to get shut down by holding President Clintons feet to the fire”, and bringing charges against Clinton for sexual misconduct in the White House.  While the Republicans still maintained majority control of the United States House of Representatives after the 1998 midterm elections, they would also lose a large number of seats to the Democrats in this election as well.  Shortly after the mid-term elections, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, who was one of the people leading the impeachment proceedings against Clinton, announced he would resign from Congress as soon as he was able to find somebody to fill his vacant seat;  Gingrich fulfilled this pledge and officially resigned from Congress on January 25, 1999. During the impeachment process, Gingrich’s private polls suggested that Clinton’s scandal would result in the GOP gaining six to thirty seats in the US House of Representatives in the 1998 midterm election.

 
Republicans lost five seats in the House in the 1998 elections—the worst midterm performance in 64 years for a party that didn’t hold the presidency. Polls showed that the attempt to remove President Clinton from office, by Gingrich and the Republican Party, was deeply unpopular among voters.  Gingrich suffered much of the blame for the election loss. Facing a rebellion in the Republican caucus, he announced on November 5, 1998, that he would not only stand down as Speaker, but would leave the House as well.Gingrich made this announcement only a day after being elected to an 11th term from his district. Commenting on his departure, Gingrich said, “I’m willing to lead but I’m not willing to preside over people who are cannibals. My only fear would be that if I tried to stay, it would just overshadow whoever my successor is.”

 

 
Brian Gray

Did You See That?


THE McQUEARY SYNDROME IN AMERICA

A grown man watched as a man raped a young boy in the showers and did nothing.  Oh, lest I forget, he did run home and tell his Daddy.  Daddy told him to report it to his Head Coach.  And then the whole thing died off into “not to be spoken of again” status.  The Head Coach told two other men that were positioned a little further up the ladder.  They then told the President – and the coverup began.

We all know the circumstances of the Penn State Pedophilia case.  We’re mad as hell and can only pray that justice will be swift.  By the way, the man charged with raping multiple boys is out of jail on bail to the tune of $400,000 dollars.  Thats the price to buy the temporary freedom for one of the most heinous acts on fellow humans in decades!  Now get this:  Students actually rioted because the Head Coach was fired.  Then after realizing how ridiculous they looked to the world, they held vigils for the children that were raped.  Such contrition brings a tear to my eye.

What about the damn court system that allowed this (innocent until proven guilty) man out of jail?  Makes for good reading doesn’t it?  Makes an even greater story that takes the big microscope off of our government scams and coverups.  Not a day goes by that doesn’t reveal yet another undeniably criminal act by our political leaders of this nation.

We see these acts:

Libya
Fast n Furious
Fed Gov. suing a state for protecting itself
The Fed audit and money appropriated to foreign countries
The Killing of Jobs Bills while unemployment soars (400K jobs on Canadian Oil Pipeline)
1st Lady goes to Paris on taxpayer dime while America reels in joblessness, homelessness and hunger
Gulf Oil Spill disaster that paid BP to be wrong
After midnight legislation on bills the nation doesn’t want
Election Fraud
Main Stream Media doing a High Tech Lynching on Republican Presidential Candidate
Transparency Promises broken by our President
Normal Vetting Process of our President usurped by media and all politicians (where are the college, health, birth certificates?) – OMG! now I’m a racist Birther!
The building of a Muslim Mosque at Ground Zero
Taxpayer dollars to bail out Fannie and Freddie every year

Hundreds of atrocities that continue to build daily and have been building for decades – yet go unanswered and the perpetrators go unpunished.

Like McQueary, we see these things happen and tell someone.  AND THEN THATS IT!  We sit behind our keyboards and type emails to our friends and bitch about it.  Why?  Because we all know in our hearts that this can not happen in our country and SOMEONE will do something about it later.  The problem is, that “later” never happens.  How can it?  Before the present disaster or criminal act can become old news, another one takes place.  It’s like driving 90 mph down the interstate and staring out the drivers side window.  Our minds fail to process current events when it is deluged daily by our politicians and even the weather.  One good tornado can take Americans minds off of Fast n Furious, Libya, or the Fed Budget.  (which hasn’t been passed in over 900 days)

Occupy Wall Street people had the right idea.  They took their gripe to the streets.  Problem is, they took every idiot, illiterate and totally screwed up person they could find with them.  OR DID THEY?  The press sure made sure to use them as a cover for what was happening behind the doors of the most powerful people in Washington.  If you gather a few thousand people in one place for several days, I can promise you that someone is going to get robbed, raped, shot or get killed in a fight.  There will be at least one idiot that does something as stupid and disgusting as to defecate on our American Flag.  The press will be there and report it, thereby taking the seriousness and the real reason people are angry out of the equation.

If the OWS people had of protested any particular act (of which they had hundreds to choose from) instead of showing up with their Socialism, Marxism, Communism posters/signs they may have gotten somewhere. Their intentions were to protest things that were wrong on Wall Street and instead turned it into a challenge against democracy.  They have a right to think whatever they desire, but they have to know that turning their media grabbing attention to attacks on democracy would make them the scourge of the rest of the nation.  What could have been a tidal wave of unity against our political leaders turned into a referendum on socialism.  Now I have to state that for those who think that I am wrong, just look at how the average American views OWS and its participants.  Your argument would be with each other and the press.  Thats how you got portrayed and that was an abject failure.

At the very least – OWS Protesters should be congratulated for having the balls to get out from behind their computers and do something.  No matter how screwed up their organizational skills were, or their message was, at least they tried to do something.  I would have rather tried and failed than to say I never tried. Hopefully a lesson was learned or is presently being learned from this.  The right to vote will no longer save our nation!  Politicians with the press in tow have now become the most powerful machine known to mankind.  They know how to manipulate the masses into a non focused state and keep them there.

We have got to do more than sing to the choir!  People like McQueary, just perpetuate the crimes with their non action.  YOU MATTER!  Your voice and presence are very much needed at the next rally/protest or whatever the event is.  If you don’t speak up, your coach won’t either and your team loses!

Think about it!

Brian Gray

Don’t Blame US


So many well intentioned people feel that Dr. Ron Paul is wrong and ignorant for wanting to stop the US Wars.

Lets take a look at that.  Why does anyone think that the US needs to have boots on the ground in countries all around the world?

Dr. Paul says in his opinion that other countries consider our country to be a threat by being there in the first place.

He gives the example of how we would feel if other countries did that to us.

What would be the logical outcome if Russia or China were to build a huge military base in Iraq?  How about Cuba?  Would Americans feel safe if Korea began a base in Mexico?  What if the land owned by China in this country were to be used for Chinese military training?  Coming soon will be the financial bailout of Europe by the Chinese – what happens when China determines it’s in their best interest to have a base in Italy?

Who the hell died and left the United States in charge of the world?  Americans pumped full of patriotism were hell bent about stopping Russia from doing the same things we’re doing across the globe.  We fought off Germany and Japan for trying that same principle.  We fought the Vietnam War which was really US against Russia and China and all we accomplished was loss of life.

Is it because we promote the Democratic way that makes us right and them wrong?  Who are we to say what is right for other countries?  Did we not fight a war with England to stop them from telling us how to live our lives and taxing us?  Just because we give out billions of dollars in financial aid, does that give us the right to occupy their lands?

The question is:  What are we occupying their lands for?  Is the answer the same tired old statement that we have a presence there to ebb the flow of communism?  So the old adages that worked on people in the 50’s are supposed to be good reasons for World Dominance?

I got news for ya!  The world does not want to be dominated!  If they wanted our brand of democracy and someone to tell them what’s right and wrong – they would ask for our help and opinions!  Politicians and school teachers have been preaching for 60 years about how the world needs us to be a presence globally lest said countries dissolve into wars and famine.

Now I have to ask you – Who do you think is paying for this world protection?

News break for you:  The United States Government does not have any money that it does not take first from its citizens!  Those “Bullets Over Baghdad” were all bought with your labor and taxes.  So are the schools and roads and hospitals and anything else that the American government does in its Nation Building quest.  Just how much of a Global Citizen do you want to be?  How much do you desire to pay for this title?  Are you more of a global citizen than the people of Switzerland and how does that make you feel?

Did they ever teach you in school that if you pay attention, work hard and keep your mouth shut, that you can grow up to be a productive member of society and PAY to make the world a safer place?  How much time have you spent in consideration that it is your tax dollars that are protecting oil fields in the Middle East so that other nations can have easier access to oil at a lower price per gallon?  Did you ever think that your own children would attend a substandard school while your tax dollars built new schools in another country?  Should your son die to protect the rights of Omar from being violated by Mohammed!  Thats a very graphic thought, but what does it take to get Americans to realize that we should not be doing this.

WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY

Why should Americans feel that we need “boots on the ground” in another country to protect our way of life and freedom?
There was once a cartoon that characterized a “salesman” attempting to sell machine guns to a Roman general in front of the generals tent.  In the background it was clear that the Roman army was equipped with shields, spears and bows w/arrows.  The caption said:  “Not now, I have a war to fight.”  That my fellow Americans is the general thinking of most people when it comes to protecting America.

Withdrawing troops and bases from foreign soil does not mean “Isolationism.”  It does not mean that we as a nation desire to tell the world to go away!  Other countries see the United States as “Bully’s” as opposed to our grand notion that we are there to protect them.  You can argue all you want that they are wrong but it is still their perception that matters in their country.  Sure, there have been crying kids and parents thanking our troops gratefully, in some country that we helped win a battle – after the bombs stopped and the burials began.  How long after the funerals were over do you think that the opinions began to change?  A year, 5-10 years?  How do you think they feel 50 years later?  Just how wrong is Dr. Paul for stating we should pull out of these countries?  After all, it is Americans they are shooting at and not each other.  It is our embassy’s that are getting bombed.  It is our military installations that they attack.  What kind of clue do you need to understand that it is their country and they don’t want us in it?

Therefore, the very strategy of “protecting our interest” has to change.

Have you ever personally witnessed what our military is capable of when we take the handcuffs off?  I have, even though it was 40 years ago.  I have to believe that what was once powerful, is even more so today with technology and much better weapons and planes.  Our navy, with its aircraft carriers sitting miles offshore can do amazing things.  Airplanes flying at the speed of sound can shoot missiles through open windows and return to the safety of the carrier which is guarded by another ship called a Destroyer.  Do we really need 200 military bases when one will suffice?  Do we really need our men and women walking the streets of a combat zone.  How about sitting in a tent or barracks at a military compound waiting on a hostile missile to take them out?  Why? Why? Why?

We have a Secretary of State and many Ambassadors to negotiate with the heads of state of all the world.  There are so many military and world leaders that no one even knows who they are.  Let them do their jobs and quit using the threat of violence in the forms of soldiers walking the streets  to do our bidding and protect us.  We don’t need to lose a life to make a point!  If our leaders can not negotiate a settlement – we sanction them and hold our ground til they do agree.  If that doesn’t work and they take an American life, we send them a present.  That present should be in the form of our advanced technology.  We can send a little technology or a lot of technology, depending on how long it takes to make the point. The present should be delivered from Utah or a carrier located so far off shore that it can’t be seen with binoculars.

Problem solved.

Thats not Isolationism!  Its Protectionism!  Our country’s leaders need to “Say what they mean and mean what they say.”  If they can’t do that, they need to be replaced.  Iran released hostages because they knew Ronald Reagan would not tolerate their actions, the day he came into office.  Our country has to have leaders that other countries respect.  One of our states has road signs that everyone in our nation knows about whether they have ever been there or not.  The signs simply say:  Don’t Mess With Texas.  Texas doesn’t go to other states and flaunt this ideology but everyone knows its there.  I don’t promote scaring the world straight, but I do promote using the technology that we have in a way that saves our nation money and lives.

Instead of putting American sons and daughters in harms way, we should pull back to a safe distance.   Say somewhere in the neighborhood of “Home.”  Take the targets off the backs of our men and women and put them in our country where they can protect American borders.  So far we have done a better job of protecting Iraqi borders than the ones we have in the southwest and California. That doesn’t mean that all immigration should cease either!  It just means that we are going to enforce the laws we have had in place and stop the flow of illegals coming into this nation.  We have to wake up to the realization that it is not just illegal gardeners that are coming across our borders.

Was 9/11 our fault?  HELL NO!  But ask yourself this:

Why did the Islamic Terrorists not fly planes into the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, or Tiananmen Square.  No they specifically wanted to ruin our nation financially (World Trade Center) and send a message to our military by taking out the Pentagon.  Look at the messages they sent during the Clinton administration.  Our nations military needs to come home and quit antagonizing the lunatics located outside our borders.  I would rather send a missile from 100 miles away than shoot at a man from 50 yards. Missiles are just more accurate and besides that “its nothing personal.” just business.

Take the handcuffs off and do the job right!  It makes financial sense and SAVES American lives.

 

Brian Gray

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?


Financial crooks brought down the world’s economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them.

Another great article by Matt Taibbi, possibly one of the great financial journalist of the century.  I wanted to post this to preserve his story for as long as possible.  Truths such as this, that are exposed tend to wind up in the missing files.  Hopefully this record will last, and someday be of value to historians or prosecutors.

Over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer.

“Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail,” he said. “That’s your whole story right there. Hell, you don’t even have to write the rest of it. Just write that.”

I put down my notebook. “Just that?”

“That’s right,” he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. “Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there.”

Nobody goes to jail. This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth — and nobody went to jail. Nobody, that is, except Bernie Madoff, a flamboyant and pathological celebrity con artist, whose victims happened to be other rich and famous people.

The rest of them, all of them, got off. Not a single executive who ran the companies that cooked up and cashed in on the phony financial boom — an industrywide scam that involved the mass sale of mismarked, fraudulent mortgage-backed securities — has ever been convicted. Their names by now are familiar to even the most casual Middle American news consumer: companies like AIG, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. Most of these firms were directly involved in elaborate fraud and theft. Lehman Brothers hid billions in loans from its investors. Bank of America lied about billions in bonuses. Goldman Sachs failed to tell clients how it put together the born-to-lose toxic mortgage deals it was selling. What’s more, many of these companies had corporate chieftains whose actions cost investors billions — from AIG derivatives chief Joe Cassano, who assured investors they would not lose even “one dollar” just months before his unit imploded, to the $263 million in compensation that former Lehman chief Dick “The Gorilla” Fuld conveniently failed to disclose. Yet not one of them has faced time behind bars.

Invasion of the Home Snatchers

Instead, federal regulators and prosecutors have let the banks and finance companies that tried to burn the world economy to the ground get off with carefully orchestrated settlements — whitewash jobs that involve the firms paying pathetically small fines without even being required to admit wrongdoing. To add insult to injury, the people who actually committed the crimes almost never pay the fines themselves; banks caught defrauding their shareholders often use shareholder money to foot the tab of justice. “If the allegations in these settlements are true,” says Jed Rakoff, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, “it’s management buying its way off cheap, from the pockets of their victims.”

To understand the significance of this, one has to think carefully about the efficacy of fines as a punishment for a defendant pool that includes the richest people on earth — people who simply get their companies to pay their fines for them. Conversely, one has to consider the powerful deterrent to further wrongdoing that the state is missing by not introducing this particular class of people to the experience of incarceration. “You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street,” says a former congressional aide. “That’s all it would take. Just once.”

But that hasn’t happened. Because the entire system set up to monitor and regulate Wall Street is fucked up.

Just ask the people who tried to do the right thing.

Here’s how regulation of Wall Street is supposed to work. To begin with, there’s a semigigantic list of public and quasi-public agencies ostensibly keeping their eyes on the economy, a dense alphabet soup of banking, insurance, S&L, securities and commodities regulators like the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), as well as supposedly “self-regulating organizations” like the New York Stock Exchange. All of these outfits, by law, can at least begin the process of catching and investigating financial criminals, though none of them has prosecutorial power.

The major federal agency on the Wall Street beat is the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC watches for violations like insider trading, and also deals with so-called “disclosure violations” — i.e., making sure that all the financial information that publicly traded companies are required to make public actually jibes with reality. But the SEC doesn’t have prosecutorial power either, so in practice, when it looks like someone needs to go to jail, they refer the case to the Justice Department. And since the vast majority of crimes in the financial services industry take place in Lower Manhattan, cases referred by the SEC often end up in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Thus, the two top cops on Wall Street are generally considered to be that U.S. attorney — a job that has been held by thunderous prosecutorial personae like Robert Morgenthau and Rudy Giuliani — and the SEC’s director of enforcement.

The relationship between the SEC and the DOJ is necessarily close, even symbiotic. Since financial crime-fighting requires a high degree of financial expertise — and since the typical drug-and-terrorism-obsessed FBI agent can’t balance his own checkbook, let alone tell a synthetic CDO from a credit default swap — the Justice Department ends up leaning heavily on the SEC’s army of 1,100 number-crunching investigators to make their cases. In theory, it’s a well-oiled, tag-team affair: Billionaire Wall Street Asshole commits fraud, the NYSE catches on and tips off the SEC, the SEC works the case and delivers it to Justice, and Justice perp-walks the Asshole out of Nobu, into a Crown Victoria and off to 36 months of push-ups, license-plate making and Salisbury steak.

That’s the way it’s supposed to work. But a veritable mountain of evidence indicates that when it comes to Wall Street, the justice system not only sucks at punishing financial criminals, it has actually evolved into a highly effective mechanism for protecting financial criminals. This institutional reality has absolutely nothing to do with politics or ideology — it takes place no matter who’s in office or which party’s in power. To understand how the machinery functions, you have to start back at least a decade ago, as case after case of financial malfeasance was pursued too slowly or not at all, fumbled by a government bureaucracy that too often is on a first-name basis with its targets. Indeed, the shocking pattern of nonenforcement with regard to Wall Street is so deeply ingrained in Washington that it raises a profound and difficult question about the very nature of our society: whether we have created a class of people whose misdeeds are no longer perceived as crimes, almost no matter what those misdeeds are. The SEC and the Justice Department have evolved into a bizarre species of social surgeon serving this nonjailable class, expert not at administering punishment and justice, but at finding and removing criminal responsibility from the bodies of the accused.

The systematic lack of regulation has left even the country’s top regulators frustrated. Lynn Turner, a former chief accountant for the SEC, laughs darkly at the idea that the criminal justice system is broken when it comes to Wall Street. “I think you’ve got a wrong assumption — that we even have a law-enforcement agency when it comes to Wall Street,” he says.

In the hierarchy of the SEC, the chief accountant plays a major role in working to pursue misleading and phony financial disclosures. Turner held the post a decade ago, when one of the most significant cases was swallowed up by the SEC bureaucracy. In the late 1990s, the agency had an open-and-shut case against the Rite Aid drugstore chain, which was using diabolical accounting tricks to cook their books. But instead of moving swiftly to crack down on such scams, the SEC shoved the case into the “deal with it later” file. “The Philadelphia office literally did nothing with the case for a year,” Turner recalls. “Very much like the New York office with Madoff.” The Rite Aid case dragged on for years — and by the time it was finished, similar accounting fiascoes at Enron and WorldCom had exploded into a full-blown financial crisis. The same was true for another SEC case that presaged the Enron disaster. The agency knew that appliance-maker Sunbeam was using the same kind of accounting scams to systematically hide losses from its investors. But in the end, the SEC’s punishment for Sunbeam’s CEO, Al “Chainsaw” Dunlap — widely regarded as one of the biggest assholes in the history of American finance — was a fine of $500,000. Dunlap’s net worth at the time was an estimated $100 million. The SEC also barred Dunlap from ever running a public company again — forcing him to retire with a mere $99.5 million. Dunlap passed the time collecting royalties from his self-congratulatory memoir. Its title: Mean Business.

The pattern of inaction toward shady deals on Wall Street grew worse and worse after Turner left, with one slam-dunk case after another either languishing for years or disappearing altogether. Perhaps the most notorious example involved Gary Aguirre, an SEC investigator who was literally fired after he questioned the agency’s failure to pursue an insider-trading case against John Mack, now the chairman of Morgan Stanley and one of America’s most powerful bankers.

Aguirre joined the SEC in September 2004. Two days into his career as a financial investigator, he was asked to look into an insider-trading complaint against a hedge-fund megastar named Art Samberg. One day, with no advance research or discussion, Samberg had suddenly started buying up huge quantities of shares in a firm called Heller Financial. “It was as if Art Samberg woke up one morning and a voice from the heavens told him to start buying Heller,” Aguirre recalls. “And he wasn’t just buying shares — there were some days when he was trying to buy three times as many shares as were being traded that day.” A few weeks later, Heller was bought by General Electric — and Samberg pocketed $18 million.

After some digging, Aguirre found himself focusing on one suspect as the likely source who had tipped Samberg off: John Mack, a close friend of Samberg’s who had just stepped down as president of Morgan Stanley. At the time, Mack had been on Samberg’s case to cut him into a deal involving a spinoff of the tech company Lucent — an investment that stood to make Mack a lot of money. “Mack is busting my chops” to give him a piece of the action, Samberg told an employee in an e-mail.

A week later, Mack flew to Switzerland to interview for a top job at Credit Suisse First Boston. Among the investment bank’s clients, as it happened, was a firm called Heller Financial. We don’t know for sure what Mack learned on his Swiss trip; years later, Mack would claim that he had thrown away his notes about the meetings. But we do know that as soon as Mack returned from the trip, on a Friday, he called up his buddy Samberg. The very next morning, Mack was cut into the Lucent deal — a favor that netted him more than $10 million. And as soon as the market reopened after the weekend, Samberg started buying every Heller share in sight, right before it was snapped up by GE — a suspiciously timed move that earned him the equivalent of Derek Jeter’s annual salary for just a few minutes of work.

The deal looked like a classic case of insider trading. But in the summer of 2005, when Aguirre told his boss he planned to interview Mack, things started getting weird. His boss told him the case wasn’t likely to fly, explaining that Mack had “powerful political connections.” (The investment banker had been a fundraising “Ranger” for George Bush in 2004, and would go on to be a key backer of Hillary Clinton in 2008.)

Aguirre also started to feel pressure from Morgan Stanley, which was in the process of trying to rehire Mack as CEO. At first, Aguirre was contacted by the bank’s regulatory liaison, Eric Dinallo, a former top aide to Eliot Spitzer. But it didn’t take long for Morgan Stanley to work its way up the SEC chain of command. Within three days, another of the firm’s lawyers, Mary Jo White, was on the phone with the SEC’s director of enforcement. In a shocking move that was later singled out by Senate investigators, the director actually appeared to reassure White, dismissing the case against Mack as “smoke” rather than “fire.” White, incidentally, was herself the former U.S. attorney of the Southern District of New York — one of the top cops on Wall Street.

Pause for a minute to take this in. Aguirre, an SEC foot soldier, is trying to interview a major Wall Street executive — not handcuff the guy or impound his yacht, mind you, just talk to him. In the course of doing so, he finds out that his target’s firm is being represented not only by Eliot Spitzer’s former top aide, but by the former U.S. attorney overseeing Wall Street, who is going four levels over his head to speak directly to the chief of the SEC’s enforcement division — not Aguirre’s boss, but his boss’s boss’s boss’s boss. Mack himself, meanwhile, was being represented by Gary Lynch, a former SEC director of enforcement.

Aguirre didn’t stand a chance. A month after he complained to his supervisors that he was being blocked from interviewing Mack, he was summarily fired, without notice. The case against Mack was immediately dropped: all depositions canceled, no further subpoenas issued. “It all happened so fast, I needed a seat belt,” recalls Aguirre, who had just received a stellar performance review from his bosses. The SEC eventually paid Aguirre a settlement of $755,000 for wrongful dismissal.

Rather than going after Mack, the SEC started looking for someone else to blame for tipping off Samberg. (It was, Aguirre quips, “O.J.’s search for the real killers.”) It wasn’t until a year later that the agency finally got around to interviewing Mack, who denied any wrongdoing. The four-hour deposition took place on August 1st, 2006 — just days after the five-year statute of limitations on insider trading had expired in the case.

“At best, the picture shows extraordinarily lax enforcement by the SEC,” Senate investigators would later conclude. “At worse, the picture is colored with overtones of a possible cover-up.”

Episodes like this help explain why so many Wall Street executives felt emboldened to push the regulatory envelope during the mid-2000s. Over and over, even the most obvious cases of fraud and insider dealing got gummed up in the works, and high-ranking executives were almost never prosecuted for their crimes. In 2003, Freddie Mac coughed up $125 million after it was caught misreporting its earnings by $5 billion; nobody went to jail. In 2006, Fannie Mae was fined $400 million, but executives who had overseen phony accounting techniques to jack up their bonuses faced no criminal charges. That same year, AIG paid $1.6 billion after it was caught in a major accounting scandal that would indirectly lead to its collapse two years later, but no executives at the insurance giant were prosecuted.

All of this behavior set the stage for the crash of 2008, when Wall Street exploded in a raging Dresden of fraud and criminality. Yet the SEC and the Justice Department have shown almost no inclination to prosecute those most responsible for the catastrophe — even though they had insiders from the two firms whose implosions triggered the crisis, Lehman Brothers and AIG, who were more than willing to supply evidence against top executives.

In the case of Lehman Brothers, the SEC had a chance six months before the crash to move against Dick Fuld, a man recently named the worst CEO of all time by Portfolio magazine. A decade before the crash, a Lehman lawyer named Oliver Budde was going through the bank’s proxy statements and noticed that it was using a loophole involving Restricted Stock Units to hide tens of millions of dollars of Fuld’s compensation. Budde told his bosses that Lehman’s use of RSUs was dicey at best, but they blew him off. “We’re sorry about your concerns,” they told him, “but we’re doing it.” Disturbed by such shady practices, the lawyer quit the firm in 2006.

Then, only a few months after Budde left Lehman, the SEC changed its rules to force companies to disclose exactly how much compensation in RSUs executives had coming to them. “The SEC was basically like, ‘We’re sick and tired of you people fucking around — we want a picture of what you’re holding,'” Budde says. But instead of coming clean about eight separate RSUs that Fuld had hidden from investors, Lehman filed a proxy statement that was a masterpiece of cynical lawyering. On one page, a chart indicated that Fuld had been awarded $146 million in RSUs. But two pages later, a note in the fine print essentially stated that the chart did not contain the real number — which, it failed to mention, was actually $263 million more than the chart indicated. “They fucked around even more than they did before,” Budde says. (The law firm that helped craft the fine print, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, would later receive a lucrative federal contract to serve as legal adviser to the TARP bailout.)

Budde decided to come forward. In April 2008, he wrote a detailed memo to the SEC about Lehman’s history of hidden stocks. Shortly thereafter, he got a letter back that began, “Dear Sir or Madam.” It was an automated e-response.

“They blew me off,” Budde says.

Over the course of that summer, Budde tried to contact the SEC several more times, and was ignored each time. Finally, in the fateful week of September 15th, 2008, when Lehman Brothers cracked under the weight of its reckless bets on the subprime market and went into its final death spiral, Budde became seriously concerned. If the government tried to arrange for Lehman to be pawned off on another Wall Street firm, as it had done with Bear Stearns, the U.S. taxpayer might wind up footing the bill for a company with hundreds of millions of dollars in concealed compensation. So Budde again called the SEC, right in the middle of the crisis. “Look,” he told regulators. “I gave you huge stuff. You really want to take a look at this.”

But the feds once again blew him off. A young staff attorney contacted Budde, who once more provided the SEC with copies of all his memos. He never heard from the agency again.

“This was like a mini-Madoff,” Budde says. “They had six solid months of warnings. They could have done something.”

Three weeks later, Budde was shocked to see Fuld testifying before the House Government Oversight Committee and whining about how poor he was. “I got no severance, no golden parachute,” Fuld moaned. When Rep. Henry Waxman, the committee’s chairman, mentioned that he thought Fuld had earned more than $480 million, Fuld corrected him and said he believed it was only $310 million.

The true number, Budde calculated, was $529 million. He contacted a Senate investigator to talk about how Fuld had misled Congress, but he never got any response. Meanwhile, in a demonstration of the government’s priorities, the Justice Department is proceeding full force with a prosecution of retired baseball player Roger Clemens for lying to Congress about getting a shot of steroids in his ass. “At least Roger didn’t screw over the world,” Budde says, shaking his head.

Fuld has denied any wrongdoing, but his hidden compensation was only a ripple in Lehman’s raging tsunami of misdeeds. The investment bank used an absurd accounting trick called “Repo 105″ transactions to conceal $50 billion in loans on the firm’s balance sheet. (That’s $50 billion, not million.) But more than a year after the use of the Repo 105s came to light, there have still been no indictments in the affair. While it’s possible that charges may yet be filed, there are now rumors that the SEC and the Justice Department may take no action against Lehman. If that’s true, and there’s no prosecution in a case where there’s such overwhelming evidence — and where the company is already dead, meaning it can’t dump further losses on investors or taxpayers — then it might be time to assume the game is up. Failing to prosecute Fuld and Lehman would be tantamount to the state marching into Wall Street and waving the green flag on a new stealing season.

The most amazing noncase in the entire crash — the one that truly defies the most basic notion of justice when it comes to Wall Street supervillains — is the one involving AIG and Joe Cassano, the nebbishy Patient Zero of the financial crisis. As chief of AIGFP, the firm’s financial products subsidiary, Cassano repeatedly made public statements in 2007 claiming that his portfolio of mortgage derivatives would suffer “no dollar of loss” — an almost comically obvious misrepresentation. “God couldn’t manage a $60 billion real estate portfolio without a single dollar of loss,” says Turner, the agency’s former chief accountant. “If the SEC can’t make a disclosure case against AIG, then they might as well close up shop.”

As in the Lehman case, federal prosecutors not only had plenty of evidence against AIG — they also had an eyewitness to Cassano’s actions who was prepared to tell all. As an accountant at AIGFP, Joseph St. Denis had a number of run-ins with Cassano during the summer of 2007. At the time, Cassano had already made nearly $500 billion worth of derivative bets that would ultimately blow up, destroy the world’s largest insurance company, and trigger the largest government bailout of a single company in U.S. history. He made many fatal mistakes, but chief among them was engaging in contracts that required AIG to post billions of dollars in collateral if there was any downgrade to its credit rating.

St. Denis didn’t know about those clauses in Cassano’s contracts, since they had been written before he joined the firm. What he did know was that Cassano freaked out when St. Denis spoke with an accountant at the parent company, which was only just finding out about the time bomb Cassano had set. After St. Denis finished a conference call with the executive, Cassano suddenly burst into the room and began screaming at him for talking to the New York office. He then announced that St. Denis had been “deliberately excluded” from any valuations of the most toxic elements of the derivatives portfolio — thus preventing the accountant from doing his job. What St. Denis represented was transparency — and the last thing Cassano needed was transparency.

Another clue that something was amiss with AIGFP’s portfolio came when Goldman Sachs demanded that the firm pay billions in collateral, per the terms of Cassano’s deadly contracts. Such “collateral calls” happen all the time on Wall Street, but seldom against a seemingly solvent and friendly business partner like AIG. And when they do happen, they are rarely paid without a fight. So St. Denis was shocked when AIGFP agreed to fork over gobs of money to Goldman Sachs, even while it was still contesting the payments — an indication that something was seriously wrong at AIG. “When I found out about the collateral call, I literally had to sit down,” St. Denis recalls. “I had to go home for the day.”

After Cassano barred him from valuating the derivative deals, St. Denis had no choice but to resign. He got another job, and thought he was done with AIG. But a few months later, he learned that Cassano had held a conference call with investors in December 2007. During the call, AIGFP failed to disclose that it had posted $2 billion to Goldman Sachs following the collateral calls.

“Investors therefore did not know,” the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission would later conclude, “that AIG’s earnings were overstated by $3.6 billion.”

“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, they’re just not telling people,'” St. Denis says. “I knew. I had been there. I knew they’d posted collateral.”

A year later, after the crash, St. Denis wrote a letter about his experiences to the House Government Oversight Committee, which was looking into the AIG collapse. He also met with investigators for the government, which was preparing a criminal case against Cassano. But the case never went to court. Last May, the Justice Department confirmed that it would not file charges against executives at AIGFP. Cassano, who has denied any wrongdoing, was reportedly told he was no longer a target.

Shortly after that, Cassano strolled into Washington to testify before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. It was his first public appearance since the crash. He has not had to pay back a single cent out of the hundreds of millions of dollars he earned selling his insane pseudo-insurance policies on subprime mortgage deals. Now, out from under prosecution, he appeared before the FCIC and had the enormous balls to compliment his own business acumen, saying his atom-bomb swaps portfolio was, in retrospect, not that badly constructed. “I think the portfolios are withstanding the test of time,” he said.

“They offered him an excellent opportunity to redeem himself,” St. Denis jokes.

In the end, of course, it wasn’t just the executives of Lehman and AIGFP who got passes. Virtually every one of the major players on Wall Street was similarly embroiled in scandal, yet their executives skated off into the sunset, uncharged and unfined. Goldman Sachs paid $550 million last year when it was caught defrauding investors with crappy mortgages, but no executive has been fined or jailed — not even Fabrice “Fabulous Fab” Tourre, Goldman’s outrageous Euro-douche who gleefully e-mailed a pal about the “surreal” transactions in the middle of a meeting with the firm’s victims. In a similar case, a sales executive at the German powerhouse Deutsche Bank got off on charges of insider trading; its general counsel at the time of the questionable deals, Robert Khuzami, now serves as director of enforcement for the SEC.

Another major firm, Bank of America, was caught hiding $5.8 billion in bonuses from shareholders as part of its takeover of Merrill Lynch. The SEC tried to let the bank off with a settlement of only $33 million, but Judge Jed Rakoff rejected the action as a “facade of enforcement.” So the SEC quintupled the settlement — but it didn’t require either Merrill or Bank of America to admit to wrongdoing. Unlike criminal trials, in which the facts of the crime are put on record for all to see, these Wall Street settlements almost never require the banks to make any factual disclosures, effectively burying the stories forever. “All this is done at the expense not only of the shareholders, but also of the truth,” says Rakoff. Goldman, Deutsche, Merrill, Lehman, Bank of America … who did we leave out? Oh, there’s Citigroup, nailed for hiding some $40 billion in liabilities from investors. Last July, the SEC settled with Citi for $75 million. In a rare move, it also fined two Citi executives, former CFO Gary Crittenden and investor-relations chief Arthur Tildesley Jr. Their penalties, combined, came to a whopping $180,000.

Throughout the entire crisis, in fact, the government has taken exactly one serious swing of the bat against executives from a major bank, charging two guys from Bear Stearns with criminal fraud over a pair of toxic subprime hedge funds that blew up in 2007, destroying the company and robbing investors of $1.6 billion. Jurors had an e-mail between the defendants admitting that “there is simply no way for us to make money — ever” just three days before assuring investors that “there’s no basis for thinking this is one big disaster.” Yet the case still somehow ended in acquittal — and the Justice Department hasn’t taken any of the big banks to court since.

All of which raises an obvious question: Why the hell not?

Gary Aguirre, the SEC investigator who lost his job when he drew the ire of Morgan Stanley, thinks he knows the answer.

Last year, Aguirre noticed that a conference on financial law enforcement was scheduled to be held at the Hilton in New York on November 12th. The list of attendees included 1,500 or so of the country’s leading lawyers who represent Wall Street, as well as some of the government’s top cops from both the SEC and the Justice Department.

Criminal justice, as it pertains to the Goldmans and Morgan Stanleys of the world, is not adversarial combat, with cops and crooks duking it out in interrogation rooms and courthouses. Instead, it’s a cocktail party between friends and colleagues who from month to month and year to year are constantly switching sides and trading hats. At the Hilton conference, regulators and banker-lawyers rubbed elbows during a series of speeches and panel discussions, away from the rabble. “They were chummier in that environment,” says Aguirre, who plunked down $2,200 to attend the conference.

Aguirre saw a lot of familiar faces at the conference, for a simple reason: Many of the SEC regulators he had worked with during his failed attempt to investigate John Mack had made a million-dollar pass through the Revolving Door, going to work for the very same firms they used to police. Aguirre didn’t see Paul Berger, an associate director of enforcement who had rebuffed his attempts to interview Mack — maybe because Berger was tied up at his lucrative new job at Debevoise & Plimpton, the same law firm that Morgan Stanley employed to intervene in the Mack case. But he did see Mary Jo White, the former U.S. attorney, who was still at Debevoise & Plimpton. He also saw Linda Thomsen, the former SEC director of enforcement who had been so helpful to White. Thomsen had gone on to represent Wall Street as a partner at the prestigious firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell.

Two of the government’s top cops were there as well: Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Robert Khuzami, the SEC’s current director of enforcement. Bharara had been recommended for his post by Chuck Schumer, Wall Street’s favorite senator. And both he and Khuzami had served with Mary Jo White at the U.S. attorney’s office, before Mary Jo went on to become a partner at Debevoise. What’s more, when Khuzami had served as general counsel for Deutsche Bank, he had been hired by none other than Dick Walker, who had been enforcement director at the SEC when it slow-rolled the pivotal fraud case against Rite Aid.

“It wasn’t just one rotation of the revolving door,” says Aguirre. “It just kept spinning. Every single person had rotated in and out of government and private service.”

The Revolving Door isn’t just a footnote in financial law enforcement; over the past decade, more than a dozen high-ranking SEC officials have gone on to lucrative jobs at Wall Street banks or white-shoe law firms, where partnerships are worth millions. That makes SEC officials like Paul Berger and Linda Thomsen the equivalent of college basketball stars waiting for their first NBA contract. Are you really going to give up a shot at the Knicks or the Lakers just to find out whether a Wall Street big shot like John Mack was guilty of insider trading? “You take one of these jobs,” says Turner, the former chief accountant for the SEC, “and you’re fit for life.”

Fit — and happy. The banter between the speakers at the New York conference says everything you need to know about the level of chumminess and mutual admiration that exists between these supposed adversaries of the justice system. At one point in the conference, Mary Jo White introduced Bharara, her old pal from the U.S. attorney’s office.

“I want to first say how pleased I am to be here,” Bharara responded. Then, addressing White, he added, “You’ve spawned all of us. It’s almost 11 years ago to the day that Mary Jo White called me and asked me if I would become an assistant U.S. attorney. So thank you, Dr. Frankenstein.”

Next, addressing the crowd of high-priced lawyers from Wall Street, Bharara made an interesting joke. “I also want to take a moment to applaud the entire staff of the SEC for the really amazing things they have done over the past year,” he said. “They’ve done a real service to the country, to the financial community, and not to mention a lot of your law practices.”

Haw! The line drew snickers from the conference of millionaire lawyers. But the real fireworks came when Khuzami, the SEC’s director of enforcement, talked about a new “cooperation initiative” the agency had recently unveiled, in which executives are being offered incentives to report fraud they have witnessed or committed. From now on, Khuzami said, when corporate lawyers like the ones he was addressing want to know if their Wall Street clients are going to be charged by the Justice Department before deciding whether to come forward, all they have to do is ask the SEC.

“We are going to try to get those individuals answers,” Khuzami announced, as to “whether or not there is criminal interest in the case — so that defense counsel can have as much information as possible in deciding whether or not to choose to sign up their client.”

Aguirre, listening in the crowd, couldn’t believe Khuzami’s brazenness. The SEC’s enforcement director was saying, in essence, that firms like Goldman Sachs and AIG and Lehman Brothers will henceforth be able to get the SEC to act as a middleman between them and the Justice Department, negotiating fines as a way out of jail time. Khuzami was basically outlining a four-step system for banks and their executives to buy their way out of prison. “First, the SEC and Wall Street player make an agreement on a fine that the player will pay to the SEC,” Aguirre says. “Then the Justice Department commits itself to pass, so that the player knows he’s ‘safe.’ Third, the player pays the SEC — and fourth, the player gets a pass from the Justice Department.”

When I ask a former federal prosecutor about the propriety of a sitting SEC director of enforcement talking out loud about helping corporate defendants “get answers” regarding the status of their criminal cases, he initially doesn’t believe it. Then I send him a transcript of the comment. “I am very, very surprised by Khuzami’s statement, which does seem to me to be contrary to past practice — and not a good thing,” the former prosecutor says.

Earlier this month, when Sen. Chuck Grassley found out about Khuzami’s comments, he sent the SEC a letter noting that the agency’s own enforcement manual not only prohibits such “answer getting,” it even bars the SEC from giving defendants the Justice Department’s phone number. “Should counsel or the individual ask which criminal authorities they should contact,” the manual reads, “staff should decline to answer, unless authorized by the relevant criminal authorities.” Both the SEC and the Justice Department deny there is anything improper in their new policy of cooperation. “We collaborate with the SEC, but they do not consult with us when they resolve their cases,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer assured Congress in January. “They do that independently.”

Around the same time that Breuer was testifying, however, a story broke that prior to the pathetically small settlement of $75 million that the SEC had arranged with Citigroup, Khuzami had ordered his staff to pursue lighter charges against the megabank’s executives. According to a letter that was sent to Sen. Grassley’s office, Khuzami had a “secret conversation, without telling the staff, with a prominent defense lawyer who is a good friend” of his and “who was counsel for the company.” The unsigned letter, which appears to have come from an SEC investigator on the case, prompted the inspector general to launch an investigation into the charge.

All of this paints a disturbing picture of a closed and corrupt system, a timeless circle of friends that virtually guarantees a collegial approach to the policing of high finance. Even before the corruption starts, the state is crippled by economic reality: Since law enforcement on Wall Street requires serious intellectual firepower, the banks seize a huge advantage from the start by hiring away the top talent. Budde, the former Lehman lawyer, says it’s well known that all the best legal minds go to the big corporate law firms, while the “bottom 20 percent go to the SEC.” Which makes it tough for the agency to track devious legal machinations, like the scheme to hide $263 million of Dick Fuld’s compensation.

“It’s such a mismatch, it’s not even funny,” Budde says.

But even beyond that, the system is skewed by the irrepressible pull of riches and power. If talent rises in the SEC or the Justice Department, it sooner or later jumps ship for those fat NBA contracts. Or, conversely, graduates of the big corporate firms take sabbaticals from their rich lifestyles to slum it in government service for a year or two. Many of those appointments are inevitably hand-picked by lifelong stooges for Wall Street like Chuck Schumer, who has accepted $14.6 million in campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and other major players in the finance industry, along with their corporate lawyers.

As for President Obama, what is there to be said? Goldman Sachs was his number-one private campaign contributor. He put a Citigroup executive in charge of his economic transition team, and he just named an executive of JP Morgan Chase, the proud owner of $7.7 million in Chase stock, his new chief of staff. “The betrayal that this represents by Obama to everybody is just — we’re not ready to believe it,” says Budde, a classmate of the president from their Columbia days. “He’s really fucking us over like that? Really? That’s really a JP Morgan guy, really?”

Which is not to say that the Obama era has meant an end to law enforcement. On the contrary: In the past few years, the administration has allocated massive amounts of federal resources to catching wrongdoers — of a certain type. Last year, the government deported 393,000 people, at a cost of $5 billion. Since 2007, felony immigration prosecutions along the Mexican border have surged 77 percent; nonfelony prosecutions by 259 percent. In Ohio last month, a single mother was caught lying about where she lived to put her kids into a better school district; the judge in the case tried to sentence her to 10 days in jail for fraud, declaring that letting her go free would “demean the seriousness” of the offenses.

So there you have it. Illegal immigrants: 393,000. Lying moms: one. Bankers: zero. The math makes sense only because the politics are so obvious. You want to win elections, you bang on the jailable class. You build prisons and fill them with people for selling dime bags and stealing CD players. But for stealing a billion dollars? For fraud that puts a million people into foreclosure? Pass. It’s not a crime. Prison is too harsh. Get them to say they’re sorry, and move on. Oh, wait — let’s not even make them say they’re sorry. That’s too mean; let’s just give them a piece of paper with a government stamp on it, officially clearing them of the need to apologize, and make them pay a fine instead. But don’t make them pay it out of their own pockets, and don’t ask them to give back the money they stole. In fact, let them profit from their collective crimes, to the tune of a record $135 billion in pay and benefits last year. What’s next? Taxpayer-funded massages for every Wall Street executive guilty of fraud?

The mental stumbling block, for most Americans, is that financial crimes don’t feel real; you don’t see the culprits waving guns in liquor stores or dragging coeds into bushes. But these frauds are worse than common robberies. They’re crimes of intellectual choice, made by people who are already rich and who have every conceivable social advantage, acting on a simple, cynical calculation: Let’s steal whatever we can, then dare the victims to find the juice to reclaim their money through a captive bureaucracy. They’re attacking the very definition of property — which, after all, depends in part on a legal system that defends everyone’s claims of ownership equally. When that definition becomes tenuous or conditional — when the state simply gives up on the notion of justice — this whole American Dream thing recedes even further from reality.

By MATT TAIBBI
FEBRUARY 16, 2011 9:00 AM ET

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US – Can’t Buy Love!


It’s All Your Money: Foreign Aid to Muslim/Arab nations

by William LaJeunesse | May 24, 2011

While America’s standing in the Middle East couldn’t get much lower, you wouldn’t know it looking at the U.S. foreign aid budget. Of proposed U.S. assistance for 2012, almost two-thirds is earmarked for Muslim nations and one-third goes to Arab countries.

Yet, despite those billions in aid, opinion polls show most Arab citizens still have an unfavorable view of America and most Muslim nations routinely vote against U.S. interests in the United Nations.

“If we are giving money to countries consistently voting against our interest, we ought to cut them off,” says Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “But Congress is going to need to get some backbone here because it consistently gives Presidents the ability to waive the cutoff of that money.”

Years ago, U.N. Ambassador John Bolton proposed cutting off all aid to the 30 nations who consistently voted against the U.S. in the UN. Before him, President Reagan’s U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick proposed cutting off $1 million in aid for each vote an aid recipient cast against the U.S. in the U.N. In both cases, Bolton says the State Department overruled them.

“Foreign aid to a lot of countries could be readily cut and I think it’s been a mistake by the U.S. government for decades not to take U.N. voting into account,” Bolton said Monday.

This document, released by the State Department, examines 13 critical votes in the UN in 2010.

Compare that to this list of US aid recipients for 2012 and this poll released last week by the Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project.

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The result: some of the largest recipients of U.S. taxpayer money over the last 6 budget years consistently vote against the U.S. and harbor negative or unfavorable views of America.

Some other Muslim countries show almost no friendship or allegiance to the U.S. but continue to see the State Department shower them with money.

Algeria has received $60 million and votes with the U.S. just 16% of the time. Oman $74 million, 18% voting coincidence. Whereas the Palestinian Territories received $3 billion dollars yet just 18% have a favorable view of the U.S.

“The U.S. has to quit being kicked around. We need to quit sending our tax dollars to countries that do not have our best interests in mind, especially in these economic times,” says Chabot.

Instead, if you look at U.S. aid over time, it’s largely on auto-pilot. Once a nation is on the U.S. gravy train, few are ever cut off, regardless of their loyalty, gratitude or actions.

This link allows you to see who gets aid and where it goes.

In our analysis of the numbers, of the President’s 2012 foreign assistance request of $34.5 billion, 60% or $20.1 billion goes to Muslim nations, or those where a majority practice Islam. About 33% or the total budget, or $11.6 billion is awarded to Arab countries.

And while many Americans think most U.S. foreign aid goes to “humanitarian assistance” or food and medicine for the poor, an analysis shows 80% of our aid to Arab countries pays for police and the military. And despite the President’s speech last week calling for closer ties with Middle Eastern nations and fostering free market, democratic principles, just 5% of our aid to the region is dedicated to ‘economic development’.

While some suggest our support for repressive, autocratic regimes explains America’s poor poll numbers, and should be discontinued, Bolton has a different view.

While conceding a reform of U.S. foreign aid is “way overdue” he says, “I don’t think the opinions you see in foreign countries should govern where the aid goes. It should be based on what is in our interest not what is in their interest.”

Read more: http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/05/24/its-all-your-money-foreign-aid-muslimarab-nations#ixzz1NIAYZV9B

Drilling Oil on Wall Street


Drill Wall Street and then Drill For Oil in America!  Actually we could produce oil quicker in the US than we can dissolve the crooked mess that Wall Street investment bankers and ignorant politicians have gotten us into.  We have to start and if the below information is not corrected, neither will do us much good.

First of all, I want to declare that I am a registered Republican and consider myself to lean as a fiscal conservative.  I’m not posting this to irritate the republicans out there that automatically disagree with every little thing that Barack Obama says.  It’s just that I agree with him about oil speculators driving the price of oil up.  I really do not believe that Obama himself knows what he is talking about but it sounds good to him and a platform for more of his “sleight of hand” and not so transparent politics that he is up to.  His talk of looking into oil speculation to see if anyone is guilty of gouging the American public is astonishing.  His right hand man Eric Holder states before anything can possibly be investigated that he doesn’t think there is a problem.  THATS WHERE THE PROBLEM IS!

Matthew C. “Matt” Taibbi is a author and polemical journalist reporting on politics, media, finance, and sports for Rolling Stone and Men’s Journal.  The following research and facts are from Matt’s article “The Great American Bubble Machine” that was published April 2010 in Rolling Stone magazine.  While the entire article was quite long, it was also extremely educational and a very dynamic read.  The below information is just one of the great scandals that Matt wrote about in his original article.  Keep in mind that this is information that exposed the reasons behind the oil crisis of 2008.  It is so obvious that nothing has been done by our Congress or House of Representatives to see that it doesn’t happen again.  Once you know where the problem is and then fail to correct it – one could be led to believe they don’t want to fix the problem!  You can read the complete article by Matt at:  http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-great-american-bubble-machine-20100405

BUBBLE #4 $4 a Gallon

By the beginning of 2008, the financial world was in turmoil. Wall Street had spent the past two and a half decades producing one scandal after another, which didn’t leave much to sell that wasn’t tainted. The terms junk bond, IPO, subprime mortgage and other once-hot financial fare were now firmly associated in the public’s mind with scams; the terms credit swapsand CDOs were about to join them. The credit markets were in crisis, and the mantra that had sustained the fantasy economy throughout the Bush years — the notion that housing prices never go down — was now a fully exploded myth, leaving the Street clamoring for a new bullshit paradigm to sling.

Where to go? With the public reluctant to put money in anything that felt like a paper investment, the Street quietly moved the casino to the physical-commodities market — stuff you could touch: corn, coffee, cocoa, wheat and, above all, energy commodities, especially oil. In conjunction with a decline in the dollar, the credit crunch and the housing crash caused a “flight to commodities.” Oil futures in particular skyrocketed, as the price of a single barrel went from around $60 in the middle of 2007 to a high of $147 in the summer of 2008.

That summer, as the presidential campaign heated up, the accepted explanation for why gasoline had hit $4.11 a gallon was that there was a problem with the world oil supply. In a classic example of how Republicans and Democrats respond to crises by engaging in fierce exchanges of moronic irrelevancies, John McCain insisted that ending the moratorium on offshore drilling would be “very helpful in the short term,” while Barack Obama in typical liberal-arts yuppie style argued that federal investment in hybrid cars was the way out.

But it was all a lie. While the global supply of oil will eventually dry up, the short term flow has actually been increasing. In the six months before prices spiked, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the world oil supply rose from 85.24 million barrels a day to 85.72 million. Over the same period, world oil demand dropped from 86.82 million barrels a day to 86.07 million. Not only was the shortterm supply of oil rising, the demand for it was falling — which, in classic economic terms, should have brought prices at the pump down.

So what caused the huge spike in oil prices? Take a wild guess. Obviously Goldman Sachs had help — there were other players in the physical commodities market — but the root cause had almost everything to do with the behavior of a few powerful actors determined to turn the once solid market into a speculative casino. Goldman did it by persuading pension funds and other large institutional investors to invest in oil futures — agreeing to buy oil at a certain price on a fixed date. The push transformed oil from a physical commodity, rigidly subject to supply and demand, into something to bet on, like a stock. Between 2003 and 2008, the amount of speculative money in commodities grew from $13 billion to $317 billion, an increase of 2,300 percent. By 2008, a barrel of oil was traded 27 times, on average, before it was actually delivered and consumed.

As is so often the case, there had been a Depression-era law in place designed specifically to prevent this sort of thing. The commodities market was designed in large part to help farmers: A grower concerned about future price drops could enter into a contract to sell his corn at a certain price for delivery later on, which made him worry less about building up stores of his crop. When no one was buying corn, the farmer could sell to a middleman known as a “traditional speculator,” who would store the grain and sell it later, when demand returned. That way, someone was always there to buy from the farmer, even when the market temporarily had no need for his crops.

In 1936, however, Congress recognized that there should never be more speculators in the market than real producers and consumers. If that happened, prices would be affected by something other than supply and demand, and price manipulations would ensue. A new law empowered the Commodity Futures Trading Commission — the very same body that would later try and fail to regulate credit swaps — to place limits on speculative trades in commodities. As a result of the CFTC’s oversight, peace and harmony reigned in the commodities markets for more than 50 years.

All that changed in 1991 when, unbeknownst to almost everyone in the world, a Goldmanowned commoditiestrading subsidiary called J. Aron wrote to the CFTC and made an unusual argument. Farmers with big stores of corn, Goldman argued, weren’t the only ones who needed to hedge their risk against future price drops — Wall Street dealers who made big bets on oil prices also needed to hedge their risk, because, well, they stood to lose a lot too. This was complete and utter crap — the 1936 law, remember, was specifically designed to maintain distinctions between people who were buying and selling real tangible stuff and people who were trading in paper alone. But the CFTC, amazingly, bought Goldman’s argument. It issued the bank a free pass, called the “Bona Fide Hedging” exemption, allowing Goldman’s subsidiary to call itself a physical hedger and escape virtually all limits placed on speculators. In the years that followed, the commission would quietly issue 14 similar exemptions to other companies.

Now Goldman and other banks were free to drive more investors into the commodities markets, enabling speculators to place increasingly big bets. That 1991 letter from Goldman more or less directly led to the oil bubble in 2008, when the number of speculators in the market — driven there by fear of the falling dollar and the housing crash — finally overwhelmed the real physical suppliers and consumers. By 2008, at least three quarters of the activity on the commodity exchanges was speculative, according to a congressional staffer who studied the numbers — and that’s likely a conservative estimate. By the middle of last summer, despite rising supply and a drop in demand, we were paying $4 a gallon every time we pulled up to the pump.

What is even more amazing is that the letter to Goldman, along with most of the other trading exemptions, was handed out more or less in secret. “I was the head of the division of trading and markets, and Brooksley Born was the chair of the CFTC,” says Greenberger, “and neither of us knew this letter was out there.” In fact, the letters only came to light by accident. Last year, a staffer for the House Energy and Commerce Committee just happened to be at a briefing when officials from the CFTC made an offhand reference to the exemptions.

“I had been invited to a briefing the commission was holding on energy,” the staffer recounts. “And suddenly in the middle of it, they start saying, ‘Yeah, we’ve been issuing these letters for years now.’ I raised my hand and said, ‘Really? You issued a letter? Can I see it?’ And they were like, ‘Duh, duh.’ So we went back and forth, and finally they said, ‘We have to clear it with Goldman Sachs.’ I’m like, ‘What do you mean, you have to clear it with Goldman Sachs?'” The CFTC cited a rule that prohibited it from releasing any information about a company’s current position in the market. But the staffer’s request was about a letter that had been issued 17 years earlier. It no longer had anything to do with Goldman’s current position. What’s more, Section 7 of the 1936 commodities law gives Congress the right to any information it wants from the commission. Still, in a classic example of how complete Goldman’s capture of government is, the CFTC waited until it got clearance from the bank before it turned the letter over.

Armed with the semi-secret government exemption, Goldman had become the chief designer of a giant commodities betting parlor. Its Goldman Sachs Commodities Index — which tracks the prices of 24 major commodities but is overwhelmingly weighted toward oil — became the place where pension funds and insurance companies and other institutional investors could make massive longterm bets on commodity prices. Which was all well and good, except for a couple of things. One was that index speculators are mostly “long only” bettors, who seldom if ever take short positions — meaning they only bet on prices to rise. While this kind of behavior is good for a stock market, it’s terrible for commodities, because it continually forces prices upward. “If index speculators took short positions as well as long ones, you’d see them pushing prices both up and down,” says Michael Masters, a hedgefund manager who has helped expose the role of investment banks in the manipulation of oil prices. “But they only push prices in one direction: up.”

Complicating matters even further was the fact that Goldman itself was cheerleading with all its might for an increase in oil prices. In the beginning of 2008, Arjun Murti, a Goldman analyst, hailed as an “oracle of oil” by The New York Times, predicted a “super spike” in oil prices, forecasting a rise to $200 a barrel. At the time Goldman was heavily invested in oil through its commoditiestrading subsidiary, J. Aron; it also owned a stake in a major oil refinery in Kansas, where it warehoused the crude it bought and sold. Even though the supply of oil was keeping pace with demand, Murti continually warned of disruptions to the world oil supply, going so far as to broadcast the fact that he owned two hybrid cars. High prices, the bank insisted, were somehow the fault of the piggish American consumer; in 2005, Goldman analysts insisted that we wouldn’t know when oil prices would fall until we knew “when American consumers will stop buying gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles and instead seek fuel-efficient alternatives.”

But it wasn’t the consumption of real oil that was driving up prices — it was the trade in paper oil. By the summer of 2008, in fact, commodities speculators had bought and stockpiled enough oil futures to fill 1.1 billion barrels of crude, which meant that speculators owned more future oil on paper than there was real, physical oil stored in all of the country’s commercial storage tanks and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve combined. It was a repeat of both the Internet craze and the housing bubble, when Wall Street jacked up presentday profits by selling suckers shares of a fictional fantasy future of endlessly rising prices.

In what was by now a painfully familiar pattern, the oil-commodities melon hit the pavement hard in the summer of 2008, causing a massive loss of wealth; crude prices plunged from $147 to $33. Once again the big losers were ordinary people. The pensioners whose funds invested in this crap got massacred: CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, had $1.1 billion in commodities when the crash came. And the damage didn’t just come from oil. Soaring food prices driven by the commodities bubble led to catastrophes across the planet, forcing an estimated 100 million people into hunger and sparking food riots throughout the Third World.

Now oil prices are rising again: They shot up 20 percent in the month of May and have nearly doubled so far this year. Once again, the problem is not supply or demand. “The highest supply of oil in the last 20 years is now,” says Rep. Bart Stupak, a Democrat from Michigan who serves on the House energy committee. “Demand is at a 10-year low. And yet prices are up.” Asked why politicians continue to harp on things like drilling or hybrid cars, when supply and demand have nothing to do with the high prices, Stupak shakes his head. “I think they just don’t understand the problem very well,” he says. “You can’t explain it in 30 seconds, so politicians ignore it.”

Now you know!

The Solution


THE SOLUTION IS HERE!

Just click your ruby red heels together 3 times and say “I wish I were in America”

Could it possibly be that easy?  Nah, its going to require some backbone, a little patriotism and some forethought!  Quite possible our citizens will have to become a little more educated on exactly how our government actually works.  A good portion of belief in ourselves instead of the apathy that permeates the majority of our citizenry would help.  Finally, people will be required to actually get into their favorite mode of transportation and go to the polls and VOTE!

Starting way back in 1985 (26 years ago) before email was even a popular thing in this country, a journalist in Orlando Florida wrote a column in the local newspaper that was picked up and printed in several other publications.  Mr. Charlie Reese laid it all out on the table.  His article was merely a segment of truth that was such a blinding flash of the obvious that its message was forgotten, ignored or just plain to simple for people to comprehend.  The original article has been edited or updated a few times over the years to bring it more in line with present times but the nuts and bolts, the real meat of the story is still the same.

Who is responsible for the mess our country is in?

Why are we at war (non declared) on foreign soils?

Why is your tax money used to build schools and roads in Iraq.

Why are we at the mercy of Middle East nations for oil?

Why do Unions have so much power over you and where you work?

Why have our Social Security Funds been spent and given away to people that did not earn this money?

Why do we have a problem with illegal aliens?

Why is our country bankrupt and owe so much money we can’t pay back?

Why is the Dept. of Energy such a waste of taxpayer money?

Why with all the money poured into the Dept. of Education do we have the highest dropout rate ever?

Why are there government agencies that appear to or actually control every facet of your life?

Why do our elected leaders give their power to unelected leaders (Czars) instead of doing the job we sent them to Congress to do?

The list seems infinite!

Here is the reason WHY and Who is responsible!  These are the people that can put a stop to anything the people demand cease and desists.  The following is as mentioned above the edited body of the news article that was done so many years ago.

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Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan …

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees…

It is those 545 leaders of our nation that allow any single other member of their body to do anything that is against the will of the people and get away with it.  If they individually or as a whole fail to bring charges against a violator of the publics trust, then they should be voted out of office.  Listening to their excuses of why their hands were tied and as a individual he/she failed to act in our nations best interests only keeps a bad representative of your country in office.  It has become far to common for illegalities to go unpunished because a politician says that even tho they may bring charges, they can not get enough votes or agreement to move further.  In a similar situation a citizen could say “I saw him rob the bank but no one else will testify so what’s the use”?

If you want Term Limits, its easy – just vote them out if they become ineffective, dishonest or become the excuse makers that you would fire if they worked for you in your business.  Our country is a business AND its Personal as well.  When you feel as though you are losing your freedoms, sense of safety, and most importantly your money to a government that you can control – take a look at yourself and what you did to allow this to happen or continue. If your representative continues to work with a fellow legislator that has had charges from the Ethics Committee brought against him/her, ask yourself why.  Better yet, ask your representative and then remember the answer at the polls.  If you don’t make “honest men and women” out of them, don’t be surprised when they grab the lobbyist money and do things you don’t want to see happen.

So the answers to our past, present and future problems have been in front of us all along – so many of us just got caught up in the smoke and mirrors.  Don’t be afraid to get involved and anger a few people along the way.  You know that everyone will not agree with you, but you have to make a concerted effort, for to do nothing will keep us in the quagmire we have already fallen into. No politician will ever bring you Hope and Change – you already have it.

Brian Gray

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